With the aim of delivering a contemporary and tailored service to taxpayers, we are enhancing and promoting our online transaction and tax guidance services.
While the take-up of digital services is largely driven by demand for services that are accessible, secure, easy to use and always available, it also contributes to the efficient administration of the systems in the interest of the community as a whole.
Under our Contemporary Digital Services program, online services continue to be improved, with a range of enhancements delivered over 2015–16 (see ATO online services for more information). The program focuses on delivering contemporary online tools and services that integrate with the systems people already use, and are secure while being easy to access. The program has been developed in consultation with stakeholders (including client groups and the government's Digital Transformation Office), and it aligns with the government's Digital Service Standard.
Consultation during the year included the release of a Digital by Default consultation paper to elicit community views about possible changes to the tax law that would require taxpayers to interact digitally where they have the capacity to do so. The consultation paper was published on the Let's Talk website on 30 November 2015.
The consultation period ended on 29 January 2016 and received a total of 1,003 responses. The response indicates that people want a gradual transition, support for vulnerable taxpayers, and other options for those unable to access digital services.
As part of the Digital by Default strategy, our call centres and shopfronts have begun educating callers to use digital channels where their individual circumstances indicate clear benefits for them.
We also conducted a trial of field visits to promote the use of digital services by small businesses. They were given advice over the phone, with the option of having an ATO officer visit to show them how to use our digital services. Of those contacted, 39% booked a field visit, and 100% of those visited signed up for ATO online services.