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.
97% of total net tax collections arose through voluntary compliance
3% 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 2020–21 by both tax agents and self-preparers demonstrates the importance of intermediaries in the system.
68.9% lodged by tax agents
31.1% 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
- allowing tax and BAS practices to access their clients’ records through their software or via Online services for agents.
Over 12.4 million individuals have linked to the ATO through myGov; including more than 2 million individuals that linked in 2020–21
Almost 24,900 active tax agents and 12,200 active 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.
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).
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 (see page 199) demonstrates our accountability