The January 2005 IGT Review

7.1 Underlying the decision to conduct this review in 2005, was the Tax Office's approach of subjecting the vast majority of the dollar value of GST refunds to manual pre-issue checking using the risk rating engine (RRE). At the time this was considered to be a somewhat unsophisticated risk management approach. Both taxpayers and tax practitioners raised their concerns to the Inspector-General that the RRE processes failed to allow the nature of the taxpayer's industry, the life cycle stage of the taxpayer's business or their past history in terms of previous compliance checks to halt the manual RRE process. This was of particular relevance for government organisations and large ongoing businesses that are not representative of the type of taxpayer that would fail to comply with their tax obligations by simply disappearing. A number of these taxpayers advised the Inspector-General that they were having successive refunds delayed despite being in an industry where GST refunds were the norm or where the taxpayer's previous compliance history indicated that such a procedure was not in accordance with the Tax Office's Compliance Model.

7.2 During 2003-04, the pre-issue review of $20 billion of GST refunds resulted in the recovery of approximately $275 million — a 1.3 per cent yield. This practice obviously created tension with one of the principal design features of Australian GST law — that refunds should be paid promptly. Receiving refunds within a reasonable timeframe is often critical for businesses and other entities in funding their enterprises. Any delay has the potential to place affected taxpayers at a competitive disadvantage through affecting their cash flow.

7.3 The Inspector-General's 2005 review also established that Tax Office management systems could not generate information showing the time required to process all GST refunds from the date of lodgement to the time of payment. Nor could the systems provide the time taken to process particular kinds of refunds (such as those which have been stopped for manual checking).

7.4 In response to the Inspector-General's 2005 review, the Tax Office advised that it was well advanced in the process of improving the RRE.

Implementation of recommendations

Key Recommendation 1

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office improve its systems to better match the risk issues associated with paying GST refunds. These systems need to achieve a better balance between paying GST refunds in a timely manner and preventing fraudulent or incorrect refunds from issuing.

Tax Office Position

7.5 The RRE is a risk methodology applied prior to the issue of a GST refund. The RRE comprises of a number of separate tests that focus on assessing the likelihood and consequences of GST refunds being fraudulent or incorrect. Implementation of a series of improvements in the RRE began in July 2004.

7.6 An override facility has been implemented which provides more automated streamlining of refunds from taxpayers with a proven historical record of good compliance and regular refund claims. Put simply, the override suppresses one or all RRE GST tests where despite being identified as a high-risk refund by the RRE tests, other information available to the Tax Office indicates that the taxpayer in question represents a sufficiently low risk to not require pre-issue checking.

IGT Analysis

7.7 The following table provides an analysis of RRE operation over the last three financial years.

RRE GST Pre Issue Tests Work Item Analysis162
Issue 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07
Total activity statement refunds claimed by taxpayers $31.57b $36.47b $41.24b $41.25b
Total value of refunds stopped pre issue $20.48b $16.40b $12.76b $12.94b
Per cent refunds stopped/total refunds 64.87% 44.97% 30.94% 31.37%
Total RRE GST pre issue work items created 84.054 81.825 76.799 78.949
Per cent change per year 0% -2.65% -6.14% 2.79%
Per cent change overall 0% -2.65% -8.63% -6.07%
RRE GST liabilities raised $252.3m $294.8m $385.5m Not Available
RRR other heads of revenue liabilities raised $4.4m $7.8m 21.4m$ Not Available
Total liabilities raised $256.7m $302.6m $406.9m Not Available
Per cent change per year 0% +17.88% +34.47% Not Available
Per cent change overall 0% +17.88% +58.51% Not Available
Per cent total value of refunds stopped pre issue 1.25% 1.84% 3.18% Not Available
RRE GST strike rate(a) 14.19% 14.27% 16.23% Not Available
Per cent change per year 0% +0.56% +13.74% Not Available
Per cent change overall 0% +0.56% +14.38% Not Available

(a) Cases where the refund adjusted as a percentage of the total taxpayer contact cases.

7.8 The value of refunds stopped for RRE testing as a percentage of total activity statement refunds lodged has decreased from 64.87 per cent in 2003-04 to 31.37 per cent in 2006-07. This represents an actual reduction of $7.54 billion in refunds stopped pre-issue in the 2006-07 financial year compared to the 2003-04 financial year despite total activity statement refunds increasing over the same period by $9.68 billion (that is, 30.7 per cent). These results are a significant achievement by the Tax Office in response to the Inspector-General's recommendation. The introduction of the override facility and its continued enhancement have meant that in 2005-06 some 11,989 work items totalling $14.952 billion were not stopped by RRE testing (that is, 36.25 per cent of activity statement refunds). Overall the introduction of the override facility has seen a higher percentage of activity statement refunds passing through without being stopped: 69.06 per cent in 2005-06 compared to 55.03 per cent in 2004-05 and 35.13 per cent in 2003-04.

