3.1 Summary of methodology
To fulfil the objectives of the research, the approach summarised in Table 1 was undertaken. Further details about the methodology can be viewed in Appendix A: Technical Notes.
This report combines the findings from Stage 1, a general population survey of Australians aged 16 years or older, and Stage 2, a detailed investigation of the required non-lodger group.
The CATI and online questionnaires were developed by CBSR in close collaboration with IGT -these can be seen in Appendix B and C. An iterative process was undertaken during which the questionnaires were refined from an initial state into a final instrument which was approved by IGT.
In Stage 1, the average CATI interview was 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Interviews ranged from 4 minutes 24 seconds to 11 minutes 22 seconds. Further call data statistics can be seen in Appendix A: Technical Notes.
The online questionnaire used in Stage 2 took approximately 10 minutes for respondents to complete.
A number of terms have been used throughout this report. An explanation of these is shown below.
|IGT||Inspector General of Taxation|
|CBSR||Colmar Brunton Social Research|
|ATO||Australian Taxation Office|
|cf.||The abbreviation for the Latin words coactus feci, meaning 'compared to'|
3.4 Interpretation of the Results in this Report
3.4.1 Interpreting charts and tables
Where in the report it is stated that X% of the general community surveyed indicated 'Y', these results are based on Stage 1. Stage 1 involved a general community survey whereby all survey respondents satisfying the four different taxpayer segments participated. The 'general community' results relate to those shown in the 'Total %' columns of the tables throughout the report similar to that shown below. Where 'general community' is also mentioned in the commentary throughout the report, this also refers to the results of stage 1.
The results for 'required lodgers' (column a), 'non-required lodgers' (column b) and 'non-required non-lodgers' (column d) are all derived from the general community survey (stage 1). The results for 'required non-lodgers' are the combined results of the required non-lodgers surveyed in both stage 1 (general community survey) and stage 2 (the dedicated survey of required non-lodgers). The results in sections 4.1.1 through to 4.1.4 which describe the incidence of lodgement, non-lodgement and taxpayer segments in the general community, are however the results derived from stage 1 in isolation (the general community survey).
In tables throughout the report mean scores are provided for questions whereby a scaled response was used. For example, one of the questions asked 'On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is extremely unlikely and 10 is extremely likely, how likely is it that you will lodge your tax return at the end of this coming financial year?'. If for example it is shown that the mean score for a taxpayer segment is 7.9, then this can be interpreted as the average score provided in response by survey respondents in that segment.
3.4.2 Tests of Statistical Significance
In all tables in this report, groups (particularly required lodgers and required non-lodgers) are compared against each other and, where possible, differences are tested for statistical significance at the 95% confidence level.
In tables, where a result is bolded in red this indicates that this score is significantly higher than others. The subscript beside that score indicates which group the score is significantly higher than. For example a score of 28ab indicates that this score of 28% is significantly higher than the scores in column a and b.
Where statistical significances are not noted, there are none.
3.5 Determination of obligation to submit a tax return
In order to identify whether a respondent was required to submit a tax return in the 2006/07 financial year, survey respondents were asked a series of eligibility questions identical to that made available to the general community by the ATO on its website. This interactive 'decision tool' can be viewed at: http://calculators.ato.gov.au/scripts/axos/axos.asp?CONTEXT=&KBS=Lodge.XR4&go=ok11.
Survey respondents were not asked directly whether they thought they were required to submit a return in 2006/07 as it was hypothesised that not all people would be aware of whether they were required, and that some would be incorrect.
Due to restrictions on survey length, these eligibility questions were only able to be asked of each respondent with respect to the previous financial year (2006/07). Each respondent was asked whether they lodged a tax return in 2006/07 and the two previous financial years (2005/06 and 2004/05) however there is no way to identify whether a respondent was required to submit a return in the two preceding financial years. However, it is hypothesised that in a period of three financial years the majority of respondents are unlikely to have changed in terms of their eligibility status. This should be kept in mind when assessing the results of questions which ask about lodgement behaviour in preceding financial years, particularly:
Q1b. For what reasons did you not lodge your tax return in 2005/06?
Q1c. For what reasons did you not lodge your tax return in 2004/05?
Similar considerations should be made when assessing the results of questions which ask about potential lodgement behaviour in the coming financial year (2007/08), particularly:
Q3. For what reasons are you unlikely to lodge (in 2007/08)?
To ensure responses were not biased by the survey process, respondent's determined obligation to lodge a return for the 2006/07 financial year was not revealed to them.
11 Accessed 28 April 2008