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Corporate Plan 2018-19

Introduction

The 2018-19 Corporate Plan of the Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT) is the agency’s primary planning document and it outlines our strategies in delivering our services to the community and achieving our purpose over the next four years.

This document, which covers the 2018-19 to 2021-22 reporting period, is produced in accordance with paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. It sets out our purpose, operating environment, capability, risks and performance information.

Our corporate plan is an integral part of our performance framework and is directly linked to the 2018-19 Portfolio Budget Statements, the Risk Management Policy and Framework and the annual performance statement. Our success at achieving our purpose is reported in our annual performance statement which forms part of our annual report.

Figure 1: IGT’s Performance Framework

Our purpose

The IGT is an independent agency established by the Inspector-General of Taxation Act 2003 (IGT Act), effectively as the Taxation Ombudsman, to improve tax administration by undertaking the following activities:

The Inspector-General of Taxation

The IGT is appointed by the Governor-General for a fixed term of up to five years and provides advice to the Government.

The IGT is supported by his staff who adhere to the Australian Public Service (APS) values as set out in the Public Service Act 1999. The IGT is committed to assisting the Australian community by providing tax specialist services to resolve taxpayer concerns and identifying improvements in tax administration.

Tax laws and its administration are complex. The IGT plays an important role in maintaining confidence in the Australian tax system by providing independent assistance and assurance to the community as well as advice to Government, the ATO and TPB regarding improvements to tax administration.

Figure 2: The role of the IGT

Our operating environment

Our effectiveness in carrying out our responsibilities is dependent on our ability to manage and adapt to the environment in which we operate. The IGT’s operating environment is influenced by:

Key relationships

A key component to operating effectively is managing our relationships. The IGT maintains a range of relationships in undertaking the activities outlined in our purpose.

Our key relationships are with:

Figure 3: IGT’s key relationships

Factors influencing our operating environment

Our operating environment is characterised by various factors that may influence our performance. These factors are outlined in the table below.

Internal factors

Our ability to manage resources between our complaints handling service and broader reviews into areas of tax administration for improvement

To maintain a high level of service to the community, we need to be flexible in allocating and managing our resources. We anticipate an increase in complaints received over the next four years while we continue to identify improvement opportunities in tax administration and conduct broader reviews.

Our working relationship with the ATO and the TPB

We act independently but work with the ATO and the TPB to resolve concerns raised by members of the community and to identify improvements that would benefit the wider community.

Our ability to anticipate and respond to changes in the administration of the tax system

Our effectiveness in improving tax administration depends on our ability to anticipate and respond to changes in tax laws and its administration – particularly given the complexity of tax laws. The more responsive we are to changes in tax administration, the more useful and relevant our assistance will be to the community.

We keep abreast of changes in the administration of the tax laws, including through our interactions with Government agencies, the tax profession and the wider community. Our complaints handling service provides us with real time insights into emerging issues. We need to allocate resources accordingly and work with the ATO and the TPB to address these issues promptly.

External factors

Community expectations

As our complaints handling service matures, the community’s expectations of our service delivery will also increase. We need to continue to maintain high standards of service while meeting the changing demands and expectations of the community.

Community awareness

Over the next four years, we are seeking to raise the community’s awareness of our office and the assistance we provide to improve access to our service. Our service needs to be accessible to all Australians and meet their needs.

Ministerial direction

We need to be responsive to Ministerial directions and to reallocate resources accordingly to meet those directions.

Four year horizon

Over the next four years, our focus will be on improving strategies to manage and adapt to our operating environment as it continues to evolve.

This year we have commenced a project to optimise our complaints handling service. This involves undertaking a review of our current service to identify areas of improvement as well as developing solutions. The review is not limited to the complaints process but includes policies and communications as well as skilling and support we provide to our staff. Over the next four years, we will regularly seek feedback on our complaints handling service to ensure it remains effective and meets community expectations.

We have also commenced a project to expand our social media presence to increase awareness of our role and the services we deliver. With an increase in the awareness of our role, improved access to the Australian community and satisfaction with our service becomes more widely known, we anticipate an increase in the number of complaints by approximately five to ten percent each year in the next four years.

In the main, our resources are allocated between our complaints handling service and broader review functions. In the next four years, a challenge for us will be to manage our resources efficiently so that we can maintain a reasonable level of review work whilst also maintaining high standards in the handling of complaints. We plan to be flexible with our resources so that we continue to meet the community’s expectations. We will continue to monitor satisfaction with our service and regularly review our complaints handling service to ensure it is effective and remains readily accessible to the community.

Historically our program of reviews was guided by extensive broad-based consultation with the community. Over the next four years, our reviews will be increasingly guided by insights from our complaints handling service.

The interaction between our complaints handling service and broader reviews is described in Figure 4 below.