7.9 However, the proportionate amount of additional tax recovered (when compared to the value of refunds tested through the RRE — the yield) remains relatively low. The overall yield for RRE testing was 3.18 per cent in 2005-06 (despite being an improvement on the 1.84 per cent achieved in 2004-05 and the 1.25 per cent in 2003-04). The dollar amount of liabilities raised from refunds stopped and found to be incorrectly claimed is however significant at over $400 million. The yield and dollar amounts are nevertheless particularly low in the large business and government sectors. This issue was highlighted in the Inspector-General's 2005 report at paragraphs 4.42 and 4.43 (in summary):

During the 2003-04 financial year, $7.35 billion of GST refunds claimed by large enterprises were flagged for RRE checking. $14.5 million in tax liabilities were raised (that is, a 0.2 per cent result). For the large government and community sector $7.6 billion was checked resulting in the raising of just $0.1 million (that is, a 0.0014 per cent result).

7.10 In comparison during the 2005-06 financial year, $3.8 billion of GST refunds claimed by large enterprises were flagged for RRE checking, but only $27.84 million in tax liabilities were raised163 (that is, a 0.73 per cent result). For the large government and community sector $685 million was checked with $1.55 million in liabilities raised164 (that is, a 0.2 per cent result).

7.11 Comparing the 2005-06 figures with the 2003-04 figures demonstrates that the yield from RRE activity for these two groups has increased. However, in line with the overall figure of 3.18 per cent (referred to above in 7.9), the yield from RRE activity remains low for the large enterprise sector (0.73 per cent) and for the large government and community sector (0.2 per cent).

7.12 These figures indicate that whilst significant improvements have been made, the Tax Office can still achieve more in line with its response to the Inspector-General's 2005 review:

… that close to all of these entities [large and government sectors] will become subject to the override policy.165

7.13 In considering the true impact of this on taxpayers, it is important to consider the proportion of stopped refunds that are still issued within the 14-day corporate standard. Snapshot figures supplied by the Tax Office suggest that the proportion is up to 70 per cent. In the large business and government sectors this proportion is higher with 96 per cent and 97 per cent respectively released within 14 days. The Inspector-General notes that these are positive figures, but the question that remains is how effective the RRE is given that in dollar terms most of its results are overridden. From 2005-06 Tax Office data the Inspector-General has formed the following broad picture of the three major GST refund sectors:

  Large Business Government Micro and SME
Total refunds claimed by taxpayers $10b $10b $21b
Refunds stopped pre issue $3.8b $0.7b $8.3b
Liabilities raised $26m $1.6m $378m
Yield per cent 0.68% 0.23% 4.55%

7.14 The above statistics indicate that in the large business and government sectors the RRE is still identifying for manual checking, cases that contain a low level of risk. Put simply, while the improvements made by the override facility are very significant, the Tax Office RRE still stops around 30 per cent of the value of large business GST refunds (over $3.7 billion) yet only raises a small amount in liabilities.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office has implemented a series of changes to the RRE that have resulted in the introduction of additional case selection rules. The introduction of the override facility has avoided a significant number of activity statement refunds being stopped unnecessarily by the RRE process. This has in turn achieved a major reduction in the value of delayed GST refunds.

The Tax Office continues to drive these improvements. The Inspector-General notes that there are still significant opportunities for further improvement in the large business and government sectors in particular.

The Tax Office is aware of this situation and is continuing to increase its override program and is planning to implement more sophisticated processes than the RRE as part of the Change Program.

Key Recommendation 1 Subsidiary Recommendation 1

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office establish systems which identify all cases where delayed refund interest should be paid.

Tax Office Position

Automatically Processed Cases

7.15 Historically, 95 per cent of work involving delayed refund interest (DRI) is completed using automated systems and the remaining 5 per cent is through manual work.166 Automatic calculation of DRI involves not only the calculating of DRI, but also posting and then refunding the DRI to the taxpayer. An auto-calculation of DRI is triggered by the:

  • processing of an original credit activity statement;
  • processing of a revised credit activity statement; or
  • release of a stored refund.

