26 September 2023

Audit cool on ATO using tax practitioners

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A performance audit into the effectiveness of the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) engagement with tax practitioners to achieve efficient and effective taxation systems has found the Office to be mostly effective.

In his report Australian Taxation Office’s Engagement with Tax Practitioners, Auditor-General Grant Hehir said the ATO was largely effective in implementing its tax practitioner and superannuation engagement activities.

“The development of a strategic and performance framework for tax practitioner engagement would allow the impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the taxation and superannuation systems from the ATO’s engagement activities to be assessed,” Mr Hehir said.

“The ATO has a partly effective strategic framework for engaging with tax practitioners,” he said.

“While there have been various engagement objectives and documented strategies over time, these are not always clearly aligned to demonstrate how the strategies contribute to achieving the engagement objectives.”

Mr Hehir said coordinated strategic planning was developing, but the ATO did not have a fully formed performance framework to assess the effectiveness of its strategic approach to engaging with tax practitioners.

He said the ATO had a largely effective approach to consulting tax practitioners to inform the development of its strategy, services and support and provided largely effective services and support for tax practitioners.

“The ATO plans, although it does not always review the effectiveness of, its communications to tax practitioners,” the report said.

Mr Hehir made four recommendations to the ATO relating to its strategic framework; performance framework; consultation groups; and registered agent phone line.

The Auditor-Generals’ Report can be accessed at this PS News link and a 90-page pdf version at this link.

The audit team was Nathan Callaway, Rowena Thomson, Barbara Das, Evan Lee, Ben Thomson, Amanda Reynolds, Sonya Carter, Peta Martyn and Christine Chalmers.

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