The Australian Taxation office has an Environmental Policy which can be found at 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.


  1. Being a former ATO employee I can honestly say that there is a vast difference between Policy and conduct. The ATO in general is an organisation filled with sychophants and managed through cronyism where mates are looked after and placed into senior positions to help benefit their increasing super funds. Policies such as the Environmental Policy are a joke, and would have only been generated as a result of one of the many interstate meetings senior managers travel (business class) to attend to discuss the location of their next interstate meeting. I can almost guarantee that this Policy would have been a task given to a senior manager who was under performing, as a task to justify his $120k salary for another year. The paper still get printed at extortionate rates and no one in the ATO is made aware of policies such as this, other than receiving an e-mail or a self indulgent pat ourselves on the back style column in the weekly electronic news letter, which very few staff read. In summary, the Policy is about as effective as a silverplated ashtray on a motorbike, useless, but looks good.

    1. In the last 12 months since the implementation of the new software, I would love to say that the amount of paper passing through my office from the ATO has doubled, sadly this is not the case. In my opinion I would say it has grown by a factor of 4. The ATO being a “good environmental citizen”, I am not seeing it through my dealings with them.

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