Inland Revenue publishes statistical data periodically, while protecting the confidentiality of individuals and organisations in our data sets. When releasing data we must comply with relevant legislation, including (but not limited to) the Tax Administration Act, the Privacy Act, and the Official Information Act.
The Tax Administration Act specifically requires us to not disclose either identifying information about any customer or any other information that would adversely affect the integrity of the tax system.
Inland Revenue does not publish data on specific customers. We take two initial steps to avoid individuals and organisations being identified:
- Data is anonymised, meaning identifying information is removed and there is no way to link the published information back to identifiable information.
- Data is grouped so that only summarised information is provided.
We may also need to take further steps before information is published. This could include:
- changing the way data is summarised
- not publishing information based on small populations
- suppressing (not publishing) certain values within a data table
- other methods as appropriate to the situation.
In some instances we may need to completely withhold information to protect confidentiality or if disclosure would adversely affect the integrity of the tax system. This is only done when other methods are considered insufficient.
Notes are added to published data if we have applied any confidentialisation treatment that could affect a user’s interpretation of the data.
Our data confidentiality methods are regularly reviewed and tested against Stats NZ guidelines found at data.govt.nz, and real-life examples, to ensure we continuously improve the way we use and publish data.