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Using digital services

What could Inland Revenue do to support existing customers to use digital services?

 

There are a number of strategies that Inland Revenue could develop to encourage customers to adopt digital services. One could be to move to a “digital by default” strategy. A good example of this would be to use email to communicate with customers who have consented to this form of communication.

Where a high-quality digital service exists (whether delivered by the private sector or directly by Inland Revenue), customers should be directed to that option as a matter of course. Non-digital alternatives should be de-emphasised in favour of the digital offering. This is simpler for customers compared with the alternative of a customer adopting a non-digital option initially and subsequently facing the cost and disruption of moving to a digital option.

Comments

michele hunt
yes I agree we should have a digital default if we are to try and move to more enviro friendly business. NB I have tried to use online filing in the past and stopped as with a Mac I could not down load and print files in a readable format. I feel very old fashioned still doing paper returns but haven't had the confidence to return and try online filing again. If there is a digital default there must also be support and availability of non digital access for those who are not computer savvy e.g. for individual returns

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1 year ago
Julian Phillips
I am always having to find help with the terminology used on tax forms- paper or otherwise- for me worked examples are great

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1 year ago
George Spark
Another way to help increase the use of digital services would be auto-populating all data that the IRD can obtain from different bulk sources. For example bank interest that I paid or received should be already in the form, as the IRD can presumably bulk-obtain this from the bank. Ditto for PAYE data, employer data, and anything else that is available from large company databases. If I only need to (electronically) sign the form and click "send", maybe with adding a few small details, it makes things a lot easier and thus I will be much more inclined to use electronic services. Ideally in the long run we can move to a monthly tax system, and do away with the big "tax year" event. Just an electronic form to check, maybe add a few items, and send. The form could even include a direct debit authority for the amount in that form only (not a blanket one, which is the reason many people don't like to give direct debit authority to organizations).

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1 year ago
Michelle Nefdt
It is important to understand your customers, their intentions, who they are, their terms of use, their expectations, their goals and motivations, their needs and how they use services, and their current pain points with existing systems and technology. It is also crucial to understand the end-to-end customer experience journey including the channels they access and reasons for this. Once these critical factors are understood, the ideation and solution process can commence, because you will understand the problem you intend to resolve. You will be able to use these insights to redesign your services, the supporting internal processes, your information architecture and the technology needed to support your organisation development and the customer/ user experience.

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1 year ago
Chris Tutty
I disagreed with this comment because I've seen organisations spend large amounts on this kind of broad de-focused information gathering for little real progress. Your comment seems to assume that IRD aren't doing this already, which also seems wrong - I've seen work by IRD to connect and understand the needs of taxpayers. IRD has made significant advances using small projects focused on obvious, measurable benefits and that's where I think we're better off spending the money.

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1 year ago
Neil
Here I am trying to file my IR3 return for the 2015 year. And what do I find. IRD doesn't even have the e-IR3 form up on its e-file platform ready for me to file it. I even when I do file it, as with last year, you are not even ready to process it. The financial year ended 31st March. Nine days into the new financial year and we are still waiting for IRD to get its act together to enable its customers to take their required actions. If you are really into the digital age as you claim, you should be worrying about the first filing date instead of concentrating your all resources around the last possible filing date and agents extensions of time.

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1 year ago
Brenda
I agree. I did file my IR3 eventually, but to go look at what I filed, I can't see it. I hope it really is in the system. Then again, in general the site has improved since the early days, but it's still hard to find specific things. The pages and buttons are always difficult to navigate and badly placed or named. I trust it will be addressed in time.

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1 year ago
Taylor
It takes 3 months for a PTS now and always has done even when the application is online. There are still people on the other end of this stuffing things up and not taking responsibility, when this goes more online who is responsible then? The IRD needs to take responsibility for it's poor attitude in adding to the already rip off that is the tax system.

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1 year ago
C Waters
Many IRD digitally processes already either don't work at all, take you round and round in every decreasing circles, are so well buried that no-one can find them, don't take into account all personal circumstances and options and in a few cases that I can document the IRD calculations are just plain wrong. IRD never admit to making a mistake and if all things go digital just think Novapay to 10,000.

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1 year ago
Melanie
As A SME our tax reporting and payments would be made simpler if there was a link to xero.

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1 year ago
Glenn
Disagree. Digital is more efficient and cost effective for IRD, but some NZers still find digital challenging. Interacting with a government department particularly IRD, is stressful for many. To then add to that stress by insisting on their use of technology they are uncomfortable with, or have limited access to, or familiarity with, seems a little draconian to me. Yes, I will prefer digital, but then I use it every day. NZers need an other option. Maybe one day we wont, but we aren't there yet, and government needs to recognise that. Encouragement, education, sure, but to push hard will put some NZers at a disadvantage, and that isn't equitable.

