Chapter 1 - Introduction
1.1 Government agencies share specified information as a means of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the services they provide.
1.2 An existing information sharing agreement implemented in 2014 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 has delivered significant benefits in tackling serious crime.
1.3 This discussion document sets out proposals to extend the existing information sharing agreement to include the Serious Fraud Office and the New Zealand Customs Service, so Inland Revenue may share information with these agencies where it might be an advantage in dealing with serious crime.
Summary of proposals
1.4 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.
1.5 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:
- there are reasonable grounds, for the agency identifying the possible offence, for suspecting that a serious crime has been committed, is being committed, or will be committed;
- the agency considers that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting the information is relevant to preventing, detecting, investigating, or providing evidence of a serious crime; and
- Inland Revenue is 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.
1.6 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.
1.8 The Government welcomes feedback on all aspects of these proposals, including whether additional controls should be put in place.
How to make a submission
1.9 Submissions are invited on the proposals in this discussion document.
1.10 The closing date for submissions is 30 October 2018.
1.11 Submissions can be made:
- by completing the submission form at https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/tsc-submission ;
- by email to [email protected] with “Targeting serious crime: extending information sharing” in the subject line; or
- by post to:
Targeting serious crime: extending information sharing
C/- Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Strategy
Inland Revenue Department
PO Box 2198
1.12 Submissions should include a brief summary of the major points and recommendations. They should also indicate whether it is acceptable for officials from Inland Revenue, the New Zealand Customs Service and the Serious Fraud Office to contact submitters to discuss the points raised, if required.
1.13 Submissions may be the subject of a request under the Official Information Act 1982, which may result in their release. The withholding of particular submissions, or parts thereof, on the grounds of privacy, commercial sensitivity, or for any other reason, will be determined in accordance with that Act. Those making a submission should clearly indicate if they consider any part of their submission should be withheld under the Act.