Invisible Taxation: Fantasy or just good design? Australian Taxation Forum March 2017


This article introduces a new concept for design and evaluation of public services, and taxation in particular. The approach is novel as it draws from multiple domains to construct and propose a measure of administrative effectiveness as an alternative to traditional “service” quality. The article explores the commonalities between service delivery in public administration and the private sector. Exceptional service places the customer at the centre of the experience, achieving a balance between the needs of the organisation and those of the customer. Client service may involve more than one interaction, utilising multiple channels and touchpoints. An excellent client experience is created when the customer achieves the desired outcome with a high level of satisfaction and quality. Service quality is achieved through good service design.

The “service” concept is not easily translated for public administration, especially the tax system. Public administration requires a high level of cooperation and willingness from citizens to participate. Revenue collection authorities ensure that taxes are paid according to the law. Taxpayers abide by the rules and contribute the correct amount of tax. However, the ease with which taxpayers calculate and pay taxes impacts both the efficiency of the revenue collection as well as their willingness to comply.

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