IRD now (March 2016) officially allows use of email but puts various barriers in the way. IRD also says that sometimes telephone or snail mail maybe more appropriate than email. We say “come on IRD, get with the 21st century!”
So why would IRD’s clients prefer to communicate by email instead of telephone or snail mail?
- An email is generally received instantly
- The recipient can respond at a convenient time
- A reply to incoming email should never go astray
- Both parties have the same record of what is discussed
- If you are really nervous (and IRD seems to have terminal shivers on this) confidential information can be moved to an attachment with a password
- Costs nothing to send and uses no resources
- Snail mail can take a couple of days to exit the IRD system and a few more to get to the recipient. In the meantime the clock may be ticking on a legislative response time – not from the date the mail reached your post box but from the date IRD put on the document.
- IRD staff may be too busy to take a call but this cuts both ways. IRD telephones stakeholders at a time that happens to suit IRD. Caller number ID on incoming calls from IRD are inevitably blocked so we can’t tell who is calling. If we are unable to answer, IRD often doesn’t leave a message. Our phone number is not blocked but way more often than not IRD doesn’t pick up the phone.
- Snail mail may be misaddressed or misdelivered.
- IRD records its phone calls so has a record of what was said. The client may not have that facility.
- Snail mail or faxes have little or no security
- Uses paper and 50 cents postage (multiply that by millions!)
A special comment about IRDs secure email “service”
- You can’t address to a particular person in IRD
- You can’t add supporting documents
- It’s useful only for routine issues that are not time critical
IRD’s apparent reluctance to use email seems to be based on assuming IRD convenience is much more important than its stakeholders, and on a misunderstanding and obsession with email security.