- Individual income tax and Working for Families payments will be added to New Zealand’s START (simplified tax and revenue) system from 26 April 2019.
- This follows payday filing becoming mandatory for all employers from 1 April 2019.
- Inland Revenue can now access updated wage and salary information for all individual taxpayers.
The third and biggest stage of Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation program is set to go live. From 26 April 2019, all taxes and taxpayer data will be running in the new START (simplified tax and revenue) system.
Importantly, from 1 April, payday filing becomes mandatory for all employers. This is a critical step because payday filing gives Inland Revenue continuously updated wage and salary information for all individual taxpayers.
At Inland Revenue, we are grateful for the level of support and cooperation we have received from New Zealand’s tax professionals with the transformation process up to now.
Not only have we had tax agents working within our project team, we have also received a great deal of valuable feedback and advice from tax professionals all around the country. I know not everyone has been happy about some of the changes, but the dialogue has been constructive and assisted our progress.
Subject to legislation passing in New Zealand’s parliament, the stage 3 release of our Business Transformation program will be the biggest so far, creating more change than releases 4 and 5 which are currently in the planning.
This release affects every taxpayer in New Zealand and it sees all of the major tax types, particularly individual income tax, added to the new START system, along with the Working for Families payments.
“This release affects every taxpayer in New Zealand and it sees all of the major tax types, particularly individual income tax, added to our new START system.”
Inland Revenue prepares for 1.9 million calls
As Inland Revenue’s deputy commissioner, transformation, I know tax professionals have voiced concern as to whether we’re sufficiently prepared to deal with the pressure of customer enquiries and their need for assistance when the changes are in place.
What I can say is that we’re expecting more enquiries and we’re planning and preparing to service that.
We’re gearing up to take around 1.9 million calls between March and June – a 23% increase on the same period last year.
More than 300 temporary staff were taken on some time ago and are being trained to help Inland Revenue cope with what’s coming. If necessary, we’ll also redeploy people from other areas within Inland Revenue.
Extensive marketing and communications to explain the major changes in release 3 are underway, too.
Regular operational checks on the START rollout
A series of operational checkpoints are in place to measure progress and assess how prepared Inland Revenue is for each stage of transformation. These monthly checkpoints started in August 2018 and will continue into May 2019. They cover readiness of data and processes, infrastructure, applications, policy, quality assurance, support and deployment.
We also measure how much change customers will see and continually review marketing and communications, so the right information is going to customers at the right time.
We’re doing our best to encourage people to use the online myIR services, instead of ringing to get help with the changes.
A promise of improved network performance
Last year was a big one and some customers experienced problems logging on and accessing the system. This year we expect more pressure, but last year’s access problems related solely to network issues and not core online system issues.
To prepare, we’ve had an independent review of our services, which found opportunities to fine-tune and improve performance, and to make the network more resilient – so we’re expecting a better performance this year.
Having said that, given the scale of what we’re doing it would be foolish to think there won’t be some problems and some delays. We plan on keeping them to a minimum.