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Appendix 2: Taxpayers’ Charter – our performance

The Taxpayers’ Charter outlines your rights and obligations. It explains what you can expect from us in administering the tax and superannuation systems. We are committed to following it in all our dealings with you. The following table shows how we performed against the commitments we make in our Taxpayers’ Charter, as measured by our Client and Community Confidence survey results and other data we hold.

The Client and Community Confidence survey was introduced in 2018–19, with the results below representing the baseline for measuring our performance against the Taxpayers’ Charter in future years. Our performance against the Taxpayers’ Charter in 2018–19 can be considered as satisfactory with scope for improvement with client and community perceptions. The survey results below are components of the ATO’s community confidence index which was 65/100 for 2018–19. For more information see our performance measure: Confidence – community confidence in the ATO.

Our performance against the Taxpayers’ Charter, 2018–19

Charter element

How we measure this element(a)

2018–19 result(b)

Fair and reasonable: We treat you fairly and reasonably

Trustworthy: The ATO makes unbiased decisions.


Honest: We treat you as being honest unless you act otherwise

The ATO administers a self-assessment tax and superannuation system, adopting a risk-based approach to undertaking compliance activities. We treat taxpayers as being honest by default, and look more deeply where risk indicators are flagged. We look at the balance between self-assessment and compliance.

96% of total net tax collections arose through voluntary compliance

4% of total net tax collections arose through our compliance activities

Professional service and assistance: We offer you professional service and assistance

Timely: Any ATO services you want to use would be available at a convenient time that suits you.

Conscientious: The ATO takes care to think through your circumstances.



Representation: We accept you can be represented by a person of your choice and get advice

We support taxpayers to self-prepare or use the services of tax professionals. The proportion of income tax returns lodged during 2018–19 by both tax agents and self-preparers demonstrates the importance of intermediaries in the system.

74% lodged by tax agents

26% lodged by self-preparers

Privacy: We respect your privacy

Secure: The ATO keeps your / your clients' personal information secure.


Confidentiality: We keep the information we hold about you confidential

Information access: We give you access to information we hold about you

The ATO is committed to providing taxpayers with transparency and visibility of the data we hold about them – for example by:

  • pre-filling individuals’ salary, interest and dividend data in their income tax returns
  • providing client correspondence lists in the tax agent portal / online services for tax and BAS agents.

Almost 8 million individuals have linked to the ATO through myGov

Almost 40,000 tax agents and almost 19,000 BAS agents have registered to use these services

Help: We help you to get things right

Helpful: The ATO is helpful if you need them.


Decisions: We explain the decisions we make about you

The ATO explains the reasons for our decisions as a matter of course. To demonstrate this, we provide outcomes of decisions for objections and private binding rulings.

Objections resolved

Private binding rulings

Your right to question: We respect your right to a review and/ or to make a complaint

The ATO respects and supports taxpayers in reviewing our decisions. To demonstrate this, our review/complaint framework includes:

  • the right to object to an ATO decision
  • a dedicated complaints phone line and web form
  • the opportunity for independent review by the Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO).

Complaints lodged

Easy for you to comply: We make it easier for you to comply

Easy: The amount of effort required for me to meet my tax obligations is reasonable.


Accountability: We are accountable

The ATO is accountable to a range of stakeholders in our administration of the tax and superannuation systems. This includes the community, government and external scrutineers, such as the IGTO and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).

Our service commitment framework demonstrates our accountability. (See Appendix 8: Service commitments and activities.)


(a) Some elements of the Taxpayers’ Charter are measured by results to questions in our Client and Community Confidence survey, while other elements are measured by other data we collect, such as the number of objections or the percentage of lodgments.

(b) Some results are presented as an index, based on one or more survey questions. An 11 point Likert scale (0 to 10) is used to capture the responses and these responses are converted to a score between 0 and 100 to create an index score out of 100.