Date posted: 25/10/2018 3 min read

Fall in NZ IR satisfaction comes as taxpayer interactions set to increase

Satisfaction with NZ Inland Revenue interactions declines at key time.

Overall satisfaction with Inland Revenue interactions among Chartered Accountants has fallen 6 percent on last year and now sits at its lowest since 2011, the latest satisfaction with IR survey released today reveals.

The survey result comes as hundreds of thousands of taxpayers may want to contact IR next year when tax refunds are automatically paid through IR’s new computer system. Some taxpayers will seek more information on their refunds by phone or email – a first contact with IR for many.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) New Zealand Tax and Financial Services Leader John Cuthbertson said that this will put pressure on IR’s systems to respond in timely manner.

The annual survey, now in its eighth year, commissioned by CA ANZ and Tax Management NZ (TMNZ), asked CA ANZ members in public practice and business for their views on their interactions with IR.

The decline in overall satisfaction was due to a drop in Inland Revenue’s responsiveness, including access issues to IR’s computer system and the time taken to answer phone calls.

“The survey indicates it is important for Inland Revenue to consider opportunities to improve the performance of its communications channels in areas identified in the 2018 satisfaction survey,” Cuthbertson said.

“Issues identified by members such as accuracy and consistency of information being received will be particularly important when these taxpayers, who do not currently have a tax agent, are required to have direct contact with the tax system from the beginning of April next year.”

He said Chartered Accountants ANZ was working with IR to make sure refund automation runs smoothly.

Phone contact satisfaction falls

Chris Cunniffe, CEO of Tax Management NZ said “while satisfaction with contacting IR for general information and tax audit information has increased, satisfaction with telephone contact has declined to 58 percent, down from 72 percent in 2016.

Another major source of concern this year has been the direct contact of members’ clients by Inland Revenue. “Members have told us that Inland Revenue bypassing the tax agent is creating confusion and concern for clients. Some members feel that are being squeezed out of the system, said Cunniffe. “These comments reflect feedback received by both Chartered Accountants ANZ and TMNZ throughout the year.”

Cuthbertson said the overall message to IR from CA ANZ members was “keep it simple”.

He said that as Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation approaches its third phase next year, many members see the rapidly changing system and legislation as their biggest challenge in the next 12 months. “Only a third believe Inland Revenue is prepared to meet the challenges of the coming year.

“There is some good news. Member awareness of upcoming Business Transformation changes has increased and client readiness has also improved.

“However, less than half of members surveyed felt they had sufficient opportunities to provide feedback on the new systems.”

Read detailed survey results

Every year since 2010 CA ANZ and TMNZ have surveyed member satisfaction with Inland Revenue (IR).

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