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Inland Revenue service rated highly by chartered accountants

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Chartered accountants working in public practice and corporates are generally happy with the service provided by Inland Revenue (IR). The findings of the annual Inland Revenue satisfaction survey conducted by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Tax Management New Zealand show that Chartered Accountants ANZ members are more satisfied with the overall level of service provided by IR than they have been in previous years.

The survey asked Chartered Accountants ANZ members to rate different aspects of the service provided by Inland Revenue.

New Zealand Tax Leader Peter Vial CA said that "IR’s telephone and return processing services were rated well - with significant improvement noted across both areas".

"The improvements are welcome and not surprising, with IR likely to be reaping the benefits of the increased uptake of digital services generally."

"While overall satisfaction with IR service has increased, survey participants still identified areas where they would like to see further improvement, including in the consistency of information provided by IR call centre staff and in the ease of finding the right person to talk to about a technical issue,"

"IR has largely addressed the processing challenge that has been of concern to our members in the past, which is great to see. The challenge that IR now has to address is the quality and consistency of the advice and information its staff provide to taxpayers. Tax is complex and technology cannot provide answers to every question - easy access to well trained, experienced IR staff will still be required," Mr Vial said.

This year’s survey asked chartered accountants about Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation programme that will modernise tax administration.

Survey participants were asked about their degree of comfort in providing IR with real time financial information and having taxpayers’ accounting systems talking directly to Inland Revenue’s system - both possible outcomes of the Business Transformation programme.

Chartered accountants, particularly those in public practice, have some legitimate business concerns about providing real time information to IR. The majority of chartered accountants working in both public practice and in corporates are not that comfortable with their financial systems or their clients’ financial systems talking directly to Inland Revenue’s system.

"With 60 % of members surveyed concerned or nervous about their or their clients’ systems talking directly to IR’s system, the Government will not be surprised that this issue is likely to be one of the most robustly debated aspects of the Business Transformation programme,"

"The Government’s release last week of two discussion documents - ‘Better Administration of PAYE and GST’ and ‘Towards a new Tax Administration Act’ -and the opportunity to provide views on the proposals in the documents - will allow us to reinforce the survey’s messages, as the new tax administration system starts to take shape," Mr Vial said.

This year’s survey also asked Chartered Accountants ANZ members what they and their clients would think about paying provisional tax six times a year (rather than the current three times a year). Chris Cunniffe, CEO of Tax Management New Zealand, says chartered accountants are only interested in paying provisional tax more frequently if there is a significant benefit in doing so.

"Over 60% of chartered accountants are comfortable with paying provisional tax six times a year provided there is no exposure to interest and penalties as a trade-off for the increased payment frequency. Without such a trade-off only 17% were keen on the idea of paying tax more frequently." According to Mr Cunniffe, the willingness to pay tax more frequently clearly comes with an expectation of a quid pro quo such as the removal of exposure to interest and penalties.

Chartered Accountants ANZ has shared the survey results with Inland Revenue as part of its regular engagement with Inland Revenue on ways IR can enhance its service delivery.

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