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ATO signals ‘significant’ technology overhaul


The Tax Office will soon approach the market for three major IT contracts as it looks to embark on a multi-year digital transformation journey.

By John Buckley 10 minute read

The ATO on Tuesday announced that it will take three new managed network services (MNS) contracts to market. The contracts will include centralised computing, end-user technology and enterprise service management contracts, plus any ancillary services. 

The move is part of the ATO’s multi-year IT Strategic Sourcing Program (SSP), which includes market sounding and analysis through 2021, approaching the market in 2022, before transitioning and completing a transformation of its digital service offering by 2023. 

ATO chief information officer Ramez Katf said the Tax Office’s IT Strategic Sourcing Program centres around diversifying its IT outsourcing portfolio and offering flexible, market-aligned technology solutions. 

“Consistent with the whole-of-government agenda, our aim is to provide greater opportunities for competition, delivering better value for money for the Australian community,” Mr Katf said.

“This is a reshape of how we get these services into the organisation. The technology ecosystem continues to evolve, and our outsourcing model needs to adapt and become future-ready.”

The Tax Office is set to issue at least one request for information (RFI) as early as June this year. 

The RFIs, according to the ATO, will look to engage the market in “strategic dialogue” to determine bundle structure, scope, commercials, pricing approaches and procurement strategy, with a focus on “what the IT ecosystem will look like from 2023”.

The three new contracts emerge off the back of the various MNS contracts signed by the ATO last year, which included a five-part deal with Optus worth $233 million, one with IBM worth $107 million, and another with Leidos Australia, with which the ATO signed a 33-month contract worth nearly $98 million. 

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in March revealed that the ATO is currently engaged in 12 IT contracts, each worth more than $10 million. 

The latest to go to tender was for a new centralised business mailbox — a service funded by the ATO’s $420 million Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program — that will provide Australian businesses with a secure vehicle for correspondence with all government agencies by April 2022.

“This service will provide a single business mailbox per registered business entity that will enable individuals to easily access and action mail delivered to their business mailbox,” the ATO said on issuing the tender in April. 

“The service will manage an inbox user’s preferences, roles, permissions and their relationships with a business and their transactions to enable the community of business users to be informed and up to date with their obligations and entitlements.”

The ATO expects 5.5 million mailboxes to be established by the time of launch next April, with up to 11 million users utilising the new inbox.

The MBR program most recently provided impetus for a testing phase of the director ID regime, set to conclude on 31 October, after the commissioner was appointed as the Commonwealth Registrar of the new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).

The ABRS, once fully established, will bring together ASIC’s 31 business registers and the Australian Business Register onto a new modern system at the ATO, with the director ID regime its first order of business.

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John Buckley

John Buckley


John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily. 

Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.

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