The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) wants to be “fully digitized” by 2030, with much of the unprecedented strategy devoted to becoming “real-time” – from filing to payment.
Commissioner Chris Jordan told the Xerocon conference in Sydney last week that the ATO Executive Group had “approved a new digital strategy” at the end of August.
The strategy sets a 2030 target to become fully digitized and is based on five key principles.
“We’re still a long way from sharing the full strategy outdoors,” Jordan said, while offering a “behind the curtains peek” to the Xerocon audience.
The principles place a strong emphasis on real-time processing and reuse, both behind the scenes and in the taxpayer world.
Jordan said the ATO “wants companies and their representatives to be able to interact with us through the software or tools they already use to run their business and manage their finances.”
“When we integrate reporting and payment mechanisms into the systems people already use, we make it easier and simpler for them to come into compliance,” he said.
The ATO’s focus for 2030 is aligned with the OECD Tax Administration 3.0 vision, which was set in 2020 and includes a digital maturity model.
For the ATO, this will lead to a digital ecosystem “where transparent, integrated and automated systems allow data to flow from the systems taxpayers already use to ours, without any additional effort or intervention on their part.”
“Tax 3.0 is our ‘North Star’ – where real-time reporting, payments and compliance checks coincide with the taxable event,” Jordan said.
“The closer we get to real-time event-based reporting and payments, the more certainty there is and the less burden on everyone.”
Real-time reporting, he said, could mean the end of “monthly or quarterly GST returns” as well as potentially “a future without BAS”, he said, referring to frequent reports on the tax returns that companies must file.
“We dream big, but that’s the essence of Tax Admin 3.0,” he said.
Jordan said the ATO would bring “a transformational mindset” to the execution of the digital strategy.
It will also follow many large private sector companies in focusing on “reuse” of existing systems and capabilities where possible, suggesting a future standardization effort.
Jordan also said “integrity” – largely security, anti-fraud measures and resilience – would be built into tax reporting and collection procedures.
He added that the design of the systems would put the users at the center, instead of the ATO.
“Once upon a time, the ATO thought it was the center of the tax universe,” he said.
“We would set a course and everyone would have no choice but to follow our example.
“But today we know better. We see ourselves as part of a very large tax ecosystem, and we know that the key to creating optimal digital experiences is co-design. »