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We define customer opportunity as the ease with which a customer can comply with their obligations or access their entitlements.

Digital services enable customers to do as much for themselves as possible in a way and at a time that suits them. Millions of straight-forward transactions happen with no intervention by us, and provide customers with certainty sooner.

Number of contacts, in millions, by channel type between 2017 and 2022.
Contact channel 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Answered calls            
Correspondence - digital            
Correspondence - paper            
Front of house            
Gateway services       6 6 6
IR website 20 22 22 22 32 41
IR website - mobile 8 11 14 15 25 35
myIR - mobile     8 20 20 24
myIR - website 17 10 17 33 33 36
Self-service phone calls            

Over the last 5 years, significantly more customers have used our digital channels:

  • myIR sessions have more than tripled, from 17 million in 2017 to 60 million in 2021-22
  • website sessions nearly tripled, from 29 million in 2017 to 76 million in 2021-22
  • use of gateway services by businesses to interact directly with our systems increased from 2.6 million in 2016-17 to 6.3 million in 2021-22.

Our customers are increasingly using digital channels.

  • 98.7% of returns were filed digitally (income tax, GST and employment information returns).
Percentage of returns filed digitally between 2017 and 2022.
Year Percentage of returns filed digitally
2017 78.5%
2018 83.0%
2019 88.8%
2020 96.0%
2021 98.2%
2022 98.7%

Over the past 5 years, the percentage of returns filed digitally has increased by over 20 percentage points to 98.7% in 2021-22. Paper filing is now the exception.

Using myIR, customers can submit images of their donation receipts at any time during the year. Alternatively, they can send us paper records. At the end of the tax year, we automatically pay out refunds due to customers.

  • 79.7% of donation tax credit claims were submitted digitally.
Percentage of donation tax credit claims filed digitally between 2020 and 2022.
Year Percentage of returns filed digitally
2020 71.9%
2021 82.1%
2022 79.7%

This year, 79.7% of donation tax credit claims were submitted digitally, which is 2.4 percentage points lower than 2021. Compared to 2020-21, the total volume of donation tax credit claims submitted dropped by a third. This may indicate that tougher economic conditions are making it harder for customers to make donations.

We provide options for customers who get into debt, including paying off what they owe in instalments while they get back on track. Customers can set up an instalment arrangement themselves in myIR.

38.3% of instalment arrangements were set up in myIR.

Percentage of instalment arrangements set up in myIR between 2018 and 2022.
Year Percentage of arrangements set up in myIR
2018 14.7%
2019 15.3%
2020 32.6%
2021 41.4%
2022 38.3%

In 2021-22, over a third of instalment arrangements were set up through myIR by customers themselves, which is a small decrease from 2020-21. We know customers who set up their own arrangements are more likely to stick to them. More detail is available.

Customer capability

This case study looks at some changes we have made to help customers self-serve using myIR, our secure online service, and our self-service phone line. We continue to make changes to help customers self-serve where they can. It saves time as customers don't have to wait to speak to someone, and self-service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Upgrading our secure online service myIR

In October 2021, we upgraded our secure online service that's available to all customers, myIR. A more modern look and feel and simplified presentation of information, is making it easier for customers to focus on what is relevant and important. The layout adapts to fit the size of any screen so people can use myIR on any device. Simplified navigation is allowing customers to easily find and do what they need to do. Other improvements include the following.

  • A new action centre gives customers access to all their alerts to remind them when something is due and what they need to do.
  • Receiving carers of children see a more complete view of their payment information.
  • A new intermediary centre lets tax agents access their clients in several ways: through the client search screen, from the action centre or through their 'favourites'.

Surveys after the upgrade showed that:

  • customers liked the overview, summarising key information with simple navigation
  • key information was in 1 place and was easy to find
  • customers found it quite easy or very easy to do what they need - 80% of business customer, 71% of families customers and 70% of smaller intermediaries.
"It was all in one place and saved a phone call." Families customer.
"Easy to send messages, view history of transactions, details of transactions and set up direct debits." Individual customer.

