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Swain Welcomes IRD’s Online Strategy

Swain Welcomes IRD’s Online Strategy

Associate Minister of Revenue Paul Swain congratulated the IRD on the release of its e-enablement strategy and said the strategy was an excellent example of how technology can be used to make taxpayers lives easier.

“The strategy supports the government’s e-government programme and shows the IRD is really moving with the times in improving the way it interacts with taxpayers,” said Mr Swain. “The IRD’s online services will be available through the E-Government portal as well as via the IRD’s web site.

“The strategy also puts into practice the views of the Ministerial Panel on Business Compliance Costs which identified the use of electronic technology as a way of reducing compliance costs.

“Taxpayers can already do a number of things electronically such as file income tax and monthly PAYE returns, complete GST and PAYE registration forms, request an advisory visit from IRD, access a range of information and, if they are a WestpacTrust or ANZ customer, pay tax,” said Mr Swain.

“Over the next few years, many more Inland Revenue services will be available electronically,” he said. “This will give taxpayers greater flexibility, save them time and provide them with a more personalised tax service.

“As Minister for Small Business I’m delighted with the way the strategy will reduce the tax compliance burdens on small business owners.

“Inland Revenue’s expanded range of electronic services will let small business owners do their tax work at a time that suits them.”

“For example, being able to file GST returns via the internet will be especially beneficial to small business owners,” said Mr Swain. “A June 2002 GST return filing pilot, involving 250 taxpayers, will be progressively expanded to all taxpayers by January 2003. The focus will then move to electronic filing of income and fringe benefit tax returns.

“It’s important to note that the strategy simply gives taxpayers an electronic option when dealing with Inland Revenue. They will still be able to use paper-based methods if they prefer,” said Mr Swain.

Mr Swain welcomed the comments of Robert Acton, managing director of the Wellington Technology Incubator (which consists of more than 20 start-up businesses), who said it was easy to see the benefits that more electronic services would have for small business owners.

“Most small business owners, especially those in start-up mode, don’t have the time to spend hours poring over tax forms,” said Mr Swain. “These initiatives will save them time, not distract them from their core business, and reduce the risk of making mistakes.

Examples of how the IRD’s online initiatives will reduce compliance costs:

Filing and paying on line will mean that taxpayers don’t have to handle paper, keep the IRD envelope and then post the return. The interactive help built into the forms will help reduce mistakes. Taxpayers won’t have to wait for the IRD to send out forms and, because processing is faster for electronic returns, they won’t have to wait as long for a response. Filing electronically should also be faster and save time. According to a survey of 491 employers, carried out by ACNielsen for IRD, 88% of those already filing electronically, preferred to do it this way.

Getting access to more information electronically will save taxpayers time and give them more information than was previously accessible.

On-line calculator tools will make it easier and faster to calculate tax and thereby reduce the risk of getting calculations wrong and incurring penalties.

Reminder systems will help prevent tax returns being inadvertently missed.

“This a great example of the government taking concrete action to tackle business complaince costs,” said Mr Swain.

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