Updating Results

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Jessica Tran

8.30 AM

I arrive at the office and swipe my building pass to access my floor (as a security measure, we must wear building passes at all times). I then head to my desk with my team, where I’m greeted with happy smiles and the latest news from my team members. 

8.45 AM

I check my emails and calendar to see whether any urgent matters have come up and prioritised my tasks for the day. The program has two substantive rotations, and your work will depend upon your rotation’s priorities. Below is a comparison of the work from my 1st and 2nd rotations.

Rotation 1: Prosecutions

  • Prosecute for non-lodgment of tax returns
  • Run my own cases - collate evidence, draft legal documents
  • Prepare evidence briefs 

Rotation 2: Policy & New Measures

  • Project manage implementing a new policy 
  • Legal Research on the area of the new policy
  • Development of a project management plan 

10.45 AM

We have our weekly graduate training on tax law, accounting skills, project/case management, drafting tax rulings and soft skills. 

12.30 PM

Lunchtime. I’ll typically spend lunch in one of the ‘breakout rooms’ socialising with current and past graduates. Our building is wonderful. It’s near a lot of restaurants/cafes and the graduate group often goes out together once a week for lunch.

1.30 PM

There will usually be a meeting, for example:

ATO Graduate Debate – I meet with my debate team members over teleconference to prepare for our ATO-wide debate event in Canberra.
Graduate Consultative Panel – I meet with other panel members over phone to discuss initiatives aimed at improving communication with future graduates.
TITAN group – I volunteer in the ATO’s technology assistance group (TITAN), where we help other staff with IT issues and build technology capabilities throughout the office.
Shark Tank pitch – I meet with my mentor, supporting team members and senior executive sponsor to implement a ‘Shark Tank’ idea we pitched to a  panel of senior executives aimed at improving correspondence procedures with clients.

2.30 PM

Afternoon rotation work.

Rotation 1: Prosecutions

  • Prepare for attendance at Magistrates Court
  • File and draft Court documents

Rotation 2: Policy & New Measures

  • Review changes required to tax returns, publications for the new legislation
  • Deploying a new procedure for client reports and train other staff

4.51 PM

Home time. A full day at the ATO consists of 7.21 hours of work time with an hour for lunch. A valuable consideration about working at the ATO is that you do not need to bring your work home with you. A healthy work/life balance is very achievable, and any time that you work above the 7.21 hours can be saved to earn a day off down the track. 

Once a fortnight, our office holds a Happy Hour after work with free food and heavily discounted drinks. I’ve been involved in marketing some of these events, including designing posters that are  placed around the office. 

That concludes my day as a graduate at the ATO.

The work and opportunities given to me during the program have wonderfully complemented my career path and have built the foundations for a truly rewarding career at the Australian Taxation Office.

  • Social and creative: Happy hour
  • Advocacy: Appearing at Court
  • Law degree: Building my tax law knowledge
  • Work experience: Legal research
  • Milestone: Many to achieve in the program
  • 2017 ATO graduate program: Best career decision