Manually Processed Cases

7.16 For manually processed cases, procedures have been adopted which instruct Tax Office staff how to identify whether an entity is entitled to DRI. On finalising a case, officers are required to complete and retain a 'Refund Integrity Checklist'167 which includes the direct question of whether the issue of DRI has been appropriately addressed.

Quality Assurance and Control

7.17 The Tax Office has implemented a sustainable and practical ongoing process that periodically assures that DRI is being appropriately paid. Specifically, this is undertaken at the team level by a weekly quality assurance (QA) process and at the national level by a tri-annual quality control (QC) process. Results from these processes are recorded and monitored.

7.18 Coaching of staff is undertaken on an ongoing basis with operative staff receiving coaching every two months. Coaching of new staff is undertaken monthly until they attain a level of proficiency and experience whereupon coaching is undertaken on a two-monthly basis. A monthly report is prepared for the Assistant Commissioner (Client Account Services) outlining areas requiring improvement.

IGT Analysis

7.19 As outlined above, the identification of manually processed cases requiring the calculation of DRI is dependant upon case officers completing a checklist which includes the question of whether DRI has been correctly addressed. For cases processed automatically, the calculation of DRI is triggered by relevant activities such as the processing of a credit activity statement. For Taxpayer Accounting Teams, the exercising of authorisations and the appropriate completion of checklists relating to DRI are supported at the team level by a weekly QA process and at the national level by a tri-annual QC process (see below). Results from the QA process are entered into a database and team leaders are provided with their team's ratings. A report is also prepared for the Assistant Commissioner (Client Account Services).

7.20 Relevant Tax Office sampling of cases undertaken shortly after the Inspector-General's original review revealed that an overpayment of DRI occurred in 5.4 per cent of cases and an underpayment in 1.4 per cent of cases. This arose in three different scenarios where Tax Office systems failed to capture the correct sequence of events that occurred between the date that the original activity statement was lodged and the date the refund was issued. However, system changes have been recently implemented to address two of the three scenarios. The system fix addressing the third scenario is not proceeding as only a very small number of cases involving limited amounts of overpayment were involved. Testing of the effectiveness of the two system improvements already in place has not been undertaken by the Inspector-General because of their recent implementation.

Implementation Status: Implemented

Case officers are required to complete a checklist for each case which includes a direct question as to whether DRI is payable. Quality assurance is undertaken weekly for each team and tri-annually on a national basis with relevant reporting of results to the Assistant Commissioner (Client Account Services). This process includes a review of the application of DRI.

Case sampling revealed underpayment or overpayment of DRI in only a small number of cases. System changes have recently been implemented to address the vast majority of these cases.

Key Recommendation 1 Subsidiary Recommendation 2

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office publish statistics to advise taxpayers, on a regular basis, of the number of days it will take the Tax Office to pay a GST refund after lodgement of either a paper or electronic BAS.

Tax Office Position

7.21 Since 1 August 2005, the Tax Office website has provided on a weekly basis the expected processing times for activity statement refunds that do not require off-line checking by the Tax Office before issuing. Expected processing times are based on the average processing times achieved in the preceding week.

IGT Analysis

7.22 The Inspector-General considers that the level of reporting provided by this weekly report addresses the subsidiary recommendation. It is simply not practical for the Tax Office to report on the processing times of cases that require prolonged intervention.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office reports on its external website the average number of days it will take to pay a GST refund after lodgement of a routine activity statement (that is, one that does not require detailed investigation). This statistic is based on average processing times achieved in the preceding week.

Key Recommendation 1 Subsidiary Recommendation 3

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office take steps to ensure that credit amendments to income tax assessments do not inappropriately halt the payment of GST refunds.

Tax Office Position

7.23 The introduction in January 2008 of the Tax Office's new Integrated Core Processing System is proposed to ensure that the processing of credit amendment requests will not delay the payment of GST refunds. In the interim period, the Tax Office has put in place a manual process to reduce delays in processing. This involves a team identifying on a weekly basis those activity statement refunds that are held pending the processing of an income tax return. Where such a case is identified, contact is made with the relevant processing area to arrange for the finalisation of the return as a matter of priority. Monitoring is undertaken to ensure timely resolution.

IGT Analysis

7.24 Statistics on the effectiveness of this interim process reveal that on average only one activity statement refund per week has been delayed due to an income tax return being processed.

Implementation Status: Implemented

Current procedures are adequately addressing this issue. The Tax Office is working towards implementation of a final systems solution in 2008.

