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Survey shows businesses spending less time on tax

Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse and Small Business Minister Craig Foss today welcomed a survey showing small businesses are continuing to spend less time on tax compliance.

“Inland Revenue’s emphasis on providing customer-centric services that enable businesses to spend less time on compliance and more on growth is paying dividends,” Mr Woodhouse says.

A recent Inland Revenue (IR) survey shows the median time SMEs spent within their business on tax compliance was 27 hours, 25% less than in 2013, while the cost of doing the work had reduced from $2076 three years ago to $1573, down by 24%.

“This follows similar reductions in the 2013 survey, when compared with the 2009 survey and is a great validation of the work IR continues to do to make tax obligations easier for businesses,” Mr Woodhouse says.

The survey also found the most time consuming part of tax compliance work for SMEs was recording information, which accounted for just under half the amount of time. The most time-consuming tax type was GST, which required a median of 14 hours’ work (down from 24 hours in 2013).

“While we have seen a decrease in the median number of hours businesses spend on GST, further improvements in the area are expected once a range of digital enhancements to GST filing are introduced early next year,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“The Government also recently announced changes which will streamline how businesses and payroll providers file PAYE information and I am confident these changes will see an even greater decrease in the time and cost being spent on tax compliance.”

Mr Foss says the Government is committed to delivering services and systems that make compliance easier and less costly for businesses.

“The tax system is a key issue for New Zealand’s small businesses — it’s consistently raised with me by business owners, local chambers and business associations up and down the country,” Mr Foss says.

“The Government continuously works to improve the economic and regulatory environment so business owners spend less time on things like tax and more time focussed on the business of being in business.

“This survey shows we’re heading in the right direction.”

For the full survey, visit