The tax office has disputed claims from My Business readers that an overhaul of its website has been “counterproductive” in presenting more transparent, coherent information for users.
Commenting on My Business’ original story about the Australian Tax Office (ATO) culling 5.3 million words from its website, one reader suggested that many of the cuts have been poorly targeted, resulting in a loss of important information.
“It’s great [they’re] simplifying, but cutting it down so much that it is misleading is counterproductive,” the reader said.
“I have encountered many occasions where critical information was omitted or references to related information were missing. Terms are used with different meanings e.g. Tax sometimes just means Tax, and other times Tax means Tax plus Medicare Levy. Calculators do not match the methodologies that the ATO use in assessing returns.”
The reader added: “It is difficult for tax professionals to work out what is wrong. The public will take what is published at face value.”
A spokesperson for the ATO insisted that important information had not been removed from the site, and the rewritten content was designed to remove repetition and outdated information.
“The ATO has undertaken a project to transform every part of the website, with a wide range of improvements and new technologies, to deliver a better online experience. Part of this includes improved content, which has been rewritten to ensure everything on ato.gov.au is user-friendly, intuitive and uncomplicated,” the spokesperson told My Business.
“Where necessary, we have removed duplicated or redundant content, but this has not taken away any of the information that users need.
“Recent results from our customer satisfaction surveys show increasing satisfaction rates for the website, since our website transformation work began in 2015.”
The ATO spokesperson urged any business owners or accounting professionals with comments or queries can use the ‘Provide Feedback’ link at the bottom of the webpage to pass on their feedback directly.