Key Recommendation 1 Subsidiary Recommendation 4

The Inspector General recommends that the Tax Office address the problem of ensuring that amounts shown on paper-lodged GST returns have been shown in whole dollars only in a way which does not involve large numbers of refunds being taken off line from automatic processes.

Tax Office Position

7.25 The Tax Office has implemented a number of changes to the format of the activity statement to address the problem identified in the Inspector-General's original report regarding the incidence of taxpayers incorrectly including 'cents' on activity statements. For example, the initial instruction for completing the form now reads 'show whole dollars only (do not show cents)'. In addition, the Tax Office has improved procedures at the pre-processing stage to identify and action activity statements where 'cents' have been included at the image capture stage.

7.26 The Tax Office has also taken a proactive approach to client education through publishing the details of common errors made in completing activity statements (such as the inclusion of 'cents').

IGT Analysis

7.27 Statistics maintained by the Tax Office indicate that the above-mentioned improvements have worked because only a very small number of cases are now taken off-line for review. In addition, improvements to Tax Office systems and procedures have made this review process significantly more efficient with most cases being completed in minutes.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office has implemented a number of physical changes to the activity statement as well as procedures at the pre-processing stage that have resulted in only a very small number of cases being taken off automatic processing.

Key Recommendation 1 Subsidiary Recommendation 5

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office publish on a regular basis, comprehensive lists of clerical errors commonly made on a BAS which could delay a GST refund.

Tax Office Position

7.28 The Tax Office has implemented this recommendation through publishing a number of lists and documents on its external website to ensure that taxpayers are aware of the common BAS errors that can potentially delay a refund. The Tax Office has also included information on BAS errors in some of its quarterly Activity Statement Update publications which are posted out to taxpayers with their quarterly BAS.

IGT Analysis

7.29 The Tax Office has implemented this recommendation through publishing the above-mentioned material on its external website. The Inspector-General expects that the Tax Office will continue this practice on a regular basis to ensure that taxpayers are updated on the errors that are commonly made.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office has implemented this recommendation through regularly publishing on its website the common BAS errors that can potentially delay a GST refund.

Key Recommendation 1 Subsidiary Recommendation 6

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office supplement its existing performance standard for activity statement refunds processing, which is based on the number of refunds processed, by regularly publishing supplementary management information which indicates the average dollar value of refunds held for more than 14 days after lodgement for either verification purposes or for other reasons.

Tax Office Position

7.30 Since the 2004-05 financial year, the Tax Office has included in its annual report the dollar value of an average refund held for more than 14 days after lodgement for either verification purposes or for other reasons. In the 2005-06 financial year, the relevant amount was $4,989 (a 13 per cent reduction from the 2004-05 figure of $5,706). The Tax Office was of the view that the inclusion of this information in its annual report is regularly publishing in line with the subsidiary recommendation. However in discussions with the Inspector-General during the follow-up review, the Tax Office accepted that what it implemented was based on a misreading of the recommendation.

IGT Analysis

7.31 The above-mentioned figure is obtained from the Tax Office's 'Weekly Potential Stored Refunds Report' which contains the number and total value of activity statement refunds that have taken more than 14 days to finalise.168 The Tax Office has simply taken the total value of these types of refunds for the year and divided the figure by the number of refund cases — a simple averaging calculation.

7.32 However, the Tax Office has misread the Inspector-General's recommendation by tailoring this calculation to obtain the average dollar value of a refund instead of the average dollar value of all refunds held for more than 14 days after lodgement.

7.33 Following discussions between the Inspector-General of Taxation and senior Tax Office staff, it has been decided to replace the above-mentioned figure with a table containing two, monthly indicators that together should show the effect of continuing improvements in this area. The Inspector-General's aim is for the Tax Office to report:

  • the dollar amount at any point in time of all GST refunds that it has held up for more than 14 days for compliance checks; and
  • the total amount of adjustments made as a result of compliance checks.

7.34 The first indicator is the total value of all GST refunds held by the Tax Office for more than 14 days because of compliance action. As the Tax Office continues to implement a range of improvement actions this indicator should go down over time.

7.35 The second indicator is the total value of adjustments made during each month as a result of compliance checks. As the Tax Office refines its risk management approaches this indicator should go up over time.

Implementation Status: Partly Implemented

The Tax Office implemented a report in good faith but it was based on a misunderstanding of the Inspector-General's recommendation and as a result does not report the recommended indicator.

