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Legislative barriers

Do you agree that requirements for transactions to be carried out through non-digital services should be removed?

Inland Revenue Acts

The Inland Revenue Acts set out the obligations that customers and Inland Revenue must meet, including for the provision of information and returns. There are three categories of requirement dealing with how communication/interaction should be made:

  • those that are silent on how the engagement should be made;
  • those that give the Commissioner a discretion on how the engagement should be made; and
  • those where the specific form of engagement is prescribed in legislation.

No legislative change is needed for the first two categories.

In the third category set out above, provisions which, for example, require information to be provided “in writing”, or “by post”  would appear to prevent the move to digital services.

The Electronic Transactions Act 2002 can override these rules, if, effectively, both parties to the transaction consent. This would enable the Electronic Transactions Act to potentially override even specific requirements in tax legislation.

While the Electronic Transactions Act would allow tax communication to move to digital services even in light of express requirements for non-digital services, this would conflict with the important principle of tax legislation being as simple and clear as possible.

The Electronic Transactions Act would also not deal with situations where the Commissioner had decided that certain customers should be required to use digital services.

The Government therefore proposes that the Revenue Acts be reviewed and, where they contain provisions that appear to prohibit digital services from being used, they be amended to use neutral language.

Do you agree that legislative requirements that transactions be carried out through non-digital services be removed?

Comments

George Spark
Yes - seems logical. The definition "in writing" to many already appears to include type-written text, regardless whether it is on paper or on a screen (for example an email is often considered to be "in writing"). Although I guess a lawyer could somehow argue that it needs to be handwritten on a piece of paper.

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1 year ago
Kevin
On the face of it - yes it seems sensible. It is surprising in this day and age that the requirement is still there?

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1 year ago
Denise Davis
I think there will always be times when a non-digital process might be required, whether it is because of a fire, or natural disaster which takes out power to extended periods etc... However, I do support withdrawal of non-digital systems for ordinary processing. I also recognise, that for some people who have difficulty with the digital world, there will be increased fees from professionals doing tasks for them that they can do themselves currently.

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1 year ago
Denise Davis
I think it is important to maintain a system where both parties to the transaction retain an acceptable record of the transaction. I am thinking here of situations where a person used to write a letter and retain a copy, which is now done by telephone. The conversation may be recorded by the company, but the individual does not retain a copy of that; resulting in the individual loosing some of their power.

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1 year ago
Paul
Yes, so long as the non electronic options are not specifically banned. They should be left as options.

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1 year ago
Rebecca
I agree with Paul, there should always be an option for both parties, to opt to use non-electronic options for the transfer of information. I am particularly thinking of instances where there might be a significant amount of paperwork that needs to be supplied to back up a claim etc. or if the information to be provided is particularly private.

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1 year ago
maygray
having thought about this I am particularly concerned by this. Firstly the consultation does not address the controls the consumer will have to ensure that the tax department exercises the vast power it has properly in a given case. Secondly, if only electronic communications are allowed how does the consumer prove it has done something if the Government department says it never received an email. Still today post is better than email to ensure a communication arrives. There are also legal implications to this question. It seems to me that this question is more to the benefit of the tax department than to the benefit of the consumer. Sorry, but the whole tenor of this consultation is to benefit the tax department and cut costs not to the benefit of the many and diverse tax payers.

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1 year ago
Nevan Lancaster
Cut the privacy emphasis. In Sweden all tax details for every person are published online. You can look up how much tax was paid by anyone whether you know them or not. Lets do the same here. It would save a lot of drama as people over react about privacy. After the first few weeks in Sweden the buzz went away and now even though you can most people don't bother looking at the tax details of their neighbors.