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1 year ago
Christine
Its all very well to become more digitally savvy..but it would be great if IRD came to the party in terms of not refunding credits etc unsolicited. By the time the taxpayer discovers this has occurred, they are then charged penalties and interest if the refund should not have occurred.

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1 year ago
Xan Harding
I haven't got time to wade thru all these reports but just want to say that IRD online would be much more convenient if Icould have 1 login for the multiple entities I file for. I only file online for 1 entity because otherwise I would currently need mulitple signon ids/passwords and the auto signon wouldn't work. A simple thing but a big barrier.

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1 year ago
Davina
Totally empathise with you on this. I too have come up against the same issue. I contract my services to various entities and while endeavouring to set up digital filing, got the a total run-round only to be told that I'll need to work with my clients accountants and use their login/get authorised. Wasted half my morning and got nowhere, so I'm sticking with paper filing! Until IRD can answer their phones promptly and assist efficiently, I don't have time to wast like this. I know of several 'contractors' like myself and we all have this issue, so it's not like I'm a one-off.

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1 year ago
Rosella O'Neil
I am a very small business owner. I file all my returns on line BUT I do not want to have to purchase expensive accounting software or employ an accountant. I just use simple excel spreadsheets.

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1 year ago
Elizabeth
We have a basic accounting program that suits us well. If the IRD wish to interface directly with us (and we are not against advancement) they should provide cost-free the necessary program. Otherwise we are faced with completely changing to a cloud based program at large cost, as this will involve retraining all our staff. I currently use e-file. I believe one month reporting could be too short a time frame to be accurate for us. Tied in with GST at two monthly intervals would be OK. Our customers are on credit terms, so cash flow would still be a consideration. What are the payment due dates relative to earning cut off dates the IRD are planning?

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1 year ago
Paul G
Please, 'No' to the IRD developing new separate software. It will be inferior to everything else out there. The IRD should be working with the major accounting program suppliers to allow direct integration. e.g. "Xero File here". "MYOB File here" (and an option to using the current manual entry system of IR file). Those of us already using elegant online accounting systems don't enjoy using the rudimentary IR-File where we have to manually duplicate the data that our systems produce. It seems crazy that I can produce a GST report out of my accounting system in three clicks in 10 seconds, but need to log on to IR-File and manually type in all these numbers again, page by page. I am sure the accounting suppliers will be willing to bear the cost of the implementation, as a selling point for their software.

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1 year ago
Dwayne
I believe that giving IRD monthly updates should be 100% optional, and its more important for small businesses and contractors to be able to give IRD some estimates of income so that IRD can show a real-time estimate of the money the taxpayer should have saved up for tax day, and also showing amounts already paid and the due date. My accounting is always a month behind (due to accounting being a special form of torture) so I just schedule some bank autopayments that hopefully keep up with the provisional tax.

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1 year ago
Ian Schultz
I used to be able to make my PAYE and GST payments directly from my Cash Manager accounting programme. I posted these payments at the time I was paying my monthly invoices and simply sent them in a batch file to the bank for execution along with all my other bill payments. This worked really well for me. About 18 months ago my accounting software supplier advised that IRD had refused to accept payments from their software and from now on all payments had to be made through the IRD connection in my banking software. For me this means that after making the entries in my accounting programme, I now have to exit that programme, log into the bank, make the payment and log out again. I then have to do the same for the other two entities that I operate. I then need to log into the three separate IRD logins, transfer the files from my payrole software to the IRD software and make the file transfers. Several times now I have either forgotten to log into the bank to make the payment or have made the payment twice. I can't look for the payment in the IRD account (no access is available) and if I phone up to see if it has gone through your systems are so lagged that you don't know either. I want you to restore the ability to make payments using batch files from my accounting package so that I don't have to do the multiple log ins to my bank. You may say that it is a small thing to do multiple log ins but in a rural area on slow broadband this is a big issue. Like wise for your IRD accounts - please allow me to service my three entities with a single log in.

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1 year ago
M Walshe
I would love to see you improve the PAYE online system. Every time I use it I have issues! There has to be a better way.

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1 year ago
Alison
I want to agree with this about 15 times!! The online forms are cumbersome, full of fields which are rarely needed and lacking information which is important (such as allowing entry of ESCT details for automatic collation, like the other amounts which go to make up the total payable). PLEASE, PLEASE REDESIGN THE ONLINE IR345 FORM SO IT IS ATLEAST AS USER-FRIENDLY AS THE PAPER FORM!!!

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1 year ago
Bernie Gunn
IRD could use email to send payment arrangement notices, PAYE, and any other thing so that communication is instant and saves paper, postage and is much faster, much like it does with GST currently. Opening stacks of envelopes is a right pain.

