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Australia Explains Early Intervention Program

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has explained how its Early Intervention Strategy helps it to identify tax agents at risk of non-compliance.

The ATO has been provided with funding under the Government's Black Economy program to help it better understand what drives the behavior of tax agents. This in turn is intended to help the ATO tailor its strategies for agents.

The ATO said that it uses data and analytics to identify tax agents "at risk" – agents who show partial compliance in certain areas or have let their internal quality controls slip, or who have never had quality controls in place. Such agents may also lack capability in one or more areas or display "opportunistic" behaviors.

The ATO said that it then develops a tailored approach for engaging with agents identified as part of this process. This will include a face-to-face visit to the agent, to discuss the data held by the ATO and its concerns.

The ATO may advise of educational and support products to assist agents. It may also ask agents to review their practices and give them the opportunity to correct information where there are identified issues.

The ATO will monitor the future performance of the agent. It said that it expects that a majority of the agents it works with through this program will make improvements. However, if it detects a reluctance to engage or a deterioration of behavior, the ATO may "escalate" its approach.