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Paying tax should not take a lot of work. This year, Te Tari Taake Inland Revenue has kept working to make filing and paying simpler and easier for customers. 

For many New Zealanders, the one time of the year they can expect contact with us is on their annual income tax assessment. We’ve been fine-tuning our approach since 2019 when we first sent out individual income tax assessments that automatically calculated customers’ returns. 

As at 30 June 2023, 3.2 million people had received a finalised automatic assessment. Preliminary figures at 30 June 2023 show 88% of the people who received one this year had nothing further to do.

There were fewer refunds and write-offs for customers who owed small amounts. More customers received a bill with tax to pay for a range of reasons. You can read more about this here.

People receive payments they are entitled to enabling them to participate in society

We worked to keep the experience as stress-free as possible by letting people know ahead of time what to expect. As a result, fewer customers needed to contact us about their assessments. 

Improvements to this year’s process included proactively removing out-of-date income sources from people’s accounts. More than 160,000 additional customers were able to receive an automatic assessment. 

Careful scrutiny of last year’s assessments also enabled us to update income source data for another 100,000 customers, and issue assessments to them at the outset rather than their having to confirm their income. 

Through the year, we contacted 598,000 customers and their employers about their tax codes, including when our information indicated they were using the wrong code. Tailored tax codes were recommended for 74,000 customers to help get their tax right. 

In the lead up to income tax assessments, we reminded customers on social media and online advertising why some people receive an automatic assessment while others need to a file a return. 

Automatically calculated tax assessments as at 30 June 2023

  • 56% of customers sent an assessments got a refund or credit
  • 84% of total refunds went to customers earning below $70,000
  • 9% of customers had tax to pay, with an average bill of $511
  • 25% of customers had as debit that was written off because it was less than $50
  • 9% paid exactly the right amount of tax during the year.

Tax agents handle the tax affairs of a quarter of our customers. Their knowledge and systems are really helpful for people whose income is not taxed at source. We recognise their importance by providing dedicated account management and surveying agents weekly about their experiences.

This year, agents shared critical information with their clients, such as the relief measures we provided for people affected by weather events and the impacts of tax law changes introduced in April 2023. 

Tax agents’ overall satisfaction and their views on the ease of dealing with us have improved significantly over the past 4 years. Reasons why include quick responses to their queries, the practical and problem-solving approach we take and improvements to our digital services. 

As a group, tax agents want to ‘self-serve’ via our online services so we’ve been working to make this as easy as possible.

Across the year, our customers called us, wrote or emailed around 3.9 million times. We saw fewer overall contacts than in 2021–22 and customers continued to shift to digital channels. 

However, at times customers found it hard to speak to us or get a prompt response to their messages or emails. We adjusted resourcing through the year to prioritise assistance for customers who most needed it, for example families and those affected by the weather events.

To maintain our capacity, we have recruited additional staff, taken on temporary workers and offered overtime to our people. We are also modernising our voice channel and management of contact demands—a new platform will be in place in late 2023.

We know the experience our customers get when contacting us is a significant factor in their perceptions of Te Tari Taake. Overall satisfaction and customers’ views on the ease of dealing with us remained consistent with last year but lower than 2021. 

In our surveys, customers have acknowledged the convenience of our digital services and quality of service from frontline staff. Customers commented on our people’s knowledge and empathy when they needed to explain difficult matters and ‘going the extra mile’ to deliver solutions. 

There’s more about our customers’ experiences and their use of our contact channels here.

Customer opportunity

What our customers experienced

'Good evening. You have done it again. Like last year I am very impressed with the speed my tax refund was processed. The tax return was filed yesterday and the money was in my account today. Very impressive.'
Customer feedback from April 2023.
  • 65% found it easy to deal with us 
    • 2022: 65%
    • 2021: 67%. 
  • 69% were satisfied with their last interaction with us
    • 2022: 70%  
    • 2021: 73%. 
  • 67% of customers’ issues or queries were resolved at their first call
    • 2022: 70%.
Last updated: 18 Dec 2023
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