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1 year ago
Dwayne
"The Electronic Transactions Act would also not deal with situations where the Commissioner had decided that certain customers should be required to use digital services." Hit the nail on the head there. Electronic Transactions Act has been worded to prevent abuse by forcing people to go online who aren't ready to. Thats a protection we should not be giving up so easily. You want to impose compliance costs on tax payers at the same time as reducing your own internal costs. This is inappropriate for a tax collection agency that should be aiming to reduce costs on vulnerable tax payers just as the big corporates, but the low cost way for small tax payers to calculate tax is generally offline so the online systems need to be made EASIER. If you make life difficult for the smallest tax payers, you only succeed in making them even smaller! Reducing IRD's internal costs cannot be allowed to cause dramas for people who are trying to add value to the economy.

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1 year ago
L Gaugau
If money transactions such as third party shark loans override transactions of a signed document then the same principal can be applied to payroll providers IRD payroll specifications that is inclusive of the holidays act, employment act and all its constituents. DIGI-customers can then have the OPTION to tick box for all refunds automated as part of the IRD payroll specifications requirement that include the leave rates for the holiday's amendment act 2010, Section 9 (all of it) would ease business networks with payroll providers. If the paper form is required then you are looking at another addition to the KS1/KS2 or GO budget and add an updated tick box DIGI-refund on existing KS1/KS2 forms. This then will create a file to upload for current online users however provide notification for employees wanting to opt to DIGI-customers for their refunds. This means for those businesses that don't have DIGI-biz their employees miss out on the benefits of real time refunds however customers still get their refund via the DIGI-biz transaction methodology once PAYE is filed then an additional file is added to determine which employees are opting in and uploaded manually on IRD Digi-biz network to calculate refunds. This means for those businesses that opt to go DIGI-biz their employees get the benefits of real time refunds earlier and employers get their GST and all other refunds earlier as well as real time notification for adjustments amendments to avoid penalties for both the employee and employer. The option is there for DIGI-biz customers and non DiGI-biz/customers, no forms just tick the box to get instant refunds - GO DIGI!

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1 year ago
L Gaugau
The preferred payment architecture for digital service devices for mobile, iDevices, Tablets, kiosks and IPTV/OTT is an interesting way to connect to DIGI-biz customers if that isn't a benefit itself ... who doesn't own one of these devices to connect to IRD? The digital platform executes as secure payment transactions between customers and registered merchants by using devices platform middle ware repeaters to transmit via switching mediums IPTV/OTT to satellite/radio frenquency commands to TCP/IP protocols. Meaning two mediums although do not talk can switch and communicate via non patent instructions or notifications of "you have a refund" press REFUND button merely switches the network to TCP/IP medium to connect directly to another server where a password is the 2nd security to wherein the plurality of middle ware payment architecture devices enables encapsulated connectionless commands and connection-oriented compliance data. So you could have one screen that mirrors the switching network so the customer thinks that they are on digital however is really switched to either satellite or TCP/IP. Or you could have two mirror mediums on one screen that switches between the two. Transmitting electronically has come a long way and people prefer quick and if digital provides the same service then what's the difference in service? Is it better? Provides the same safe protocols? I agree if it enhances or provides the same service because if the service wasn't available then progress is ready but not us? What are the risks if we don't go digital and everyone else does? What impact will that have on businesses? If current systems need improving to add value to businesses and the regular Joe Bloggs to enhance revenue streams then I agree with a digital strategy.

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1 year ago
dorothy
When I submit my returns I don't do so electronically as I have to send supporting documents with my returns . As such I can't just fill up the form online. If an alternative could be provided where I could submit my returns online together with supporting documents then I would be more inclined to to use the online service for my returns as it would save me money on postal charges

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1 year ago
Wendy Rozenberg
although alot of the digital processes are good - they should NEVER BE PEOPLE'S ONLY OPTION. Not all of us want to use - the digital system everytime. We don't all have access to a computer - (or it may not be working for a time) or we may have misplaced our jolly password!!!!!

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1 year ago
WR
having the form come in mail a great reminder - and the email alerts are good too.

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1 year ago
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