Date posted: 06/05/2022

National Tax Liaison Group: a direct line to Inland Revenue

Members of the CA ANZ National Tax Liaison Group are talking about the forum and how it helps to resolve Inland Revenue operational issues, thereby making a difference for members.

In brief

  • The group makes a huge different to its members
  • The group provides an opportunity for a collective voice to be heard by the right people to make positive changes

Phil Barlow, Rory Noorland, Abbey Warner, and Frank Burgess, members of the CA ANZ National Tax Liaison Group (NTLG), are talking about the forum and how it helps to resolve Inland Revenue operational issues, thereby making a difference for members.

How does the NTLG make a difference for our members?

Rory Noorland: In my view, the NTLG makes a huge difference to its members. It provides an opportunity to deliver direct feedback on the issues they face daily with those at Inland Revenue who can improve the way taxation is administered. A great example of this is the recent changes to the provisional tax safe harbour rules and the GST apportionment rules, which were raised in this forum. 

The NTLG acts as a sense check to ensure that tax law is appropriate and able to be applied in the real world.

Phil Barlow: Over the years involved with NTLG, I have been impressed with how the Inland Revenue has kept an open ear on issues that we have brought to their attention on behalf of members. This forum has provided the Inland Revenue insights into issues that occur at the coal face of the accounting profession, and no doubt allowed it to include some of these in its planning. 

In recent years, the build and transition to START have been a good example of where the NTLG and Inland Revenue have effectively been able to partner up to share ideas and experiences and make sure that the implementation was successful. 

NTLG has been an instrumental forum for both members and the Inland Revenue, which ultimately has helped with the administration of our tax system.

Abbey Warner: I think the most significant benefit to members is the direct line it gives us to Inland Revenue to let them know how certain things are impacting us and what we would like to see improved. In my experience, Inland Revenue have always been willing to do whatever they can to improve things for us which has been great to see. 

I think we also benefit from understanding what issues other regions are experiencing – there has been a few times where I have been able to pre-empt issues because others have raised them in the NTLG meetings.

Frank Burgess: Practitioners face challenges on a day-to-day basis when dealing with Inland Revenue on taxes for their clients. While many of these can be dealt with at the coal face, others can be more efficiently and effectively resolved at an operational or policy level with Inland Revenue. 

The NTLG provides an opportunity for a collective voice to be heard by the right people to make positive change for the benefit of all.

How do Tax Liaison Groups help the members?

Phil Barlow: Tax liaison group members identify issues that have arisen in practice.  They document these where necessary (including confirmation of the action taken to resolve the matter with their agent account manager) so that they can be raised with the group. Often for the Inland Revenue to fully understand how or why an issue is occurring, it is necessary to provide client IRD numbers to trace the issue through their systems. Once this has happened, Inland Revenue can then look at how far-reaching the issue is and how this may be resolved, whether by changing their systems or sometimes legislatively. The range of issues identified can be very wide, for example, IRD mailouts, audit activity, impact of legislative changes. With some issues, it has been a matter of perseverance to have Inland Revenue escalate it within its workflow and actioned.

Where it is evident that the issues have broader implications or are time-sensitive, they are escalated to the NTLG meeting. In this forum Inland Revenue will involve leads from the relevant parts of their business to comment on and take ownership of issues raised. Action is then taken to address the issue. 

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