The Australian Taxation Office’s budget will shrink by another $100 million over the next two years. Photo: Tamara VoninskiCommunications staff told to reapply for their public service jobs
Nanjing Night Net

The head of the Australian Taxation Office has conceded that he does not know if large job losses will hurt his department’s ability to collect taxes.

But the ATO is expecting an extra $100 million budget cut over the next two years, so hundreds more ATO workers can expect to lose their jobs, tax officials say.

The Taxation Office is trying to shed 900 jobs by June in a bid to lower its wages bill.

But Chris Jordan, the ATO commissioner, told Senate estimates on Friday that it was hard to know if those cuts would hurt the department’s revenue collection.

“It’s hard to put your finger upon what point the revenue might suffer, but in this first round we feel we can maintain the core function of revenue collection,” Mr Jordan said.

“[But] I can’t say there won’t be a point in time where we will be worried about that.”

It comes as Fairfax Media revealed on Friday that nearly 10 per cent of the ATO’s workforce had applied for 500 voluntary redundancy positions.

Nearly 2200 staff have applied for the 500 redundancies so far, which the department has offered to meet a $46 million budget cut this financial year.

The ATO’s bosses will now have to decide who will receive the payouts, with the remaining 400 positions expected to be lost through natural attrition.

On Friday, second commissioner of taxation Geoff Leeper said the ATO’s budget will shrink by another $100 million over the next two years.

He said that would put even more pressure on staff.

“If you look at our budget where it now stands, compared to where it was in budget 2012/13, our expenses in this financial year are down by $46 million and that’s where the 900 [jobs] announcement has come [from],” Mr Leeper said.

“There is … a further $50 million adjustment next year, and another one the year after, so clearly we are going to be challenged on our staffing levels.”

Alistair Waters, Community and Public Sector Union deputy national president, said he was “very worried” about the news of more job cuts, given the pressure staff were already under.

“It would appear from the numbers that we’re talking about at least 800 more jobs going over the next two years, and that’s before we know what might come out of the National Commission of Audit,” Mr Waters said.

“And that will increase the revenue problems that the government should be focusing on rather than addressing them.”

Mr Jordan said the ATO was focused on maintaining ‘‘core revenue collection’’ in the face of a shrinking budget.

He said some of the ATO’s service standards may have to decline as a consequence.

“These are some of the choices that we’re going to have to make,” Mr Jordan said.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.