In discussions with the Inspector-General, as outlined above, the Tax Office has agreed to implement two new monthly reports which it agrees will provide a meaningful indication of the impact of its continuing improvement strategies.

Key Recommendation 2

The Inspector General recommends that the Tax Office establish 'whole of office' systems which measure the total elapsed time for the payment of GST refunds.

Tax Office Position

7.36 In July 2005 the Tax Office completed a review of the activity statement refund reporting framework which identified a number of deficiencies. Following this review a new reporting framework was designed and implemented by 1 August 2005 which comprises four major reports.

7.37 The Tax Office prepares an additional report that provides management information on refunds stored at the end of each week. Cases are categorised according to the period of time that they have been held and the reason why they are being held.

IGT Analysis

7.38 The new reporting framework provides a greater level of assurance in relation to the accuracy of reporting of activity statement refunds. The new reports (along with increased scrutiny of refund data) also enhance the Tax Office's ability to monitor and track refund flows with a view to identifying blockers, delays and potential improvements.

Implementation Status: Implemented

Following the Inspector-General's 2005 report, the Tax Office undertook a complete review of the activity statement refund reporting framework. The Tax Office now has five reports that enable end-to-end monitoring of not only processing times but also reasons for delay.

Key Recommendation 2 Subsidiary Recommendation 7

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office introduce an eight-day service standard for the processing of 'routine' electronically lodged GST refunds.

Tax Office Position

7.39 On 18 May 2006 the Tax Office announced that it would implement an informal standard of 99 per cent within eight days for these types of cases.

7.40 On 1 June 2006 the Tax Office's external website was enhanced to report the year-to-date performance against the eight-day standard. This data is updated on a weekly basis. The performance for the preceding week is also included.

IGT Analysis

7.41 During 2005-06 the Tax Office processed 99.74 per cent of 'routine'169 electronic activity statement refund cases within eight days. Analysis has determined that the small number of cases processed outside the eight-day standard is due to extended system downtime (for example the Christmas shutdown period).

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office introduced an eight-day standard for the processing of 'routine' electronically lodged activity statement refunds. The year-to-date performance and the preceding week's performance are reported on the Tax Office's external website each week.

Key Recommendation 2 Subsidiary Recommendation 8

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office provide clearer guidance to taxpayers generally of the circumstances in which an offset involving a GST refund will occur and when a taxpayer will need to request the Tax Office to pay any credit balances that arise after an offset is made.

Tax Office Position

7.42 The issue raised in this subsidiary recommendation primarily affected chapter 72 of the ATO Receivables Policy. Since the Inspector-General's 2005 review, the Tax Office has published this policy as a Tax Office practice statement (Law Administration Practice Statement 2006/11 ATO Receivables Policy). A rewrite of chapter 72 was undertaken, together with the development of an additional four chapters.

IGT Analysis

7.43 The concerns raised during the Inspector-General's 2005 review regarding the readability of the ATO Receivables Policy resulted in the above-mentioned rewrite of the policy and its publication as a Tax Office practice statement. In addition, the Tax Office saw the need to publish a simple plain English guide in the form of a Tax Office fact sheet titled Where is my refund? This fact sheet contains a complete list of the circumstances in which an activity statement refund and other refunds will be offset and when a taxpayer will need to request the Tax Office to pay credit balances after an offset has been made.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office has published a plain English guide for taxpayers explaining the issues raised in this subsidiary recommendation. In addition, the Tax Office has revised a number of chapters in its Receivables Policy (now published as a Tax Office practice statement) to provide taxpayers with further guidance.

Key Recommendation 2 Subsidiary Recommendation 9

The Inspector-General recommends that, where a large enterprise taxpayer has a GST refund which is being delayed for verification, the electronic message which is sent to the taxpayer to notify them that their GST refund has been delayed contain the name and contact details of the taxpayer's key client manager. For all other taxpayers whose refunds are to be subject to verification, the Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office provide the relevant taxpayer with the name of the Tax Office staff member who will be dealing with their case at the earliest possible opportunity.

Tax Office Position

7.44 For large enterprise taxpayers, Tax Office staff are required to open and consider for action any work item received within 48 hours of arrival within the GST Active Compliance Large Group. If the work item is not actioned within 48 hours, the client must be contacted and advised of the name and contact number of the officer handling the case as well as that officer's proposed course of action. In addition, an email must be sent to the client notifying them of the delay. Included in this email are the key client manager's name and contact details.

