Reaching out to the community

We engage with the community to continually improve services, advice and guidance both to help them meet their tax and superannuation obligations and to understand the value of the system to Australian society.

For example, we have worked with other agencies through fix-it squads to remove irritants and improve the experience for executors of deceased estates and people planning for retirement when they deal with government as a whole. We also consulted with the community on how to improve the process for refunding franking credits and on providing advice and guidance to participants in the shared economy.

As part of a continuing program to educate young people about the tax and superannuation systems and help them get ready to participate, we engaged with some 350 schools through visits and webinars. We also entered into an agreement with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to see tax and superannuation formally become part of the national curriculum in 2017.

The success of a pilot pop-up 'tax office' in a shopping centre in Melbourne, in April 2016, has led to the concept being rolled out at some 30 shopping centres around Australia for Tax Time 2016. As well as answering people's general questions about tax and super, staff at the pop-up office will promote digital services (such as myTax and the ATO app) as part of our 'Show me what, how and why' initiative, showing people how the tools work and where to find them.

Where compliance risks affect particular groups of taxpayers or communities, we aim to be open with people about what attracts our attention and give them the opportunity to correct their returns before taking audit or enforcement action. Our current focus areas are omitted income, rental properties and work-related expenses.