The growth of digital interactions, greater automated processing of exceptions and more effective allocation of staff are speeding up tax return processing.
For example, improved analytic models have automated almost 417,000 tax return processing ‘exceptions’ (where returns need to go ‘off-line’ to be manually 'fixed' by staff), minimising refund delays and reducing enquires and complaints about the progress of returns.
Faster turnarounds of tax returns appear to be accompanied by even higher community expectations – to the extent that they may exceed what is feasible for the ATO to deliver.
An increase in digital interactions including traffic in the myTax lodgment channel requires much more infrastructure capacity in our IT systems. There were some problems very early on in Tax Time 2015 around capacity and timeliness, but these were quickly fixed and plans for Tax Time 2016 ensured IT system capacity problems were not an issue.
In the lead up to Tax Time 2016, we also took steps to manage expectations and reduce complaints. These steps include increasing community awareness of our service commitment timeframes, changing some words and instruction on our online lodgment system, emailing and texting taxpayers and clients where delays are expected due to queries about returns, and auto-correcting obvious mistakes in returns where we hold enough information to do so.