Teachers fret over Novopay tax turmoil

Dunedin teachers are facing a confusing end to the financial year because of pay errors caused by Novopay.

A teacher at Maori Hill School, in Dunedin, Andy Pearce, said he repaid two overpayment sums totalling more than $1200 last December, immediately after receiving a request from Novopay.

But Novopay had failed to subtract the relevant amounts from his year-to-date (YTD) gross pay, and he believed it had not been subtracted from his YTD PAYE and YTD KiwiSaver.

Unless Novopay corrected the amounts, he said his end-of-year payslip information would be wrong, as would the entries on his tax return.

''Novopay have been less than helpful - no response at all, except for an automated reply with a job number.

''They have now had over two months to sort this and I have been trying to get a response since February 4.

''Novopay seems to be just as inept now as it ever was,'' he said.

''After being not paid on many occasions, overpaid and generally ignored when trying to get a response from almost day one, I am truly fed up.

''I pay them back quickly and, in return, I get stuffed about.''

Ministry of Education payroll services deputy secretary Cathy Magiannis said significant improvements had been made to Novopay in the past year and staff were working through the remaining issues as quickly as possible.

These included making changes to the service centre model, simplifying the pay system, recovering overpayments, and updating the year-to-date balances.

''A dedicated year-to-date tax project has been set up to ensure that people's year-to-date adjustments from past overpayments will be corrected and updated before Inland Revenue issues their personal tax summaries for the 2013-14 tax year.''

Mr Pearce said he was sceptical of the ministry's promise.

Another Dunedin teacher, who declined to be named, said he, too, was ''totally frustrated'' with Novopay.

He received a letter last week saying he had been overpaid, but he was concerned there was no evidence provided to back up the assertion.

''In theory, I should have been able to spot this overpayment on my payslip.

''My payslips illustrate perfectly the problem we are having in comprehending our pay.''

The previous Datacom payslips were easy to comprehend, so it could be done, he said.

''I cannot contact Novopay myself. Instead, I must work through the school's office manager, a complicated and inefficient way of dealing with issues because everything becomes second-hand, for Novopay and for me.

''I have no faith in Novopay, and no trust that I will be paid correctly from one week to the next,'' he said.

Ms Magiannis said much work had been done to address overpayments.

Letters had been sent out since last September to those who had received an overpayment, explaining the basis of the overpayment, how it happened and how much it was, she said.

''The letter also encourages people to contact the Novopay debt management unit if they disagree with the information.

''The phone number and email address to do this are also on the letter.

''We encourage anyone who has concerns about the information in their letter to contact the debt management unit,'' she said

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz


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