– eJournal of Tax Research
To the mainstream population, a taxation authority is an enigmatic and remote force. Most citizens would prefer to have little, if any interaction with such an organisation. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is no exception. The ATO is the sole Commonwealth government agency assigned the role to administer the taxation and superannuation systems. The lesser known focus in the ATO on consultation and collaboration with taxpayers has been the poor cousin to the alter ego of the ‘firm enforcer’. Recently, a focus on improved engagement between the ATO and the taxpaying population led to the development of a prototype community engagement framework. The framework bridges the division between enforcement and collaboration, demonstrating that engagement is a spectrum of professionalism and service delivery. This paper discusses the development of the Effective Engagement Framework, which utilized the ATO’s own co-design methodology. The implementation and evaluation of the methodology are outlined, as well as suggestions for the application of the framework to tax authorities or other compliance agencies in removing the obstacles to improved engagement with the community.