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Through transformation, we've aimed to reduce effort for all our customers. Approximately 90% of businesses in Aotearoa New Zealand have 5 or fewer employees and are less likely to have in-house tax experts or use a tax agent than larger businesses. We hoped they especially would benefit from transformation.

Improvements to our online services and website, and the ability for customers to file from software, are making a difference for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and providing greater certainty. Through their online myIR account, customers can file returns, make payments, advise us of changes in their circumstances, send and receive messages, and apply for support.

Since 1 April 2019, employers give us employment income information every payday. Straight-forward transactions, including their information and GST returns, are processed by our systems quickly. This gives smaller businesses certainty quickly that they've got things right.

SMEs now spend far less time on GST and income tax, but they spend as much time on PAYE obligations as they did in 2013, which is our baseline year for measuring changes. Also, while a lot of COVID-19 support has been available to businesses, they have had to demonstrate they are eligible for it when applying.

In a 2021 survey, SMEs said they spent 5 fewer hours on tax compliance, compared to 2013. While this is an improvement, it's below the target we set ourselves of 15 fewer hours. However, many more SME owners agreed (60%) than disagreed (17%) that the time their business spends on tax is acceptable to them.

We will continue to focus on supporting smaller businesses and designing our services to be low effort for them.

Check how effort has changed for small businesses over the years.

Medium customer time spent on tax compliance for small-to-meadium sized enterprises

Last updated: 13 Sep 2022
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