ATO Community is a peer-to-peer online forum that allows members to talk about tax and super in a moderated environment 24/7. Launched in May 2017, it is one of the first government-hosted community forums in the world.
We looked for new ways to improve the community’s experience with us. Our social media channels were growing and more and more people were asking questions online. So we talked to our community and listened. They wanted: • tax and super information in simple language • the ability to ask questions online anonymously • real-life examples, and • to be empowered to self-serve. They also wanted to receive tax and super information in a moderated and trusted environment.
Based on this research we designed an online solution that would be: • trustworthy • anonymous • easy to use • simple to understand, and • welcoming. From this design we built a peer-to-peer online forum by: • co-designing with the community • identifying pain points • testing prototypes • continuing to iterate, and • being responsive to feedback to meet our users’ needs.
In May 2017 ATO Community was launched becoming one the first government forums in the world. To date, ATO Community as appeared in over 1.5 million search results, with 80% of users responding positively to their experience. Our platform has already attracted over 2,000 members who participate regularly and it has empowered them to be advocates for the tax and super system. ATO Community is young and growing rapidly, yet we know that our community likes the platform, can easily find answers and don’t need to call us anymore.
ATO Community is meeting expectations and providing value to the ATO by: • using simple language to talk about tax and super • creating a repository of real-life examples • increasing traffic from search engines to trusted ATO content • creating an engaged network of tax and super experts, advocates and enthusiast, and • deflecting calls to the ATO We have crowd-sourced conversations which have gained over 35,000 views in a couple of months – with no promotion! The platform has provided a valuable insight into our community’s views and perceptions which lead to: • improved content on ato.gov.au • targeted communication activities • identified gaps in public advice and guidance, and • shaped ATO views on emerging issues. Our community thinks our platform is pretty great as well: • “I like it, it’s simple to use.” • “Easy, useful and user friendly” • “Great service. Very easy. A very friendly and informed community.” • “Great idea. Well done. I applaud the openness and exchange the forum creates.” • “I think this is a really great idea. It’s fantastic that it’s moderated by the ATO as well. It really opens up the lines of communication and discussion - well done!”