Inland Revenue Audits

Can do Better - the State of Inland Revenue

Whatever the final recommendations of the Tax Working Group are, Inland Revenue will be a key player in implementing and managing the changes to the tax system. But is it up to the task? 

In the run-up to Labour Day weekend it released its 2017-18 annual report and two other reports. Collectively, these reports give a good insight into its current and future state which might be summarised as “Can do better.”  

Inland Revenue starts wielding a few big sticks to collect tax

In its 2015 Annual Report Inland Revenue announced that it had been able to reduce the total amount of overdue tax debt from $5.471 billion at 30 June 2014 to $5.153 billion at 30 June 2015.   This included collecting $4.7 billion from debt cases over the year an increase of $600 million from the 2013-14 year.  

Forward dates for Better Tax Administration

We're supporting the IRD's Making tax simpler - better digital services and tax administration and so want to remind you that there are some important dates for your views to be submitted.


Here's the schedule of forward dates

30th April - Submissions on the tax Bill

7th May - Final GST for 31 March returns and final Provisional tax payment for year ended 31 March 2015

15 May - Consultation submissions for the Better Digital Services 

ATAINZ Conference 2015 in tweets and pictures

Minister of Revenue Todd McClay opens ATAINZ's 2015 conference in Auckland

Revenue Minister: focus on reducing SME compliance costs will be on making processes simpler "more supportive of business".  

Revenue Minister: number of consultation papers on tax administration coming out over the next few months.

Mike Cunnington, Deputy Comissioner, Information, Intelligency & Communications

Mike Cunnington: Child Support IT blowout is an example of how difficult it is to introduce big changes with present FIRST system.

Not even Inland Revenue can prevail against the power of compound interest

There’s no evidence that Albert Einstein described compounding interest as “the most powerful force in the Universe”.  The phrase appears to have been attributed to him by a financial journalist years after his death in 1955.   Whatever Einstein’s views on the topic it’s certainly true that compounding interest soon adds up.  A classic example of this is the $367 million (and counting) summary judgement Inland Revenue secured in June against one John George Russell.

Give The Tax Simplification Panel Plenty Of Useful Feedback


“We need a simplified, fair, equitable, easy to follow, easy to understand, and easy to comply with TAX CODE” This was 'Boatman’s' enthusiastic response on this website to the news that Revenue Minister Roger McClay is setting up a Tax Simplification Panel. Boatman’s remarks kicked off a lively debate on these pages about the merits or otherwise of the current system and what should be done. However, it’s unlikely that Boatman’s suggestion to “wipe the board clean and start with a clean …page” will be fulfilled, as the Panel’s focus will be on tax administration not tax policy.

The sharp end of Morton's fork

Henry The Seventh

When Henry VII, Henry VIII’s father, became king at the end of the War of the Roses, the Crown was very nearly bankrupt. Ordered to replenish the Treasury, Henry VII’s Lord Chancellor, John Morton, devised what is now known as Morton’s Fork when he declared: "If the subject is seen to live frugally, tell him because he is clearly a money saver of great ability, he can afford to give generously to the King. If, however, the subject lives a life of great extravagance, tell him he, too, can afford to give largely, the proof of his opulence being evident in his expenditure." It was a perfect “Heads I win, tails you lose” argument sweeping up the miserly and the extravagant alike.

Knock, knock. Who's there? It's the IRD

Early in my career, I was at a training course where one of the instructors was an ex investigator of the UK Inland Revenue. He told us that it was his habit when preparing an audit of a taxpayer to visit the taxpayer’s premises incognito and get a feel for how the business was run, who worked there and how transactions were recorded.

Avoidance, Evasion or Avoision?

Tax Evasion

“Carter evades the onrushing Habana, passes to Gear who avoids a couple of Boks…” In ordinary use “avoid” and “evade” are interchangeable. In the tax world, however, there is a very clear distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion, a point highlighted by the Minister of Revenue’s remark about “legitimate tax avoidance” in the recent 60 Minutes programme on New Zealand’s Foreign Trusts industry.