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Inland Revenue’s work is important to the economic and social wellbeing of all New Zealanders. It’s our responsibility to make sure the Government has an effective revenue system that can fund public services people value like schools and hospitals. So it’s essential that we do our work in the best way possible.

Our work is underpinned by 3 beliefs that customers hold:

  • When I pay my tax, I’m doing a good thing (and that’s what people like me do).
  • When I’m trying to do the right things, Inland Revenue will help me.
  • When someone else is trying to do the wrong thing, Inland Revenue will find them.

Five years ago, Inland Revenue started on a transformation journey to become a modern, digital revenue system which could support current and future customers, putting them at the heart of everything we do. We wanted to make tax and payments simple, more certain and easier to get right, and enable our customers to do more for themselves, where and when it suited them.

Our transformation has made significant and positive changes to all aspects of our work—our processes, policy and technology, and how we work with our partners across government, the private sector and internationally—supporting customer beliefs and making a better revenue system for all. We’ve invested in the skills of our people so that they are ready and able to work in this modern, digital world.

In this Annual Report we share our work over the last 12 months, highlighting what we have achieved for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand. It is a lot.

Our work is motivated by knowing what we do makes a difference in people’s lives and 81% of customers find us easy to deal with.

He aha te mea nui o te ao
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

During the past year, New Zealand has continued to be dominated by the global pandemic and this has had a significant impact on our work. Our new systems meant we could respond quickly to legislative and policy changes, setting up a range of initiatives in a matter of days and weeks, to support the Government’s COVID-19 response. This helped many businesses stay afloat at a critical time for them. Moving at this speed was not possible before transformation.

Through investing in our online services, customers are now able to do more for themselves. We have also streamlined processes, such as for student loan customers and paid parental leave, which means there are fewer things for our customers to do or follow up on. The number of telephone calls we received fell 30% from the previous year, as many of the people who used to call us no longer need to. It’s a great example of how automation is freeing up time for people that may have previously been spent interacting with us.

Payday filing allows us to collect accurate information faster and helps people to pay the right amount throughout the year. We’re able to make adjustments to things like Working for Families payments, enabling people to have money when it’s needed through the year and not face an end-of-year debt or have to wait for a refund. This is making a positive difference for people whose income fluctuates throughout the year.

Under our old processes, many people who could claim refunds never did, as it was too complex and difficult. Since we introduced automatic individual income tax assessments many more people receive refunds they are owed. Around 90% of the total of $455 million in refunds issued by 30 June 2021 went to customers earning less than $70,000 annually.

Our technology and system changes mean we have better data and information about our customers. We’re able to use our new data and analytics capability to better understand behaviours and find more ways to help customers get it right. We’re also able to identify new areas of potentially fraudulent activity and then develop the appropriate compliance response.

We have continued to build the capability of our people. Through changes to our operating model, they now have capability-based roles and are encouraged to work in networked ways across Inland Revenue. They are also working more closely with colleagues across Government, creating new and different opportunities. We are committed to building a more inclusive and diverse organisation that better supports our people and reflects the communities we serve. This includes our commitment to Māori–Crown relations, guided by our Māhutonga programme of work.

We have asked a lot of our people this year and they have responded with resilience, flexibility and strength. Together they have successfully met all of the challenges of working in a changing organisation during a global pandemic. I am proud of them all and what they achieve every day for our customers.

The coming 12 months are an exciting time for Inland Revenue. With our last release planned for later in 2021, we will complete all the key elements of our transformation. We have already successfully integrated many of the significant changes from transformation into our business-as-usual processes and will continue to transition the final areas as we wrap up our transformation programme.

We have a huge opportunity ahead to make greater use of our new tools and analytics capabilities, processes and skills to further benefit our customers and the Government.

With more than 100 years of service to Aotearoa New Zealand, Inland Revenue’s transformation is built on a strong foundation. We are well placed to continue that service as a world-class revenue organisation all New Zealanders can be proud of.

Naomi Ferguson

Commissioner of Inland Revenue | Kaikōmihana o Te Tari Taake

Last updated: 01 Nov 2021
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