Tax & ATO News Australia

Culture Change & The Reinvention Of The ATO

Anyone who has received an email from the ATO recently will see that their new email sign offs proudly state “We’re Reinventing”. At least sometimes they do - I suspect some ATO officers remove this logo in some correspondence.

And therein lies the problem with cultural change in an organization as large and entrenched as the Australian Taxation Office. I think the Commissioner, Mr Chris Jordan, is brave and visionary in trying to reinvent the ATO into an organization that is more approachable and responsive to taxpayers. A significant number of ATO officers, particularly in the Review and Dispute Resolution (‘RDR’) section of the ATO are on board with this new approach.

I shared a panel with two Assistant Commissioners on Friday 28th August 2015 in Brisbane to discuss RDR’s approach to mediation and their own project, in-house facilitation.

In-house facilitation is a form of mediation run by ATO officers who truly do act independently. I think this is a brilliant innovation and at its best, works very well. I have been involved in several facilitations, all with great success.

I am greatly concerned, however, that the good intentions of the Commissioner and those in RDR and the goodwill being developed by this approach is being eroded by some people within the ATO who do not believe in it. One matter in particular suggests to me that some within the ATO are prepared to walk away from a concluded deal from a mediation.

Hopefully these issues can be resolved and I look forward to hearing from the RDR Assistant Commissioners as to how they hope to address this problem in the future.

Posted in: Tax & ATO News Australia at 17 September 15


Tax & ATO News Australia

Author: David Hughes

Last 12 months