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MEMBER 161 writes:

"It seems to me that the ATO is attempting to operate as a business. It has adopted all of those strategies that go to the heart of good business management: it has quite clearly determined which of its business units are profitable, and which need to be outsourced (read debt collection); it has quite clearly determined that it needs specialist assistance in anything other than core activity (read change program); it has quite clearly decided that there are no friends in business (hence its distrust of tax professionals and the taxpaying community). It is a pity that it seems to have forgotten the Commissioner's urging that the ATO needs to 'foster... confidence (and) to have a relationship with the community based on mutual trust and respect.'

It seems to me that the ATO needs some competition: only then would it realize that being in a service business is not only about the quality (or lack thereof) of business systems, it is about actually delivering quality service, and about fostering and consolidating constructive relationships.

And therein lies the rub - the ATO has no competitor - thus there is little or no consequence for its failures - no loss of custom - thus no meaningful threat."