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Letter Problem Licked

2 December 2003

Letter Problem Licked

News that farmers and other businesses can again free post their payments of GST, PAYE and fringe benefit tax is welcome news, said Charlie Pedersen, Vice-President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"The Federation has long campaigned to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) for a return to free posting payments," Mr Pedersen said.

"To its credit, IRD has finally stamped out a practice that added insult to injury when paying tax. It has correctly taken a lead from power and phone companies which as a matter of routine offer free posting of cheques," he said.

Farmers send at least 18 returns a year to IRD and were disappointed when free posting ended in 1998 after only three years. IRD's motivation in 1998 was to save $1.8 million of costs by shunting them on to business taxpayers.

"The reversal of this policy of not supplying reply-paid envelopes is likely to improve farmers' perceptions of IRD well beyond the cash value involved," Mr Pedersen said.

"Business has long been an unpaid tax collector, and while free posting is a small victory in the battle against the many compliance costs farmers face we are pleased our efforts have finally been acknowledged.

"The saving should be kept in perspective against the bevy of new taxes, levies, and other charges introduced by this Government. For example, the Federation is vigorously opposing a recent plan to tax traders $20 million to pay for heightened security at U.S. borders," Mr Pedersen said.


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