Better Public Services Result 9 - Case Study: Digital services cut tax costs and admin time for business
Inland Revenue is making it faster and easier for New Zealand businesses to manage tax. New digital services like myIR already help to cut time spent on tax, and Inland Revenue is working with other agencies to simplify more government processes and develop new services to support business.
“We know the majority of New Zealand businesses are small to medium and most have fewer than five staff,” says Naomi Ferguson, Commissioner of Inland Revenue. “Time spent on admin is time away from their business, so we’re continually looking at ways to reduce the effort needed, and make tax as easy and certain as possible.”
Naomi says a new digital service through the Companies Office will cut out duplication and save time and cost for business.
“From March, new companies can register as an employer with Inland Revenue when they incorporate their business through the Companies Office. Around 45,000 new businesses incorporate each year, and a significant percentage employ staff when they start up, so this is a real time-saver.”
Integrating employer registration for PAYE with company incorporation is one more way government agencies are working together to deliver better public services that support New Zealand businesses to succeed, by cutting the costs of dealing with government and providing higher levels of service.
Take-up of Inland Revenue’s popular myIR [see http://www.ssc.govt.nz/bps-result9-cs1] continues to grow, with more than 1.7 million users registered for this fast, convenient and safe way to manage their tax affairs. Online services like the employer monthly schedule and GST returns are ‘pre-populated’ with known information so there’s less data to enter, and information is accurate and up-to-date.
myIR – popular online tax tool for business
“ …it’s simple and fast, and you definitely know it’s gone through. When I send a payment, I know as soon as I hit submit, it’s done.”
“Reduces and avoids the paperwork. Saves me a lot of time.”
“ Very user-friendly, very efficient – we use it every day”
“That was easy – is that all I have to do?”
“Got my GST in on time at last! – only because IR reminded me with an e-Alert”
Naomi Ferguson says doing GST through myIR is much easier and faster, and businesses are responding to that.
“After 15 months of eGST, digital returns now exceed paper forms. Our GST ‘e-Alerts’ are helping business customers file on time, and we’re looking to expand e-Alerts to more tax types in future”.
Other Inland Revenue services that benefit business are growing too. Voice ID lets individuals identify themselves securely upfront, so they’re verified immediately on every call and can easily access automated self-services outside office hours, or help from staff. Almost a million users are registered for Voice ID, the highest per-capita enrolment in the world for a voice biometrics system.
‘Virtual hold’ also gets a tick: a typical response is “ … it’s great that you can leave your phone number and IR will call you back, rather than waiting on hold.”
New Zealand businesses are diverse and often need information outside regular business hours. New online videos from Inland Revenue provide basic information for small businesses on topics like expenses, GST, business structures and tax, provisional tax and depreciation.
Naomi says the short, animated videos are on Inland Revenue’s website, YouTube, and other sites such as Business.govt.nz. “Busy people can get the facts in just a few minutes anytime it suits them, rather than taking time out for one of our full business seminars. And it’s simple to check back for a reminder anytime”.
Since the first videos were posted in August 2012, they’ve had around 11, 500 views. Naomi says feedback has been positive and further business-help videos are being developed – along with other IR digital services.
“As Inland Revenue changes, we’ll continue to work with many agencies, including our Result 9 partners, to understand changing customer needs and develop better services for business” says the Inland Revenue Commissioner.
Through myIR, individuals and businesses can: