Despite positive progress, Inland Revenue’s current digital services have significant limitations. First, not all customer interactions can be carried out through digital channels. Secondly, existing digital services do not always generate positive customer experience, and are not always consistent with other channels. They are not integrated with other activities that customers carry out, such as dealing with their bank or using their business accounting software.
Customers still have difficulty accessing and using the Inland Revenue information they need; or find Inland Revenue’s transactional processes time-consuming, disconnected and confusing.
Often customers have to use multiple service delivery channels to undertake one interaction; and they are uncertain whether they have done the right thing. They are also frustrated that the information is not shared and is inconsistent across Inland Revenue’s different services.
The core technology that Inland Revenue is operating on is about 25 years old and so predates most of the digital innovations that customers currently take for granted.
Inland Revenue’s role has expanded from simply collecting tax in a paper-based world to managing the collection of tax and the delivery of income-related social policies such as student loan repayments, Working for Families tax credits and KiwiSaver. Adding social policies services to 25-year old technology has resulted in an extremely complex intertwined system which is expensive, risky and time consuming to make further changes to.
Current tax legislation such as the Tax Administration Act 1994 was largely developed around a paper-based environment. It needs to be modernised to ensure it does not inhibit the uptake of digital services.
Government has begun the change
The Government recognises that the improvements it wants to achieve in the way businesses and individuals interact with government cannot be achieved without a fundamental redesign of the tax administration system, enabled by digital technology.
The early design stage of this work has already begun, and the results of this consultation will help to shape the redesign.