Some Tax Office Facts

9 March 2016
In a recent address to the Tax Institute 31st National Convention, ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan outlined some interesting tax office facts.

Three years into his seven year role as Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan loves his job. It certainly has diversity, as he outlined recently to the Tax Institute National convention. Here are some key take outs from his speech.

Who are the ATO’s customers?

There are millions of different people and entities that the ATO services as clients, including:

  • 8 million individuals
  • 9 million small businesses
  • 55,500 tax and BAS agents
  • 557,000 self-managed superannuation funds
  • 780,000 trusts
  • 880,000 employers
  • 1,400 large business groups and superannuation funds.

What does looking after these customers involve?

The many customers of the ATO keep it busy, including:

  • 5 million returns and activity statements
  • $432 billion in taxes collected and $95.5 billion in refunds
  • $10.4 billion in benefits and credits paid out to Australians through a range of
  • grants, tax offsets and programs, and
  • More than 25 million services delivered – online, via the app, phone,
  • correspondence and shopfront visits – and these are just the ones initiated by

And it seems that the ATO does a pretty good job. The 35.5 million returns and activity statements last year resulted in just 24,500 complaints – not a high proportion.

“Out of interest, 8,350 (of those complaints) were from agents and nearly 300 were from one agent,” observed the Commissioner.

Some tech innovations over the past 12 months

It can be difficult to move a large organisation, but over the past year the ATO has introduced and enhanced some handy tech tools for its customers, including:


“The ATO App gives people access to both tax and super information and services in the palm of their hand,” said the Commissioner.

“Our enhancements now include the myDeductions tool. More than 700,000 people have downloaded the app and the handy myDeductions feature is great for anyone needing to capture invoices and receipts.”

Voice authentication

According to the Commissioner, more than 1.6 million people have registered their voiceprints with the ATO and it is the first in Australia to deploy this service on an app.

Business Performance Check Tool

“We also have the Business performance check tool, which helps people compare their business performance with relevant industry performance data, and gives them an indication of their business’s ability to pay its debts,” said the Commissioner.

The ATO also has great customers

According to the Commissioner, bot tax agents and regular Aussie consumers are easy to work with! Some of our good qualities that Mr Jordan pointed out included:

  • High levels of voluntary compliance
  • Relatively few disputes and complaints
  • Community interest and support for a good tax system
  • Unprecedented global collaboration and action, and
  • A constructive relationship between the tax profession and the ATO.

“We can make Australia’s tax system the envy of the world through truly contemporary service, expertise and integrity and every one of us here has a role to play,” he concluded.

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