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On 13 June 2013, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) tabled a report assessing the effectiveness of the ATO’s management and reporting of selected information relating to the goods and services tax and the fringe benefits tax: Management and Reporting of Goods and Services Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax Information (Audit Report No 44 2012-13).

The audit examined, for key ATO reported data, whether:

  • management arrangements (including quality assurance) were appropriate and effective
  • IT controls were appropriate and effective, and
  • data reported was complete, reliable and timely.

The audit found that the ATO’s reporting of the sample of GST and FBT data examined by the ANAO was generally reliable, indicating that users can be confident that the information provided is accurate.

However, arrangements to extract data and transform it into collated reports lack consistency in processes and practices, formalisation and supporting documentation, and, as a consequence, do not support the production of standardised reports. While the ATO is aware of these shortcomings, and is taking steps to address them through the Enterprise Reporting Strategy, they continue to present risks to the integrity of the ATO’s reporting processes.

The ANAO made three recommendations to strengthen the management and reporting of ATO information. The recommendations complement the initiatives being implemented through the Enterprise Reporting Strategy, and are aimed at: maintaining up-to-date data in the data warehouse; documenting the development, testing, storage and quality control of data extraction queries; and measuring the achievements of the Enterprise Reporting Strategy against its long-term objectives.

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