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Tax info-sharing may help fight crime

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue
Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice
Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Police

9 April 2013 Media Statement
Tax info-sharing may help fight crime

The Government is seeking public feedback on proposals for Inland Revenue to share some information with other government agencies to help fight serious crime, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne, Justice Minister Judith Collins and Police Minister Anne Tolley announced today.

Inland Revenue holds certain information, such as income or tax history, or business connections, that could help other government agencies investigating serious crimes punishable by four or more years’ imprisonment, and ranging from violent crime to wildlife smuggling, to investor fraud or immigration scams.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says valuing and protecting tax secrecy remain top priorities.

“However, we also want common sense outcomes that will benefit society in areas where there is a general consensus that information sharing would be useful.

“We are seeking public feedback on the proposal through an online consultation as well as the standard consultation processes, to allow the fullest possible public participation.

“People can have their say online with five scenarios showing how Inland Revenue might share information related to serious crime. People can agree or disagree with each scenario, and post their views or reply to others’ comments,” Mr Dunne says.
“It’s important for the Government to get the public’s views on sharing individual’s tax information between government agencies.

“We want to know what concerns people may have, and the safeguards people might want in place before any changes are made.

“Protecting people’s rights to privacy and confidentiality are critical,” Ms Collins says.

Police Minister Anne Tolley says the proposals will put Police in a better position to fight serious crime.

“The Government is looking for a balanced approach that protects a taxpayer’s right to privacy, but at the same time making sure offenders are held to account when evidence of serious wrongdoing is held by Inland Revenue.

The proposals make it clear that information can only be shared with other government agencies when probable serious crime is likely to be uncovered.

She says the Government is looking for a balanced outcome.

A detailed discussion document is also available online at www.taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz

If people prefer, they can make a formal written submission.

The online forum is at http://targetingseriouscrime.ird.govt.nz with the consultation open until 21 May.

Ends

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