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Changes To Privilege For Tax Advice Welcomed

14 September 2004

Changes To Privilege For Tax Advice Welcomed

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand has welcomed the news that the tax advice its members give to their clients will soon be covered by statutory privilege. The Government announced today that legislation to extend statutory privilege to tax advice provided by tax advisors such as Chartered Accountants will be introduced in November.

Institute Chief Executive Garry Muriwai said the proposed change was a positive move that was in the public interest. "The new privilege means that taxpayers will be able to seek advice from the best available specialist for their needs, knowing that the advice they receive will remain confidential," Mr Muriwai said.

"The change achieves the right balance between ensuring confidentiality for advisor-client information and ensuring that Inland Revenue has access to sufficient information to do its job of administering and enforcing the Revenue Acts. "Taxpayers can freely seek advice from Chartered Accountants knowing that the advice will not be accessed by Inland Revenue.

At the same time, Inland Revenue know that the facts of any actual transaction continue to be available to them." Mr Muriwai said that the new privilege would require legislative change and also operational changes to the way that Inland Revenue requests information. "The Institute will work closely with Inland Revenue to ensure that the privilege works in the public interest," he said.

ENDS

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