7.45 For all types of taxpayers, staff from the Tax Office's GST Client Verification Cell (CVC) must advise the taxpayer within 48 hours by phone that an activity statement refund is being held for verification. Employee Identification Practice Statement PS 2005/02 requires that during the phone call, staff must provide the name and phone number of the staff member who will be dealing with the case.

IGT Analysis

7.46 As outlined above, the Tax Office has in place procedures whereby taxpayers are advised when their activity statement refund is being held for verification. For large enterprise taxpayers an internal assurance process has been implemented to ensure that client contact is made in line with the above-mentioned procedures. Delayed refund cases are monitored on a weekly basis and finalised aged RRE work items are randomly sampled to ensure work items have been actioned appropriately.

7.47 For all other taxpayers, quality assurance of the above-mentioned procedures includes the review of one live case per operative each quarter. For 2005-06, 88.9 per cent of cases complied with the above-mentioned procedures.170 CVC reports on a weekly basis to Tax Office management about the extent to which the 48-hour standard has been met in the previous week and on a year-to-date basis.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office has implemented procedures whereby its staff must notify taxpayers that their activity statement refund has been delayed pending verification. For large enterprise taxpayers contact must be made within 48 hours from when the case arrived in the Compliance group. A separate notification is also sent electronically to the taxpayer advising them of the delay and including the name and contact details of the taxpayer's key client manager. For all other taxpayers, telephone contact must be made within 48 hours advising the taxpayer of the delay due to verification procedures.

Key Recommendation 2 Subsidiary Recommendation 10

The Inspector-General recommends that the Tax Office introduce better systems for recording information obtained from taxpayers, for example, on the nature of the taxpayer's industry, and ensure that this information can be accessed by tax officers when required.

Tax Office Position

7.48 In June 2006 the Tax Office completed the implementation of the latest contemporary standard of industry classification, ensuring that the most accurate information relating to the nature of a taxpayer's industry is made available to Tax Office staff. This involved the conversion and update of more than 9.3 million taxpayer records.

IGT Analysis

7.49 The improved accuracy of this information provided through the above-mentioned system enables the Tax Office to better manage the allocation of its compliance resources.

7.50 The Tax Office also continues to work towards Release 3 of the Change Program and in particular implementation of the Integrated Core Processing System (ICP) which is to replace around 75 systems. ICP is designed to capture information in one location so as to reduce the likelihood of repeated requests by Tax Office staff for a taxpayer to provide the same set of information. It is anticipated that ICP will be ready to handle income tax matters from March 2008.

7.51 The Tax Office's new file management system (Siebel) is also a better way for recording information obtained from taxpayers. This system is currently being rolled out throughout the Tax Office. Siebel is a significant improvement to the systems that were in place during the Inspector-General's 2005 review. An advantage of Siebel is that it brings together information from a range of systems — put simply, it is a single repository of customer relationship management, case management and work management.

Implementation Status: Implemented

The Tax Office has implemented the latest contemporary standard of industry classification, ensuring that the most accurate information relating to the nature of a taxpayer's industry is made available to Tax Office staff.

The Tax Office is also working towards the implementation of major file management, case management and customer relationship management systems.


162 ATO official response dated 4 August 2006 (at p 9).

163 Tax Office minute to the Inspector-General of Taxation, 24 January 2007 (at p 3).

164 Ibid.

165 Review of Tax Office Administration of GST Refunds Resulting from the Lodgement of Credit BASs (2005) — Inspector-General of Taxation (at 4.46).

166 'Review of delayed refund interest' — Tax Office publication July 2005 (p 10).

167 Section 1.12.1 of the Tax Office's 'Taxation Authorisation Guidelines' also refers to highlighted segments of the 'Refund Integrity Checklist'. This checklist also provides a number of other specific questions relating to DRI.

168 The 'Weekly Potential Stored Refund Report' excludes activity statement refunds which do not require checking by the Tax Office during processing (referred to as 'routine' cases). As confirmed by relevant sampling, almost all of these cases are finalised within the 14-day standard (over 99 per cent in the week tested). The Tax Office reports on these cases elsewhere (as outlined in Key Recommendation 2) but can include them in the relevant figure for the purpose of this subsidiary recommendation if required.

169 'Routine' activity statement refunds are those that do not require checking by the Tax Office during processing.

170 Tax Office 'Briefing Paper: Implementation of IGOT Recommendations (GST Refunds)' 3 August 2006 (at p 7). The relevant Tax Office standard is currently 80 per cent of taxpayers to be contacted within 48 hours of the creation of the work item.