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IRD will be too little, too late

9 February 2005

IRD will be too little, too late

Labour's claims that families have 'nothing to worry about' when calculating their annual income for the purposes of Working For Families grants are rubbish, says National's Finance spokesman, John Key.

"Michael Cullen claims they have 'anticipated this risk and provided against it'.

"If that's the case, perhaps he might like to tell us just how much IRD has spent on software and extra staff so they are ready to contact the 250,000 families who risk incorrectly calculating their income," Mr Key says.

"Is the Finance Minister telling families they will be indemnified for overpayments if IRD fails to adequately notify them?

"And can he confirm IRD intends to charge penalties to the thousands of low-income New Zealanders who have no chance of calculating their income correctly and end up to their eyeballs in debt?

"How can IRD protect a family that receives a one-off unanticipated Christmas bonus?

"How can IRD know that a low-income self-employed worker is going to get one more lucrative job in the last few months of the financial year?

"The truth is that Working for Families is a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode in Kiwi families' faces, " Mr Key says.

"The Australian experience proved just how hard it is when only 4% of families correctly calculated their income, and just how wrong it can go when, within two years, 1.3 million families ending up owing the taxman $1 billion."

ENDS

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