The ATO Environmental Policy – Are they taking it seriously?

The Australian Taxation office has an Environmental Policy which can be found at www.ato.gov.au a short extract is as follows.

“To acknowledge the impact the ATO has on the environment and outline the ATO’s commitment to being a good environmental citizen by reducing its environmental footprint.”

Recently, in January 2010, the Australian Taxation Office substantially upgraded their software system, this has resulted in major changes on how the ATO reports to the individual taxpayer in regards to their yearly Notice of Assessment (Tax return).

The average Notice of Assessment has now gone from 1 sheet of paper to 2 sheets of paper, and if the taxpayer has an outstanding debt, or is in business, then the number of sheets of paper will increase even further as they will receive a statement of account. One may ask themselves, what is the extra information about the taxpayer that is included on the extra paperwork, well nothing, fundamentally it is the same information just formatted across more paperwork.

So you may be asking, what is another sheet of paper? Try over 12 million sheets of paper as there are 12 million taxpayers in Australia, which equates to, on the minimum, 24,000 reams of paper, 1440 trees and 130 tons of green house gases.

In today’s climate of being more aware of our usage, and our waste, why is the Australian Taxation Office not only doing the contrary to public sentiment but to their own Environmental Policy.