Budget 2019-20: ATO to migrate data centres, boost analytics capabilities

Government funds second pass business case for ATO DC migration

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is gearing up to migrate to a new data centre, with the federal budgeting earmarking $70 million over two years from 2018-19 for preparatory work.

The funding will be used to “prepare a second pass business case that will identify the full cost of activities required to complete the data centre migration project,” budget documents state.

In addition, the government said it would provide $6.9 million over four years from 2019-20 to “support additional analytical capabilities within the Treasury and other agencies” with the costs of the measure to be partially met from within the existing resources of departments. In addition to the ATO the cross-portfolio measure covers includes the Department of Home Affairs, ASIO, the Treasury, and the Department of Defence.

The technology capabilities of the ATO have come under scrutiny in recent years following a series of major outages of key systems at the agency in late 2016 and early 2017.

The outages were traced back to a SAN managed by DXC in a Sydney data centre operated by the vendor. In the aftermath of the events the ATO said it had imposed penalties on DXC. In late 2017 the agency extended its centralised computing contract with DXC — covering data warehousing, mainframe, storage, data centre facilities, private cloud and public cloud — until 30 June 2019.

Late last year the ATO chief information officer, Ramez Katf, revealed the organisation was undertaking a major revamp of how it purchased IT. The CIO said that the ATO planned to split IT contracts into “smaller, more specifically targeted bundles.”

“This allows us to reach a wider market of specialist providers for each service and ensure we’re engaging the right expertise,” Katf said in December.

“We expect to gradually approach the market for each bundle over the next three years, with exact timelines to be determined by a number of factors, including business priorities and the expiry of existing contracts,” the CIO said.

E-invoicing

Budget documents reveal that the Department of Human Services will receive $1 million 2018-19 “to facilitate the implementation and adoption of e-invoicing in Australia”. As part of the measure the ATO will receive $1.3 million in 2019-20 to “establish a local Pan-European Public Procurement On-line (PEPPOL) authority”. The PEPPOL e-invoicing framework is used across 32 countries, according to the government, with Australia expected to finalise PEPPOL membership by mid-year.

The measure is funded by the redirection of $2.3 million originally earmarked for the ATO in the 2018-19 MYEFO to help develop e-invoicing in Australia.

In February Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his NZ counterpart Jacinda Ardern announced the launch of the Australia New Zealand Electronic Invoicing Board (ANZEIB), with e-invoicing estimated to help save businesses $30 billion in transaction costs over the course of a decade.

Super rollover, STP

The government said it will provide $19.3 million over three years from 2020-21 to the ATO “to send electronic requests to superannuation funds for the release of money required under a number of superannuation arrangements.”

The change will take effect at the end of March and be implemented through “expanding the electronic SuperStream Rollover Standard used for the transfer of information and money between employers, superannuation funds and the ATO,” budget documents states.

The government said it would also provide $82.4 million over four years from 2019-20 to the ATO and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support the expansion of the data collected through Single Touch Payroll (STP) by the ATO and the use of that data by federal agencies.

“STP data will be expanded to include more information about gross pay amounts and other details,” budget documents state.

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Tags governmentAustralian Taxation Office (ATO)Budget 2019-20

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