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ATO reiterates client experience focus

The ATO has removed over 5 million words from its website in a bid to improve the client experience with accountants, while claiming to have reduced red tape and unnecessary procedures.

ATO reiterates client experience focus
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Speaking at the Institute of Public Accountants National Congress on the Gold Coast last week, ATO commissioner Chris Jordan said the tax office was committed to “reinventing the ATO” by improving the client experience.

According to Mr Jordan, the ATO has reduced the number of words on its website by 45 per cent, and “eliminated unnecessary processes and mindless checklists and thrown out the associated thousands of pages of procedures”.

“My intention is to be a tax administration that focuses on the client experience, making things easier for people, paying attention to material matters, recognising time has a cost, where our decisions are clearly understood, and our activities are not an unnecessary drain on the productivity of our nation,” said Mr Jordan.

“We have reduced the number of words on our website by approximately 5.3 million words, removing duplication and complexity to allow greater ease of use, and we have just implemented a simpler form of activity statement for businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million – now only requiring reporting against three labels about GST, instead of eight or nine.”

However, industry voices have voiced their doubt with the ATO’s changes, calling for further reduction on red tape.

Mr Jordan also emphasised the tax office’s change of approach to focus on prevention rather than correction, resulting in a 61 per cent reduction in the number of actions proceeding to courts and tribunals.

We’ve emphasised prevention, rather than correction and ‘gotcha’ – with taxpayer alerts and practical compliance guidelines which give people the ‘flags on the beach’,” said Mr Jordan.

“We have very deliberately ramped up our early engagement, greater use of alternative dispute resolution, and support for those who are in dispute.

“Resolving disputes more quickly has reduced time, money and angst – for taxpayers and us.”

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