Reviews commenced by the IGTO (as at 28 February 2020)

How the IGTO decides own initiative review topics

We undertake extensive consultation with stakeholders, research and analysis to decide which areas of the system to commence reviews and determine which are likely to generate the highest degrees of benefit to the Australian community as a whole.

Since taking on the Taxation Ombudsman role in 2015, we also analyse data from complaints lodged with our office, which has enabled us to gain real-time insight into emerging issues, to inform potential review areas.

Our reviews into aspects of the pay as you go instalment system and Goods and Services Tax refunds are examples of two reviews which were commenced in direct response to trends in complaint handling data.

We envisage that more targeted reviews will be undertaken in an expedited manner to address particular areas where significant complaints have been received before they escalate into major system failures or causes of taxpayer discontent.

Our office also consults extensively with the broader community, including taxpayers, tax professionals and their representative bodies in conducting reviews. We also consult with the Government and its agencies, such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), TPB, Australian National Audit Office, Commonwealth Ombudsman and Treasury. Input is also sought from the Minister as well as Parliamentary Committees.

How you can provide information on topics the IGTO should review?

If you have an area you believe the IGTO should review, you may raise this with us using the methods outlined below. When we announce a new review, we may also specifically request submissions to be made to our office.

Email [email protected]
Fax (02) 8239 2100
GPO Box 551
Sydney, NSW 2001

Release of IGTO reports

We produce and publish a report for all reviews undertaken. These reports set out our observations on the concerns raised as well as practical options for improvement. Our recommendations for improvement can be made to the ATO, TPB or, on occasion, to the Government, depending on whether the recommended changes are within the scope of the ATO’s or TPB’s power or whether legislative change is required.

Whilst the IGTO may express views and findings as part of the review process as well as make recommendations for improvement, our role is purely advisory and we do not have the power to compel the ATO or TPB to accept any recommendations or implement any changes with which they disagree. Despite this, the vast majority of the IGTO’s recommendations to the ATO and TPB have been accepted and implemented. Even where recommendations are not initially accepted, experience has shown that they may be subsequently taken on board and implemented.

Where our reports make recommendations directed to the Government, we are required by legislation to submit our report to the Minister who has 25 sitting days of the House of Representatives to release the report. Where our reports only contain recommendations to the ATO or TPB, the reports are released directly by us via our website.