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- proposed changes to the laws that Inland Revenue is responsible for
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Targeting serious crime: extending information sharing

Introduction

Government agencies share specified information as part of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the services they provide.

An existing information sharing agreement between Inland Revenue and the New Zealand Police enables Inland Revenue to provide information, under certain criteria, to the New Zealand Police to detect, prevent and prosecute serious crime.

In the existing agreement, serious crime is defined as an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of four years or more. The information exchanged since the agreement’s implementation in 2014 has delivered significant benefits in tackling serious crime.

The Government is proposing to extend the existing information sharing agreement to include the Serious Fraud Office and the New Zealand Customs Service, so that Inland Revenue can share information with these agencies to help them investigate serious crime.

Summary of proposals

The Government proposes allowing Inland Revenue to share information with the Serious Fraud Office and the New Zealand Customs Service, under the same framework currently used to share information with the New Zealand Police for targeting serious crime.

The existing framework and proposed model for sharing information with those agencies would allow an agency to request information, or for Inland Revenue to proactively provide information, when the agency or Inland Revenue considers there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that:

  •  a serious crime has been committed, is being committed, or will be committed; and
  • the information is relevant to preventing, detecting, investigating, or providing evidence of a serious crime.

‚ÄčIn addition, Inland Revenue must be satisfied that:

  • any statutory criteria relating to the release of protected information are met;
  • the information is readily available within Inland Revenue;
  • it is reasonable and practicable to communicate the information; and
  • it is in the public interest to communicate it.

These proposals do not alter the existing information sharing agreement with the New Zealand Police. They build on that activity to allow the New Zealand Customs Service and the Serious Fraud Office to provide services more efficiently, while maintaining the privacy protections provided by the Privacy Act 1993 and the Tax Administration Act 1994.

The Government welcomes feedback on all aspects of these proposals, including whether additional controls should be put in place.

The discussion document

The proposals are set out in the Government’s discussion document Targeting serious crime: extending information sharing.

The proposals are discussed in detail in chapter 2. Details about information sharing and the existing information sharing agreement with the New Zealand Police are set out in chapter 3.

Closing date for submissions

The closing date for submissions is 30 October 2018.

How to make a submission

Submissions can be made:

Targeting serious crime: extending information sharing
C/- Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Strategy
Inland Revenue Department
PO Box 2198
Wellington 6140

Submissions should include a brief summary of the major points and recommendations. Please also indicate whether officials from Inland Revenue, the New Zealand Customs Service and the Serious Fraud Office can contact you to discuss the points raised, if required.

Submissions may be requested under the Official Information Act 1982. Any information withheld will be decided using this Act. Please indicate in your submission if there is anything that you wish to have withheld.