We acknowledge that it may take time for customers to become familiar with the changes, and we have received feedback on areas that could be better.

  • Customers with complex situations find myIR more challenging, particularly customers who have Working for Families as well as child support. Only 56% of child support customers found it quite easy or very easy to do what they need.
  • More instructions or an online chat function would be helpful.
  • We could improve our correspondence, provide real-time updates and help with downloading or printing forms.
"Make it simple to find out how much child support I'm getting and what date please." Child support customer.
"Improving ability to print transaction pages, currently the column width cannot be adjusted like it used to and it cuts off some of the wording." Intermediary.

We will continue to improve myIR based on customer feedback and deliver any fixes required.

Improvements to our self-service phone line

Customers can use self-service on all our free 0800 phone numbers, and they can also call a dedicated 0800 self-service line. Customers just need to call and say what they want to do, for example 'tax refund' or 'student loan'. Self-service is easy to use, and the number of self-service calls has doubled to approximately 2 million a year over the last few years.

The technology upgrade as part of transformation has significantly improved self-service calls. Customers can use self-service to update their personal details, such as their bank account or address, find out about their refunds and payments, get an account balance, make payments, and much more. Before transformation, customers could only get details of their account balances.

Other improvements include the following.

  • Overseas-based student loan borrowers can find out when their repayments are due and what they need to pay. Before transformation, there were no self-service options on our lines for overseas-based borrowers.
  • Small Business Cashflow Scheme customers can find out how much they have left to borrow, what their loan balance is and when repayments are due.
  • Customers can find out if they are eligible for the new Cost of Living Payment, when the payments will be made and which bank account we'll pay them to.

To use self-service, customers just need to register for voice ID, which they can do by calling us. We use voice-recognition software, so voice ID is secure. Over 2.6 million customers are already enrolled.

We use 2 questions in our Customer Experience and Perceptions Survey to measure our customers' satisfaction. This survey asks customers to rate their experiences in interacting with us on a 7-point scale. Results represent customers who gave a score of 4 or more.

Statements and scores from the Customer Experience and Perceptions Survey.
Statement 2020 2021 2022
Customers who found it easy to deal with Inland Revenue 77% 82% 80%
Customers satisfied with their last interaction with Inland Revenue overall 78% 83% 81%

This year's survey results show customers were slightly less satisfied with us and found us slightly less easy to interact with than in 2021. These changes reflect the continued focus on providing COVID-19 support and responding to the demand for this support. We couldn't provide the level of service to all customers that we wanted.

Note: Results for 2021 have been updated from those reported in the 2021 Annual Report to reflect weighting recalculations.

We are committed to reducing the tax compliance costs to businesses. We survey small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to estimate the time they spend on complying with tax requirements and what it costs them.

  • On average, SMEs spend 31 hours each year on tax compliance activities.
Average hours SMEs spend on tax compliance from 2004 to 2021.
Year Hours spent
2004 55
2009 48
2013 36
2016 27
2018 27
2021 31

In 2021, SMEs told us they spend an average of 31 hours a year on meeting their tax obligations. That's 5 hours less than in the survey's baseline year of 2013. This recent increase is not unexpected, given the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses. SMEs have had to spend time applying for government support. The introduction of mandatory payday filing on 1 April 2019 means that businesses spend as much time complying with PAYE obligations now as they did in 2013. We've also encouraged them to stay on top of their compliance obligations by filing on time.

Improving our online services and website, and enabling customers to file from software, are making a difference to businesses. About a quarter of SMEs say these improvements are making it easier for them to comply with their obligations.

In 2021, more SME business owners agreed (60%) than disagreed (17%) that the time their business spends on tax matters was acceptable. This is a positive change since 2019, when 55% of SME business owners agreed.

Note: We conduct our SME compliance cost survey regularly. However, to reduce the burden on buisnesses as they were managing the impact of COVID-19, we delayed our 2020 survey until 2021. The survey will be run again in 2023.

Last updated: 19 Sep 2022
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