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1 year ago
David Harris
Absolutely - provided that the Department's systems can cope with the changes

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1 year ago
Rex Orbell
I agree. Whatever we do we still have to pay taxes so there is no point in whinging about it? Any system that make it easier for me gets my vote! So lets move on and just do it.

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1 year ago
Dale
I would definitely consider paying tax in conjunction with GST if the system could handle a CASH BASED GST payer. Otherwise we would be paying GST on income not received. As others have mentioned, the option of purchasing/leasing new software is not something we would consider. The means of collating data for IRD purposes would have to have simple variations for those who cannot afford high-end programs, or are not tech whiz's.

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1 year ago
Ralph McCleery
We already use the IRD web site for some reporting and our system has the capability of doing it all for a price. The obvious encouragement to move quickly would be a implementation subsidy or discount to offset the expense.

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1 year ago
John White
I waste time every time I make an electronic GST return by copying the information printed on may accounting softwares GST return into the IRD web site. It would be quicker and more helpful to simply email the GST return prepared by the software to IRD

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1 year ago
David Anderson
Agree 100% with John White

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1 year ago
Steve Bromley
Could we have a default Employers Schedule that is available any time which we can set the date for & preload, so when I want Leave etc I can pre load my wages , do my Tax Schedule all at the same time & enjoy my Leave or Business Trip etc. Surely I'm not the only self employed manager who has encountered this issue.

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1 year ago
Nevan Lancaster
Yep cut out the paper and make communication browser based. Allow all forms to be filled out online.

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1 year ago
Lynne Richardson
As a self-employed contractor, I pay GST and provisional tax every 6 months. Would love to be able to do this quarterly or even every 2 months (I think every month would be too time-consuming) as budgeting for provisional tax can be hair-raising. Have been filing my GST returns online for some time now and find this process relatively straightforward, so providing the IRD can make the system work efficiently on a more frequent basis, I would be in favour of using the digital service. Also needs to be provision for late payments if internet service is disrupted by ISPs

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1 year ago
Sonia
I would like to be able to file more tax returns (interest RWT especially) online. Also it was really difficult to find the IR4 filing in online services.

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1 year ago
Mike Rather
I understand and agree with the need to have taxes. I actually don't mind paying taxes either. When I'm paying tax it means I'm making money. What makes it hard for me is when I have cash flow problems and dig in to my saved tax funds to get me by. It would really help if I could take out and pay my tax as my clients pay me. A digital system by nature is closer to transactions being able to occur at a faster rate. My accounts being accurate in real time helps plan ahead. A digital system needs to be very carefully worked out so that it is intuative and easy for the end user - tax payer to use. I often feel application architects/designers are terrible at creating a piece of software that is helpful when it comes to accounting software. I would welcome a means of being able to pay my tax straight away as income was paid. It would also allow me to get rid of one extra bank/tax account in my list of accounts from my business. I look forward to the above digital tools turning up.

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1 year ago
Wendy
Support is one thing. The way this question is phrased is seeking a defined outcome which I do not find very free and open. This is a tax system. The digital option should always be that an "option" it may be incentivised but should never compel. Compelling an administrative solution in a tax scenario is contrary to the civil society contract the NZ Goverment has with each of its citizens who willingly pay tax. The NZ Government, like some other countries, constitutionally fudged its authority to collect tax and it is still feasible that someone might take the case against paying tax one day. Could we please have some respect for tax payers and the fact that NZ citizens pay the wages of all Government bureaucrats? Compelling anything that involves compromising ones right to choice, privacy and data protection is totally wrong in a democracy and probably contrary to the bill of rights.

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1 year ago
maygray
To suggest digital by default in the first place is wrong for a tax system. But to do so without addressing the controls on the Tax Department and the rights of redress by tax payers is not addressing our concerns and priorities and being only concerned about the outcome the Tax Department wants and is trying to obtain evidence for by using this very slanted survey.

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1 year ago
Annabel
I enjoy using the digital system, though as it is at the moment it is sometimes a little tricky. I think in any system that is to be adopted it would be helpful to have a live chat for quick and instant answers and less frustration and help us get on with the job. I think there is much scope for more digital interaction

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1 year ago
Sharon Nolan
Provide easy to follow video tutorials of 1 to 2 minutes on each element.

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1 year ago
David Anderson
I use cash manager and it would simplify online filing of gst if we could just click on cash manager figures to file rather than manually have to input them

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1 year ago
Robert Symons
Make on line entering of information and payments more user friendly . Scrap all PAYE all terminal tax and provisional tax and increase GST to cmpensate. Simple,time saving and less chance of tax evasion.one major point of tax,when you spend.

