A couple of years ago the Inland Revenue signalled it would be entering into a major business transformation process. At the time, the New Zealand media focussed on the projected cost of this project that was estimated to be more than $2.0 billion.
This is the biggest project of its kind that has ever taken place in New Zealand. Clearly the Inland Revenue’s aging FIRST system was struggling to cope with the pressures placed upon it by various governments. It was therefore necessary to build a platform that was agile and could cope with ongoing change that will be placed on our tax collection system. The system also needed to contemplate what the collection of tax may look like in the future.
The Inland Revenue has promoted this business transformation project as being far wider than an IT upgrade. Their website states: “Business transformation is an end-to-end business change to bring New Zealand’s tax administration into the modern world. It involves our people, processes, policy and technology and will be delivered in four stages.”
Major changes have already taken place and further changes will continue to be rolled out in the coming years. These changes are both IT related and will also involve significant legislation changes.
In April 2017, the first stage to the Inland Revenue’s “START” system (yes START!) took place with the transfer of GST onto their new IT platform. Whilst to their credit, this transfer largely went without a hitch, cracks began to show from a users perspective with some of the functionality that used to be there, that was no longer there. We are told that some of these issues may fix themselves once other revenues are also transferred onto the new platform however, time will tell whether that is the case. On a postive note, the change to the new system also introduced some new functions that were not previously available via their online system.
Income tax was the next tax type due to transfer onto the new system in early 2018. After taking on feedback from users, we understand this has been “deferred”. This will allow for more user testing. On that matter, the Inland Revenue has recognised that real users need to be brought in to assist for testing of the system, to ensure that any issues can be ironed out before release.
Hayes Knight Tax Director, Phil Barlow, was asked to be part of a forum to give feedback to the Inland Revenue on their business transformation. If you have any comments, do not hesitate to feed these through to Phil or one of the Hayes Knight team.