CAB submissions on proposed changes to the tax system 

Citizens Advice Bureau New Zealand recently submitted on two consultations by Inland Revenue – one on simplifying tax through digital services and the other on tax administration. We are pleased to see Inland Revenue consulting on these important proposals.

In our feedback on the discussion paper on improved digital services, we acknowledged that well-designed, client-centred digital services will make things simpler and more efficient for many of us - but drew attention to the fact that, for a minority, "better digital services" won’t necessarily deliver better services.

This is because of the struggle that some people have to access digital services - either through lack of confidence or lack of connection to the internet and digital technology. It’s also because ‘better services’ sometimes boils down to a commitment to responsiveness and customer service i.e. the human element.

We recommend that Inland Revenue focus on ensuring that the transition to digital services leaves nobody behind.  

In our feedback on the discussion paper on tax administration, we highlighted some areas where complexity, lack of transparency and lack of timeliness in the tax administration system can cause difficulties for people.

For example, employers not complying with obligations to make deductions; confusion about tax codes and about tax status (for example whether someone is a contractor or employee); issues with student loan debt and the behaviour of some tax refund companies.

We also emphasised the importance of designing a tax system that makes it easy to put things right when they go wrong. We see this as especially necessary where Inland Revenue services are devolved to third parties and where information is being shared across government agencies.

Read our submissions on Making Tax Simpler: Better Digital Services and Making Tax Simpler: A Government Green Paper on Tax Administration.