The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will launch a new website in the upcoming year, according to its corporate plan for 2021–22, which was released on Monday.
“This year, we’re taking major steps to optimise client interactions by preparing to deliver a new website, with personalised content and a better navigation and search experience, making it easier for clients and intermediaries to self-serve,” said ATO commissioner Chris Jordan in his foreword to the plan.
Mr Jordan said the ATO would be highlighting the needs of SMEs in the redesign, announcing that they will work with small-business partners to design and deliver solutions that integrate tax, superannuation and registry requirements into business systems to improve SME tax performance.
The website will come with expansions in the use of verifiable data, such as pre-filling, and improved methods of communicating, transacting and seeking help from the ATO for clients and intermediaries.
Last year, the ATO hit one of its major milestones in establishing the Australian Business Registry Services. The tech overhaul coming in the next 12 months will also assist in this effort to consolidate ASIC’s 31 business registers and the Australian Business Register into a new system that streamlines how businesses interact with the government.
Over the months ahead, ASIC registers will be migrated to the new registry system, and the registrar will assume primary responsibility for registry functions and associated reporting.
The success of this initiative to streamline and deregulate will be measured by the increase in use of the ABR as the national business dataset, as well as reduced administrative costs for businesses dealing with the government.
Mr Jordan also used the corporate plan to report on the status of ATO’s new “online services for business” platform, which replaced the business portal. Uptake of the new platform had initially been slow, with one in four still to make the switch just three days before the business portal went dark on 31 July.
So far, Mr Jordan said that more than 400,000 had used the new system and that feedback had been positive.
Another major milestone of the past year has been the take-up of myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager, which Mr Jordan said exceeded expectations.
The ATO reports there are already over 2.6 million myGovID users, and 1.3 million ABNs linked with over 1.9 million authorisations.
These new solutions, along with Single Touch Payroll, were key in the efficient rollout of COVID-19 stimulus measures such as JobKeeper and cash flow boost.
Responding to the changed economic circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic will also be a primary concern for the ATO in the year ahead.
Mr Jordan said that in addition to ensuring the fairness and integrity of Australia’s tax system and helping the community to understand their tax obligations, the ATO would be supporting the economic recovery by showing empathy and pragmatism for those in difficult circumstances.