Taxpayer's panel welcomed

Phil Stevenson
Phil Stevenson
The establishment of the Taxpayer's Simplification Panel to give New Zealanders a voice in simplifying and modernising the way they pay tax has been welcomed by tax practitioners.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay said the panel would ask customers to submit their views on any aspect of tax compliance to find areas where Inland Revenue could make paying tax easier for taxpayers.

Deloitte Dunedin tax associate director Phil Stevenson told the Otago Daily Times time spent on paperwork was a ''common gripe'' for business owners and they welcomed any initiative to save them time and reduce cost.

''Inland Revenue's upcoming system upgrade gives them the opportunity to make changes that they would not be able to make under the existing system.

''This process will be successful if the general public actively makes submissions to the panel and Inland Revenue has an open mind when considering the submissions.''

The number of submissions in the Hawkes Bay campaign in a short time showed the business community was willing to put ideas forward, he said.

Inland Revenue had been willing in the past to make major changes to reduce compliance requirements where it also made sense from a fiscal perspective.

The removal of tax return filing requirements for salary and wage earners and recommending the repeal of gift duty were examples.

The process was also a good chance for Inland Revenue to gather feedback on the practical impact of changes it had made in recent years, such as the cashflow impact of aligning provisional tax and GST payment dates, Mr Stevenson said.

There were three million PAYE taxpayers in New Zealand but Mr McClay said he was keen to engage with individual taxpayers and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners about how the Government could reduce the amount of time they spent on red tape and compliance.

New Zealand had more than 450,000 SMEs which accounted for 97% of all businesses.

''It is my view small businesses are currently required to spend far too much time on tax compliance which is time better spent on running their businesses,'' he said.


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