Latest stage of Inland Revenue’s tax system upgrade

In what was one of the largest data migrations undertaken by any government agency in New Zealand, around 20 million income tax records, representing around $5 billion in financial transactions, were moved from Inland Revenue’s legacy software to a new system during a seven day shutdown over Easter 2019.

Inland Revenue began rolling out its business transformation programme in stages two years ago. The latest upgrade during Easter 2019, was the third stage in this programme.

New Zealand landscape

As well as updating their website, one of the main aims of Inland Revenue’s latest system upgrade was to make end of year processes simpler, particularly for wage and salary earners. There will, however, be some additional benefits for business owners.

Website upgrade

Featuring a modern new-look homepage, Inland Revenue’s new website will initially present child support, Working for Families and income tax content in a crisper, more accessible style.

The remainder of the current website’s content will be updated, tested, and incorporated into the new site over the coming year. The improved site navigation, layout and global search will allow you to easily get around and search for content across the two sites during this time.

Other features of the new site include:

  •      shorter content and fewer pages
  •      the ability to navigate content by role, situation, topic or task
  •     a responsive design allowing you to view the site on any device
  •     an improved online experience for those who are visually impaired.

System changes for businesses

Businesses can already file, pay and amend GST returns in myIR on the IRD website. Other significant changes have been added within the past year, including:

  • The accounting income method (AIM) option for calculating provisional tax
  • Payday filing for employer returns

The latest update to the system takes automation a step further. You will now be able to:

  • file, pay and amend fringe benefit tax (FBT), gaming machine duty (GMD), and portfolio investment entity (PIE) returns.
  • file and amend withholding tax

Some issues

A few hiccups and some more major issues have arisen since the system upgrade in April. You may well have heard about the Auckland woman who received an accidental tax refund of $12 million in her bank account!

We’ve also heard of people receiving mail directly from Inland Revenue saying they have overdue provisional tax when this is not the case. It seems this may be because their business profits were down from the previous year so they had intentionally been paying less provisional tax. In some cases Inland Revenue had automatically transferred credits from elsewhere, such as GST refunds, to offset the amount they thought that person should be paying.

We are hoping Inland Revenue will sort out these bugs but, in the meantime, we suggest you contact us if you receive correspondence, refunds or requests for payment that don’t make sense. We’ll help you pay the right amount of tax, on time and allocated to the correct filing period.

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