Date posted: 20/11/2017 6 min read

Discussing New Zealand's new tax system with Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue satisfaction survey reveals CAs want training ahead of tax system changes

In Brief

  • Highlights from tax leaders’ discussion about New Zealand’s new tax administration at Tax Conference 2017
  • Satisfaction with IR survey reveals a positive opinion of IR and identify need for training on Business Transformation
  • Seventy five percent of respondents in public practice believe their clients will be better off as a result of provisional tax changes

Chartered Accountants ANZ (CA ANZ) hosted Tax Conference in Auckland last week, focusing on the brave new world of tax administration and New Zealand’s changing role on the world stage.

Some of the industry’s most respected authorities addressed a delegation of over three hundred attendees.

Minister of Revenue Hon Stuart Nash opened the Conference with the first major speech of his tenure. He noted he would like officials to engage more with the private sector and thanked CA ANZ for all the work done in engaging with officials. Going forward, he is expecting more of it.

IR Commissioner Naomi Ferguson explained the latest changes happening within IR under Business Transformation, while Nina Olson, US Taxpayer Advocate, gave a fascinating explanation of her role in advocating for US taxpayers as part of the IRS.

Other highlights included Patrick McCalman CA, Deloitte, explaining interest limitation and providing his view on whether and how New Zealand should implement it. Scott Hes from EY’s US Tax Desk explained US tax, the US view on BEPS and what it might mean for New Zealand.

Scott Mason FCA, Crowe Horwath Australasia, explained what is happening to NZ’s provisional tax rules and Eugen Trombitas, PwC, gave an update on what has happened so far with GST, what will happen in the near future and why tax professionals need to keep abreast of the developments.

In the Conference’s closing session on day two, Robin Oliver MNZM, OliverShaw; Geof Nightingale FCA, PwC; and Greg James, IR discussed Business Transformation – how it has developed so far and what should be the role of a tax administration.

The Conference also featured the release of the annual Satisfaction with IR survey results, commissioned by CA ANZ and Tax Management NZ (TMNZ). The survey asks CA ANZ members who have dealt with IR in the last 12 months for their views on IR’s Business Transformation as well as developments to tax legislation and general services provided by IR over this period.

IR survey results reveal CAs want training during Business Transformation

While members continue to have a high opinion of IR, there is a need for thorough training on the new IR systems as they are rolled out.

Despite 96 percent of respondents identifying they are aware of the new wave of changes, the majority said their clients or organisations were not prepared for implementation – and that training is required.

CA ANZ say that training should be provided at least six months before go-live date.

While 60 per cent of members believe that filing GST returns in myIR is now working well, there is high demand for more information and training on Business Transformation, says John Cuthbertson, New Zealand Tax Leader for CA ANZ.

Survey results reveal most members believe IR staff should be trained first, followed by online user training and subsequently in-person user training.

“But the clock is ticking on Business Transformation,” says Cuthbertson, as IR prepares to roll out a series of changes to other taxes in 2018 and 2019, starting in April of next year.

“There have been frank and constructive discussions between users and IR, resulting in members’ involvement at the preliminary testing phase and adjustments to the timetable for migration of income tax.

“We expect that the learnings IR has taken from the myGST roll out will make for a smoother transition of other tax types.”

Other survey highlights

  • Seventy five percent of respondents in public practice believe their clients will be better off as a result of provisional tax changes, while 36 per cent of those in the business sector believed this would be the case.
  • Most respondents agree AIM will provide more certainty around provisional tax but only 24 percent of those in public practice say some of their clients would use AIM. TMNZ Chief Executive Chris Cunniffe says, “AIM is IR’s flagship development, but it appears that practitioners are cautious about adopting it.”
  • Phone calls with IR are a work in progress. Obtaining general information by phone remains the least positive experience for CA ANZ members with 69 percent of survey respondents rating phone calls good or better compared with 85 percent for other contact options for general information.

IR survey results

Access the full Satisfaction with IR survey results here.

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Tax Conference is the flagship event for New Zealand tax professionals. Tax Conference 2018 will be held on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 October at the Pullman Auckland Hotel.