IRD new computer system and the benefits (and perils) of automation

Are we there yet?

Not a question that anyone wants to hear bringing with it memories of long journeys on roads that twist and turn and with no real understanding of where we are, or maybe even where we are going.

It has now been six months since Inland Revenue proudly announced the successful completion of the last of a three phase journey to deliver the $1.7 billion START system – see

There is no doubt that enhancements were made – the rapid deployment of the Covid19 support products being good examples. There is both good and bad in the new system.

However a significant negative is the deluge of correspondence direct to the taxpayer. This undermines the relationship between the taxpayer and the tax agent, and creates a huge amount of waste to the economy with taxpayers and tax agents  having to spend too much time sorting out these unnecessary IRD initiated contacts direct to the taxpayer.

Read on IRD new computer system and the benefits (and perils) of automation

IRD Debt collection

This article looks at current and historical IRD debt collection and what IRD is and isn’t doing about it.

To whet your appetite look at the chart below:

In this article we comment on collection performance pre and post the new START computer system, and how we think IRD is getting it wrong.

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Critical errors on IRD MyIR website

IRD continues to encourage clients of tax agents to contact IRD direct and in particular to view their MYIR website.  The content is often misleading or incorrect.

We have alerted IRD to three critical fixes required:

  1. In respect of Covid-19 and impact on tax obligations, IRD must tell taxpayers to contact their agent in the first instance, and only if that is not available (Eg they don’t have an agent) to contact IRD
  2. Remove the obviously incorrect statement that 2020 returns are due and must be filed NOW. [2 April update:  IRD appear to have removed this]
  3. Fix the longstanding issue of stating that tax is payable when it actually relates to a future obligation

Read on “Critical errors on IRD MyIR website”

Business operation during COVID-19 lock down

Owens Tax Advisors Limited operates from a small office away from the CBD, we practice strict health procedures to avoid COVID-19 and largely work online.

While all staff are working from home offices, there are very few changes to processes and no business interruption.

Bottom line: we are open for business!

I’m sure we won’t be your first port of call for COVID-19 information, however here are some useful links

Take care out there!

Client Information Reports – For members of accounting and legal professional bodies

Are you taking on a new client?
Has IRD announced a risk review or audit/investigation on your client?
Do you have a client with unknown related entity and/or land transactions?

At an early stage of providing tax advice, our standard practice is to run a detailed search of New Zealand based entity structures, land and other public information and collate it into clear and logical reports on structure and land transactions.

We frequently identify information of which our legal and accounting colleagues were unaware.

From time to time we find missing information such as land transactions, incorrect shareholding etc that is critical to clients’ tax position.

We have found land held in a different entity to what professional records show, clients who hold assets using variants on their name (swapping first and last names, splitting or joining up multi syllable names, changing letters – g for q, ij for y etc.).  Our search processes identify these and you can be sure so do IRD’s.

We are pleased to offer these Reports to fellow professionals as a standalone service. All reports will generally identify related party structures or land transactions such as individual to company or trust etc.  For examples and pricing see

Ceasing NZ residence for tax purposes

If a NZ tax resident wants to cease NZ tax residence, they must satisfy two tests:

  • They must be physically outside of NZ for more than 325 days in a 12-month period, whereupon they may cease NZ tax residence from the first of those days. Note that the days of absence do not need to be consecutive, but even an hour in NZ on any day is counted as a day in NZ
  • They must cease to have a ‘permanent place of abode’ in NZ. This does not mean bricks and mortar as such although availability of residential property (whether or not owned) is an important factor.

People who should know better sometimes try to distill these down to simple concepts but there can be subtle issues in interpretation.

Read on “Ceasing NZ residence for tax purposes”

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