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Tax nudge helps myGov crack 5 million users

In what is perhaps a testament to the power of nudge theory, myGov has cracked 5 million users since it became a necessity in order to lodge a tax return this year.

As pointed out by the Human Services minister Marise Payne, who announced the milestone this week, myGov users now amount to almost one in three adult Australians. Senator Payne said:

“MyGov has experienced a remarkable rise in traffic since the addition of the Australian Tax Office on 1 July with more than 2 million new accounts created since the start of the new financial year.

“There’s no question that the introduction of the ability to lodge a simple tax return through myGov has been responsible for a huge surge in the number of registrations this year.”

Coinciding with the start of the new financial year, over 280,000 new myGov accounts popped up in the first week of July — 130,000 of those on the first of the month alone, a Department of Human Services spokesperson told The Mandarin in early July.

At the time, DHS said that since myGov was launched in May 2013, an average of 6,520 new accounts had been created every day. Payne said this week the daily average for July was almost 40,000, adding up to over 1.2 million people in a month.

As well as tax returns, myGov can link to existing online accounts for Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Personally Controlled e-Health Record System. Australia Post’s myPost digital mail service joined myGov in August.

“My department will continue to encourage and engage with other government service providers – including state and territory governments – who may be interested in offering their online options through myGov,” the minister said.

The number of individual services available from Centrelink and Medicare through the single-login portal are being progressively broadened, according to Payne.

Currently, 25 Medicare items, including most GP services, can be claimed online. Other items cannot because they are more complex to process.

The department told The Mandarin in July that further consideration would be given to the range of Medicare claims that can be made online after it completes an assessment of all claiming channels next year. But rather than going through myGov, it advised that:

“Claiming at the point of care — for example, at a doctor’s practice — remains the best option for customers to claim their Medicare benefits with over 85% of GP services claimed through this channel. This channel allows patients to claim a much wider range of items and to have multiple Medicare benefits paid directly into their nominated bank account in a single transaction.”

Author Bio

Stephen Easton

Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.