In 2016-17, the SRO focussed much of its energy on improving the customer experience on a number of fronts.
We encouraged the take-up of BPay View to make payment of taxes easier, we reviewed and improved the land tax assessment notice to make it easier to read, we converted many old paper forms to SmartForms and we allocated extensive resources to improving turnaround times for the processing of objections, private rulings and legal matters.
The land tax cycle was the biggest we have ever had as there were 380,000 assessments issued with a significant number of phone calls and amendments associated with those assessments. A strong and active property market also meant that about 40,000 new land tax payers entered the system due to the purchase of properties or increases in the values of already owned properties. There was a huge amount of planning that went into this cycle and I am pleased to say that most KPIs were met even at the peak of our workload.
Customer satisfaction with our call centre remains at a terrific 96 per cent and we are committed to keeping it up there by providing the best service we can. We also strive to inform and educate customers through a strong focus on webinars, our website, seminars and lots of customer videos which explain the intricacies of the tax system.
During the year we also started implementing the Transforming the SRO set of projects, which will ensure that Victorians get the best possible service from the SRO into the future. These projects include more flexible instalments for land tax; a single purchaser/vendor smart form which will save a huge amount of time for those involved in the conveyancing industry; working to get transactions onto MyGov as the preferred portal for government transactions; and more emphasis on taxpayers being able to keep control of their own tax affairs. In doing this work, we will be using co-design principles to ensure customer input at every step of the way.
It is reassuring to know that the staff of the SRO are well trained and committed to providing a high standard of service to Victorians and others who deal with us. We have strong governance of our activities through internal audits run by Ernst and Young, external audits from the Victorian Auditor-General and ISO quality audits conducted by Lloyds.
I am grateful for the support and commitment of our staff, our leadership team, the Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance and his staff as well as our Audit Committee and all the other committees and interactions we have with outside bodies. All of these, plus more, have contributed to the excellent results achieved during 2016-17.
CEO and Commissioner of State Revenue Victoria