ATO pushes ahead with digital by default agenda

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ATO pushes ahead with digital by default agenda

Asks taxpayers for feedback on planned changes.

The Australian Tax Office wants to hear from members of the public on how it can best implement a digital by default approach to sending and receiving information and payments.

The tax office was directed to overhaul its services in the most recent federal budget as part of the government's red tape reduction agenda.

It was allocated $130.9 million over four years to improve the ATO customer experience through initiatives like improving data and analytics infrastructure, making complex tax returns easier through myTax, and by going 'digital by default'.

"The complexity of the tax and superannuation systems has over time seen the creation of multiple service delivery channels," the ATO said in a consultation paper, released today.

"It is expected through ongoing improvement of our services and more people interacting through digital services that we will be able to generate significant savings that can be invested in building future platforms."

It is asking taxpayers how moving to digital-only channels to send and receive information would affect them. Those who don't have the ability to use digital services would be exempt, it said.

"We want to make sure we have a fully-rounded understanding of the support needed to transition to digital services, the approach we take for those who cannot use digital services, and any concerns people might have," deputy commissioner Michelle Crosby said in a statement.

“For most people, it just makes more sense to use our online products, which offer a more personalised and convenient service.”

Crosby said the ATO would provide support for those still using paper products as their main method of communication with the ATO.

It is asking for feedback from the public until January 15 next year

The tax office wants to know what the public believes is the best way to transition to digital channels - whether by market segments, product type etc - whether penalties should be applied for those who refuse to use the digital services, how much it will cost for businesses to comply with the changes, and how exemptions should be applied.

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