A portal was set up with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to support the administration of the Wage Subsidy and the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment. While the Wage Subsidy is administered by MSD, MSD relies on data held by Inland Revenue to verify applications.
The portal benefited customers as their applications could be processed more quickly. It benefits MSD through an improved ability to administer the subsidy, and benefits Inland Revenue as we’re receiving far fewer calls from MSD to validate information.
Initially, supporting Wage Subsidy applications was labour-intensive when applications needed further clarification. An 0800 number was established for MSD staff to connect directly with Inland Revenue. The level of verification needed was extraordinarily high, with 250 of our people on the phones on the busiest days. This meant diverting people from other work related to collecting of revenue and distributing of payments.
To support the extension of the Wage Subsidy, we developed a portal to allow MSD to self-service some queries. The portal opened on 11 June 2020, and allows approved MSD people to access the information they need directly. This has reduced the number of calls and the manual work and ensured efficient processing of applications.
To protect individuals’ privacy, MSD users had read-only access to the minimum data necessary to verify whether Wage Subsidy applications should be approved.
We already have extensive information-sharing arrangements in place with MSD through an Approved Information-Sharing Agreement (AISA). A memorandum of understanding was established to ensure that both MSD and Inland Revenue were clear about what data would be shared, and for what purpose, and that we had the legal authority to share the information with MSD. Both MSD and Inland Revenue are very conscious of keeping customer information safe.
This is an example of Inland Revenue making the information we hold available to another agency to enable that agency to do its work and serve the public efficiently and effectively.
- We hold information-sharing arrangements with more than 17 agencies.
- The Wage Subsidy portal we set up enabled MSD staff to verify applications from 35,000 employers.
You can read about the results from our approved information-sharing agreements.