Inland Revenue needed to look at how technology could
help taxpayers deal efficiently with the department rather than
using technology to take the cost out of the Government's
administration, Deloitte Dunedin tax partner Peter Truman said
Commenting on an announcement from Revenue Minister Todd
McClay on making it easier for people to interact with Inland
Revenue, Mr Truman said a modernisation of department systems
was ''well due''.
''It has been a long time since the skeleton of the existing
system was put in place and the world has moved on a fair bit
In a speech, Mr McClay said the transformation was the
largest in the department's history. Despite that, Dunedin
would not host one of the department meetings.
In the next few weeks, Inland Revenue would hold meetings in
Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland to explain to the tax
and IT sectors the scale and complexity of the transformation
and provide details about the proposed processes.
Mr Truman said it was disappointing Inland Revenue was
limiting the consultation meetings to Christchurch,
Wellington and Auckland.
''While we can appreciate that it is not feasible for Inland
Revenue to consult the tax community in all centres, given
the potential significance of the changes, tax professionals
in large centres such as Dunedin and Hamilton would have also
appreciated the ability to hear first-hand from Inland
Revenue details of the proposals.''
The programme incorporated changes in processes, skills and
capabilities and IT to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose tax
Inland Revenue's role had grown over the past 20 years from
administering nine tax products to managing 42 services on a
range of social policies such as KiwiSaver, student loans,
child support and Working for Families.
The department's business processes and technology systems
had adapted with the growth but they were being put under
''We now need a system that reduces compliance cost and lets
people engage with us quickly, simply and increasingly
online,'' Mr McClay said.
Mr Truman said Inland Revenue needed to provide a high level
of individual service outside of a technology solution
because tax problems were relatively fact-specific and
generalised responses were not always helpful. Sometimes, a
caller needed to talk to someone.
''Taxpayers don't all have a lot of interaction with Inland
Revenue, so familiarity with using technological solutions is
not always there.
Online banking is fine if you use it every day but not always
that useful to a person who uses it twice a year - and has
forgotten their password or can't remember which screens they
need to use.''
The tension that existed between privacy and accessing
information meant automated access to information was not
always appropriate, he said.
Given the importance of an efficient and reliable system, the
Government could not afford for a redeveloped system not to
Adequate resources needed to be devoted to the design,
implementation and testing so that when it went live, the
system was relatively glitch-free, Mr Truman said.