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Dunne calms Key's fears

Dunne calms Key's fears

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne certain IRD up to the job on Working for Families

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Revenue Minister Peter Dunne today moved to settle National finance spokesman John Key's fears that the Inland Revenue Department would be unable to handle the pressure of implementing the changes to the Working for Families package from April 1 next year.

"I expect Mr Key is unfamiliar with the processes that affect the average working Kiwi family, but I can assure him that IRD has all the mechanisms in place to ensure that ordinary New Zealand families will know if they are eligible and, if so, what their entitlements are," said Mr Dunne.

He said Inland Revenue will contact more than 70,000 of its current family assistance recipients over the next month to make sure their details are updated for the introduction of the In Work payment on April 1, 2006.

"This means those people will only need to contact Inland Revenue if their personal circumstances change, reducing the number of phone contacts."

He said a wide range of contacts is available for those who want to apply for the Working for Families package or who want to test their eligibility.

"They can use the calculator on the Working for Families website
www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz or a touch-tone option on Inland Revenue's freephone INFOexpress service to work out their eligibility.

"Family assistance application packs can also be:

-downloaded from Inland Revenue's website (www.ird.govt.nz)
-ordered through the automated phone services INFOexpress or Speak2IR
-requested from Inland Revenue offices
-obtained from advisory staff in the community
-requested through the Working for Families
freephone 0800 774 004.

Mr Dunne said Mr Key was quite rightly concerned that New Zealand families might inadvertently fall into debt through bad administration of the system, as has happened in Australia.

"I can assure New Zealand families and Mr Key that IRD has several mechanisms in place to avoid this happening.

"Inland Revenue tracks customers' incomes at periods throughout the year and proactively contacts customers if their circumstances seem to be changing in a way that will affect their entitlements.

"A new accumulative adjustment process has also been introduced to form part of the family assistance calculation.

"A family's annual entitlement is calculated, payments to date are deducted and the remaining entitlement paid out over the rest of the year.

"I thank Mr Key for his genuine concern over the proper working of the Working for Families package and look forward to his continuing assistance over the next three years," said Mr Dunne.

ENDS

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