The ATO could be hiring itself out to state governments to collect taxes and charges under an idea being considered in the Tax Office's "functional and efficiency review".
The agency is also exploring ideas for collecting GST at the point-of-sale with the man chosen to lead the review a former chief-of-staff to GST architect Peter Costello.
The Tax Office is saying little publicly but a "stakeholder briefing" has been told the office's hierarchy is thinking big and looking at the review as an opportunity to expand its activities.
Possibilities canvassed include development of technology allowing reconciliation of GST at the point-of-sale, massively easing the regulatory burden on small and medium businesses particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors.
The ATO is also exploring the idea of acting as a service provider collecting revenue for other federal agencies. State governments are also in the mix, with Tax Office bosses eying opportunities to collect state-based charges like payroll tax.
As part of the 2015 budget, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann ordered all departments to carry out functional and efficiency reviews and the man chosen to lead the ATO's effort is Phil Gaetjens, former chief-of-staff to Howard government treasurer Peter Costello.
Phil Gaetjens, who finished a four-year stint in running the NSW Treasury in April and was a long-serving chief of staff to Mr Costello when he was treasurer in the Howard government.
The former public servants will be assisted by ATO deputy commissioner Sue Sinclair and assistant commissioner Debra Unsworth.
Management consultants the Nous Group will act as secretariat to the review.
Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan broke the news of Mr Gaetjens' appointment in Thursday's edition of the ATO's internal newsletter.
"The review is intended to comprehensively assess the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of our operations, programs and administration.
"The review will be taking into account considerations from the Australian Public Service Commission's Capability Review and other relevant reviews."
"The commissioner and second commissioners have met with Mr Gaetjens to discuss the review in the context of the significant progress the ATO has already made as part of the reinvention journey – cutting red tape and focusing on contemporary client services.
"The discussion also covered opportunities in a whole of government context. "