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Dunne: IRD will take flexible approach to quake victims

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue

Friday, 25 February 2011

Dunne: IRD will take flexible approach to quake victims

Inland Revenue will take account of the impact of this week’s huge Christchurch earthquake when dealing with the tax matters of individuals and businesses affected, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said today.

“Right now it is all about the human tragedy, saving lives and getting communities back on their feet and functional again.

“Tax will be the last thing on people’s minds if they have been affected by the earthquake, and they should not worry if they cannot meet a particular tax filing date,” Mr Dunne said.

“Tax legislation allows Inland Revenue to take a realistic and flexible approach in circumstances such as these, and the department has assured me they will take account of the circumstances of individuals and businesses.

“In particular, Inland Revenue will be able to waive penalties and interest if returns cannot be filed or payments made because of the earthquake.”

Inland Revenue will launch an advertising campaign in Christchurch this weekend to assure people and businesses that it will take a realistic approach to their plight. It has also updated its website, www.ird.govt.nz, with earthquake-related advice and information.

“We know that many businesses and families’ tax records will have been lost or destroyed. Inland Revenue will work with them to sort things out further down the track.

“Right now it is about survival and getting families back together and getting lives back together. These are the most important things,” Mr Dunne said.

He also assured people that all payments they are expecting from Inland Revenue, such as Working for Families tax credits, will be made as usual.

“We know that this is a terrible time. Inland Revenue will do everything it can to help people and businesses get back on track.”

He said people or businesses wanting to contact Inland Revenue could call its Disaster Response line on 0800 473 566 or visit its website.

Mr Dunne paid special tribute to Inland Revenue’s Christchurch staff who have not yet been able to get back to work.

“The Christchurch Inland Revenue office was evacuated immediately after the earthquake. Because the building is in the CBD shut-down zone, very close to some of the worst damage, it could be some time before it will be up and running again.

“Like all Cantabrians, Inland Revenue people worked incredibly hard to get back to work after the September earthquake. Now they are facing a huge recovery operation all over again.

“My heart goes out to them and all the people of Canterbury.”

ENDS

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