Date posted: 20/08/2019 5 min read

NZ tax transformation: A change that’s worth the pain

IR’s ‘solutions for tax agents’ website is helping iron out the wrinkles as New Zealand’s new tax system is bedded down.

In Brief

  • Release three of New Zealand IR’s Business Transformation Program was rolled out in April 2019. Two smaller roll-outs are still to come.
  • Release three involved the largest raft of changes to NZ’s tax procedures to date, and not all feedback was positive.
  • IR is working through the issues that have been raised, and in June 2019 set up its ‘solutions for tax intermediaries’ website to better communicate with tax agents.

New Zealand’s new tax system, now in the third stage of its roll-out, has meant a great deal of change to manage both for tax agents and the people at Inland Revenue (IR).

Were there things we at IR could have done better? Absolutely. The number of new processes we placed in front of tax agents was immense and the way some information is displayed is now quite different.

In retrospect, we probably could have done more to soften the transition to the new system and make it easier for users to find answers to their questions through our website.

But your feedback has been crucial in helping us iron out the inevitable ‘wrinkles’ when change happens on this scale. And we thank you for your useful input and your patience.

Our people have worked hard to be as responsive as possible in making enhancements or adjustments as required. We’ve also tried to show how these new tasks can be completed in a way that makes the new system work best for you.

However, it would be foolish to think that there will not be more things that need working on.

“It would be foolish to think that there will not be more things that need working on.”
Sharon Thompson

A website for NZ tax agents

In June 2019, we set up our ‘solutions for tax intermediaries’ website. We did this to be as transparent as possible about what we’re doing to address the areas you wanted us to focus on straight away.

Our new system gives us the opportunity to make technical changes quickly. When you scan through the solutions website, you can see some of the changes we’ve already put through since the new system went live and find out more about any new processes.

You will see on the site that there hasn’t been anything fundamentally wrong with the system that’s needed a big fix, but I fully recognise it’s those niggly things that can be the most annoying. We will make sure they are all addressed.

Thousands of logins each day

As if transferring almost 20 million income tax records from our ageing and tired infrastructure to a modern one wasn’t enough, we then went straight into an eight-week process of sending New Zealanders their first-ever automatically calculated income tax assessment.

About 2.5 million New Zealanders found out from us whether they had a tax refund, a bill to pay or neither. Any taxpayer due a refund had that money deposited straight into their bank account within two days.

Our new online services portal, myIR, has far exceeded our expectations. The number of logins we’ve seen this year would have seen the old system grind to a halt, but the upgraded version regularly handles hundreds of thousands of logins a day in its stride.

The biggest tax reform rollout yet

Overall, IR rates this roll-out a success and the feedback we’ve received from our tax agent community, both before and since the new system went live, has played a huge part in making it so.

We are now through the biggest part of the transformation. Release three was the largest yet and nothing in our remaining two stages will match it for scale.

Work on release four is well underway and IR will continue to apply the lessons from previous releases.

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