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Dear Commissioner

Statement of Expectations for the State Revenue Office

I am pleased to provide you with this Statement of Expectations (SOE) for the State Revenue Office (SRO). This SOE applies for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, or until otherwise amended. It replaces the previous SOE that was in place for 2016-17.

Improving the administration and enforcement of regulation

This SOE sets out my expectations of the SRO’s contribution to the Government’s Regulation Reform Program to reduce red tape and improve regulatory practices.

This SOE outlines key governance and performance objectives and targets aimed at promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and enforcement of regulation and thus reducing its cost impact on businesses, not-for-profit organisations, government service providers and households.

As the Treasurer, I am responsible for administering the Duties Act 2000, Land Tax Act 2005, Payroll Tax Act 2007, Congestion Levy Act 2005, First Home Owner Grant Act 2000, Taxation Administration Act 1997, Back to Work Act 2015, Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution, Metropolitan Planning Levy, and several other grants and subsidies that affect businesses and the broader Victorian community. This SOE should be read within the context of the objectives, obligations and functions outlined in these Acts.

Improvements and targets

Based on consultation between the Department of Treasury and Finance and the SRO, I have identified key areas of governance and operational performance where there are opportunities for the SRO to make improvements that would reduce cost impacts on business. The SRO is expected to identify activities it will undertake to achieve the following performance improvements and targets by 30 June 2018:

  1. Establish the capacity for SRO customers to receive their Land Tax Assessments on the MyGov online platform.
  2. Replace at least 30 existing paper forms with online SmartForms that are simpler to navigate and improve the taxpayer’s experience with SRO.
  3. Achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 80 per cent or greater for the new Digital Duties Form.
  4. Improve public awareness and understanding of taxation administration and up-front compliance.

In developing actions to achieve these improvements and targets, the SRO is expected to consult with business and the broader community as appropriate.

Reporting

Reporting on your progress to achieve these SOE performance targets should be undertaken in the context of annual financial reporting to avoid dual reporting streams. As part of annual reporting, regulators are expected to report on:

  • baseline levels for performance targets set in this SOE; and
  • activities undertaken to reach the performance targets and improvements set out in this SOE.

I also expect that these SOE performance targets will be incorporated into the SRO’s Corporate Plan, and this SOE should be published on the SRO’s website upon receipt. Your response to this letter should also be published on the SRO’s website.

I look forward to seeing the SRO continuously working towards achieving best practice in the administration and enforcement of regulation.

Yours sincerely

Tim Pallas MP
Treasurer
30 June 2017

Statement of Expectations for the State Revenue Office - Action Plan

The Honourable Tim Pallas MP has set out his Statement of Expectations (SOE) for the State Revenue Office (SRO) with respect to improving our administrative practices as part of the red tape reduction program.

The SRO administers Victoria's taxation legislation and collects a range of taxes, duties and levies. In 2016-17, we collected in excess of $17.2 billion in revenue for the Victorian Government.

It is our mission to provide customers with quality revenue management services that are fair, efficient and deliver benefits for all Victorians. The SRO is also committed to continually improving the administration and enforcement of the taxation legislation, thereby reducing its cost impact on business and the community. The SOE performance targets are consistent with our mission and commitment to all Victorians.

As part of the SRO’s focus on constantly improving customer experience, there has been an emphasis on finding new and innovative ways to deliver services, with particular attention on digital service delivery.

The SRO is dedicated to achieving the targets set out in the SOE in the following manner:

Establish the capacity for SRO customers to receive their land tax assessments on the myGov online platform

The SRO sends out approximately 350,000 land tax assessments each year. As we modernise the administration of land tax, we have been looking for ways to send assessments digitally rather than in paper form.

MyGov is a portal for Federal Government interactions which is already used by a large number of Australians to securely receive Federal Government correspondence.

We have engaged the federal bodies responsible for the myGov platform. By 30 June 2018, the intent is to integrate with this platform, so that the SRO will be included in the list of Government agencies that a myGov customer can link to.  

By 30 June 2018, we will have completed the integration work necessary so that SRO individual customers will be able to receive their annual land tax assessment electronically and securely, through their myGov inbox. They will also be able to update their SRO land tax contact details through the myGov platform.

In addition, we will ensure that any existing and future online land tax services requiring authentication for access will be accessible with a customer’s myGov credentials, eliminating the need to remember separate passwords.

It is expected that this newly established service will be piloted in the later part of 2018, with the aim to include it as a digital option for issuing land tax assessments in 2019.

Replace at least 30 existing paper forms with online SmartForms that are simpler to navigate and improve the taxpayer’s experience with SRO

Most processes start with the submission of a paper form. Paper forms increase red tape for taxpayers, and are costly to administer. The SRO is shifting its paper-based forms to streamlined SmartForms to enhance process efficiencies and help customers save time.

In the coming months, we will be transitioning fillable and non-fillable Adobe PDF forms to digital platforms including SmartForms. Through this, we will be able to:

  • Reduce the number of incomplete and incorrect submissions through in-built validations,
  • Improve customer understanding of the forms by tailoring information to their needs,
  • Make it easier for customers to access and move through information, and
  • Improve information legibility on forms by eliminating form-filling by hand.

Upon the transition to SmartForms, customers will complete their forms on screen. Some of the forms will be lodged electronically, and the remainder will be made available in PDF format for lodgement with the SRO.

Achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 80 per cent or greater for the new digital duties form

The SRO successfully launched the new digital duties form on 19 June 2017. So far, the response has been positive. As at 17 July 2017, we have 4,545 registered users and 65 per cent of customers returning electronically signed documents to their conveyancers. To give our customers sufficient time to become familiar with the new system, we are planning to conduct a survey around the end of March 2018.

Improve public awareness and understanding of taxation administration and up-front compliance

The SRO is committed to sharing expert tax knowledge, through a wide range of educational initiatives, to help customers better understand Victorian state taxes, duties and grants. We are continually improving compliance-related assistance and advice by tailoring communication and customer education activities to meet the needs of tax professionals, businesses and the general public.

The website is our key communications channel to reach customers who increasingly prefer digital interaction.

By continually analysing customers’ most commonly asked questions, the SRO tailors information available on the website, enhances existing communication tools such as brochures and letters, and creates easy-to-understand online videos. ONDemand features a range of videos about commonly occurring state tax matters through to highly complex tax technical issues.

To further build customer education, we offer a series of interactive webinars via SROLive. The webinars increase customers’ understanding of their compliance obligations and provides them the opportunity to have questions answered in real time. We also offer presentations to professional groups that have a specific area of interest in state taxation matters.

A free information service is also available to customers via the website allowing them to register to receive updates about state taxation changes, Revenue Rulings, publications and forms issued by the SRO.

The SRO embraces the use of behavioural economics to support our customers in fulfilling their obligations. We will continue to work with the Victorian Behavioural Insights Unit, within the Department of Premier and Cabinet, to enhance customer communications.

Reporting

In the 2016-17 Annual Review, we will report on the current baseline levels for all the performance targets set in this SOE and the activities that will be undertaken to achieve these performance targets.

These activities have been incorporated in the SRO Business Plan 2017-18, and we will provide a further update in our 2017-18 Annual Review.

I look forward to continually working towards achieving best practice in the administration and enforcement of taxation administration.

Paul Broderick PSM
Commissioner of State Revenue

 

Statement of Expectations and Action Plan 2016-17

Statement of Expectations and Response 2014-16