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1 year ago
Jeff Saunders
There is no need for provisional tax when tax can be paid incrementally online just as GST is currently. There is no justification in taxing people before they make their income no matter what can or can't be done digitally. Tax should also be collected on overseas transactions so that these do not sidestep tax obligations thus putting a greater burden on taxes collected throughout the general NZ economy. The fact that large multinationals do business without paying much tax puts more pressure on lower income workers to shoulder more of the tax burden.

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1 year ago
Evelien Baas
Like a lot of other people I would like the single login for multiple entities back. I file GST & PAYE returns for several clients, but not enough to be a tax agent, so I have a login for each client, a nightmare to setup and a monthly irritation to use. Also if you accidentally file the incorrect file it is impossible to delete and file the correct one. You have to call and correct or send a correction form instead, despite the website stating that you can remove it, which again is a waste of time and money.

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1 year ago
Melinda
It has taken me more than 4 months to receive basic details of what child support entitlements i have received. And then i discover i can view it online which has never been communicated to me. Offcourse the figures given to me and online dont match. Please ensure accuracy and training of existing sytems. I have lodged a complaint. administration has a lot to be desired.

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1 year ago
Nigel Parry
Moving to more digital is an ideal opportunity for IR to make things much clearer - getting rid of all jargon and explaining statements really well (using links if necessary). The existing paper statements are a jumble of mumbo jumbo. My suggestion is that NONE of the IRD's digital communications should be written or laid out by the IRD. You're all beurocrats with a dependence on 'precise' words that mean nothing to the rest of us. If you really do mean to communicate effectively with us, speak in our language, not yours. Thanks

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1 year ago
L Gaugau
Other than reduced costs benefits and quicker refund revenue stream maybe an additional feature that may move businesses for a digital option is an additional free, tax exempt feature of a 10c DIGI-GIVING button for all DIGI-biz online websites. DIGI-GIVING would be a global government strategy to provide tools for DIGI-biz and DIGI-customers - why? DIGI-GIVING promotes awareness of it's launch as a revenue stream that also goes back to local community and connect global charities. Digi-customers that sign up for refunds would see a tick the 10c DIGI-GIVING when you get your refund. While payroll giving targets employees, DIGI-biz and DIGI-customers is the global bridge between brick n mortar and global digital giving. Supporting recent increases of charities specific to collecting for school lunches, after school care and homeless. DIGI-GIVING offers a new strategy to connect stagnant global charities working on similar projects and fund their project. If DIGI-GIVING catches on and starts here in New Zealand of businesses and people just giving their 10c then how much more would everyone's little 10c be worth with the world population at 7,310,139,825 @ 2:15am 24.04.15 that goes back to local communities and global charities? Something I'd be proud of on launch, if this additional feature could be made available to DIGI-biz and DIGI-customers - then B10 and Go DIGI-biz!

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1 year ago
Melinda netto
The existing service does not allow for attachements . Hence snail mail has to be relied on. Surely an area for improvement.

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1 year ago
Ed Lusty
I am happy with digital by default as long as opting out was easy and obvious, so I am uncomfortable with manual options being 'de-emphasised.

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1 year ago
Jenny Miller
I would like to see a Nominated Person being able to activate Online Services so that GST returns can be filed online. I work for a partnership and the partners (who are Doctors or Overseas) see it as cumbersome to make a call to IRD - provide their own personal IRD numbers in order to simply activate an account. As a result and despite IRD advising it is simpler to file GST Returns Online - I continue to file using a paper based system. It is a total waste of my time and IRD's time filling in a manual form when it could be easily done online.

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1 year ago
Karen Stanley
I use digital services now. Importing bank statements etc is certainly faster, however there is still a lot of work for me entering some details for each and every transaction. I very much think that provisional tax for small and medium businesses is unnecessary. After a good year there may be a very poor year and yet provisional tax is based on the previous year. It could be enough to send small or medium businesses to the wall. I feel another tax anomaly is paying secondary employment tax. Why should someone who can only get part time work and have to get two jobs or more have to pay more tax at the secondary employment tax rate. Because he has two jobs his costs are already greater than a person with only one job.

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1 year ago
Geoff Wyvill
I do my tax return on-line and have done so since it became possible. I regularly receive overseas income, so I have to file an IR3. Every year, I have to telephone you to ask for an IR3 and every year, you throw away this information so I have to ask again next year. Can you make it possible for me to ask for the IR3 on-line? Better still, can you keep this information from year to year and not tell me "Our records show you're a PTS customer"?

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1 year ago
Brenda
I think for older or new computer users, perhaps IRD could do an annual seminar at local libraries to take you through the the very basics of IRD Online processes. Tailor it to the uses of each person - get them to register and list things they want to know. Eg. they want to see their previous Income Tax Balance; This years Earnings, Provisional Tax paid, or file Employer Schedules for a new business or see their Child Support, etc. This is a possible way to reduce the mystery or uncertainty about IR File.

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1 year ago
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