Figure 4: IGT’s complaints handling service and broader reviews

Our capability

Communication and awareness

We are, as the Taxation Ombudsman, the only agency empowered to investigate taxpayer complaints. Our current communication strategy focuses on two core themes:

Priorities over the next four years include enhancing the public profile of our office. We intend to achieve this by reaching and engaging with a wider audience through a variety of channels, including increasing our community speaking engagements and expanding our social media presence.

We will also be more proactive in raising awareness about our work through updates to our website and quarterly eNewsletter, IGoT News!, which features case studies and the latest news about our activities.

Workforce

Our people are central to our ability to deliver genuine and tailored service to the community. We are committed to providing a workplace environment in which our staff are supported, engaged and inspired to provide the best service and outcomes.

Our strategy is centred on employing and retaining experienced tax specialists with the ability to provide a professional, effective and independent service to the community. A key initiative is the development of a rewards and recognition framework to celebrate staff achievements and innovations.

We strongly support the development of our workforce and will continue to enhance our capability through targeted training and development opportunities that are responsive to individual and organisational needs as well as the evolving needs of the broader community. This includes training in the areas of complaints resolution, engaging and persuasive communication and leadership.

We are also committed to workplace diversity. Our office is made up of culturally and linguistically diverse people with varied qualifications, skills and experience. The diversity of our people assists us to better understand the needs of our community and ensure that we provide tailored and appropriate services. We will continue to promote flexible working options and arrangements for both men and women across our agency, as set out in our Gender Equality Action Plan 2017-19.

The management of future complaints we receive from the community will likely impact on our current staffing and resource levels. We will regularly review our resources and be flexible and agile in managing these resources.

Information and communications technology (ICT) systems

Our ICT systems play a critical role in supporting our agency’s operations and the service we provide to the community.

Priorities for the current year include improving our ability to effectively and efficiently manage the complaints we receive from community members. This involves implementing a number of upgrades to improve the functionality and usability of our electronic case management system, which will assist to further enhance our ability to capture and report on complaints data and trends, and allow our staff to work more flexibly with remote access.

Over the next four years, we will continue to enhance our business capability and use technology to innovate and improve the way we manage and deliver our services to the community. Our strategies include information management and technological solutions to manage our complaints handling service and identifying the resources required to support our existing and future organisational needs.

Our risks

We operate in an inherently complex and challenging environment and face a range of diverse risks. Risk management is therefore an integral part of our business planning and governance processes.

The key risks to our operational requirements and objectives include not having the capacity or capability to:

Effective management of our risks requires a holistic approach and therefore responsibility for managing risks rests with all our staff. We have established and maintained appropriate systems of risk oversight, management and internal controls in accordance with section 16 of the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy.

We have integrated our Risk Management Policy and Framework with our performance framework. Over the next four years, we will continue to monitor and update our Risk Management Policy and Framework and Risk Register.

Our performance information

We are committed to meeting our objective of improving tax administration for the benefit of the Australian community. We continue to monitor our performance in undertaking the activities that realise our purpose.

Our performance framework is intended to inform Parliament on our activities and to ensure we are accountable to the Australian community. We also use the performance framework to inform our staff on the value and benefit of their work.

Our performance measures for our activities are set out in the table below.

Specialised tax complaints handling service

Measures 2018‑19 2019‑20 2020‑21 2021‑22
Monitor community awareness of the IGT through the number of interactions with the IGT’s website and social media as well as subscriptions to IGoT News!.
Feedback provided by stakeholders about the IGT’s complaints handling service through such means as surveys, consultative forums and case studies.
Agreed business improvements identified as a result of our complaint investigations.
Feedback from the ATO and the TPB about the IGT’s complaints handling service (via regular inter-agency meetings).
Feedback from staff about the IGT’s complaints handling service (via internal complaints meetings).
Measuring efficiency through the percentage of complaints received and completed.
Measuring the effectiveness of our decisions through the percentage of complaints not requiring an internal review of the original decision.

Identify and prioritise areas of tax administration for improvement

Measures 2018‑19 2019‑20 2020‑21 2021‑22
Emerging themes identified from our complaints handling service.
Issues identified from stakeholder forums, such as consultation undertaken to develop our work program.
Matters requiring investigation pursuant to directions from the Minister or requested by Parliament, Parliamentary Committees, the Commissioner of Taxation or the TPB.
Prioritise identified issues.

Conduct reviews into priority areas and make independent recommendations for improvement to Government, the ATO and the TPB

Measures 2018‑19 2019‑20 2020‑21 2021‑22
Conduct reviews and investigate identified issues.
Report the findings and recommendations of the reviews.

The annual performance statement in our annual report will discuss our performance in meeting our objective across the above measures.