The launch of the first major stage of Inland Revenue’s business transformation programme went live over Waitangi weekend 2017.
This solely dealt with GST and involved the migration of:
- 8.5 million taxpayer records
- 800,000 GST accounts
- 8.1 million GST returns
- $80 billion of GST payments history
- $36 billion of disbursements history
Clearly this was a significant task and on a scale that would not often be seen in NZ.
At the user end, the migration appeared to go without a hitch as taxpayers and accountants were able to log on and immediately use the new GST MyIR system.
As it stands however, due to the progressive nature of the rollout onto the new IT systems, there are some inefficiencies now present that are largely caused through a very old and very new system not being able to integrate. These issues are not ideal from a users perspective but it seems cannot be avoided given the constraints the Inland Revenue are working with.
The Inland Revenue has acknowledged there are a number of issues that users have identified while using the new system in a real environment. These issues are being prioritised however some of these will not be resolved until Stage 2, when other taxes (i.e. income tax), also transfer onto the new IT platform.
To their credit, the Inland Revenue has been proactive in engaging their staff to communicate and contact taxpayers through various means, phone calls, emails, and visits to agents. There will no doubt be learnings they can take away from the roll out of the GST MyIR system.
For taxpayers and agents, this signals significant changes for the administration of the tax system in NZ. The benefits of the new system include more functionality for taxpayers and agents and some automation of the more mundane tasks.
Clearly the new IT systems will provide the IRD the ability to deal with matters more easily in real time. In addition there will be far more transparency and over time, more information made available to the IRD.
As the saying goes however, ‘rubbish in equals rubbish out’. Therefore, the onus will be on taxpayers to get things right at the front end and to regularly liaise with their accountants during the year to ensure everything is accurate and on track.