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Appendix 2: Taxpayers' Charter - our performance

The Taxpayers’ Charter outlines clients’ rights and obligations. It explains what clients can expect from us in administering the tax and superannuation systems. We are committed to following it in all our dealings. 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.

Our performance against the Taxpayers’ Charter in 2020–21 can be considered satisfactory, with a slight improvement in client and community perceptions when compared to 2019–20. The results below are components of the ATO’s client and community confidence index, which was 68/100 for 2020–21. For more information see our performance result for Confidence – Community confidence in the ATO in our Annual Performance Statement.

Our performance against the Taxpayers’ Charter, 2020–21

Charter element

How we measure this element(a)

2020–21 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.

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.

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 (see page 199) demonstrates our accountability


(a) Some elements of the Taxpayers’ Charter are measured using our Client and Community Confidence survey data, while other elements are measured using 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.

[Additional note for the Transparency Portal]

(c) See Appendix 8: Service commitments and activities.


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