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Inland Revenue Department

Te Tari Taake

RELEVANT ACTS

The Commissioner of Inland Revenue is a statutory officer responsible for administering the following legislation (including amendments), known collectively as the Inland Revenue Acts:

  • Estate and Gift Duties Act 1968;
  • Stamp and Cheque Duties Act 1971;
  • Gaming Duties Act 1971;
  • Goods and Services Tax Act 1985;
  • Child Support Act 1991;
  • Student Loan Scheme Act 1992;
  • Income Tax Act 1994;
  • Income Tax Act 2004;
  • Tax Administration Act 1994;
  • Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994;
  • KiwiSaver Act 2006.

In terms of the Accident Insurance Act 1998, Inland Revenue collects ACC employee earners’ levies as a component of PAYE deductions.

FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Inland Revenue administers the Government’s tax system and some social support programmes (child support, family assistance programmes, paid parental leave and the collection of student loan repayments). The Department has a key role in administering the KiwiSaver retirement savings scheme, chiefly in collecting members’ contributions and passing them to providers.

The organisational structure, roles and functions of Inland Revenue are detailed below.

ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

Management Structure

Inland Revenue is structured around five main business areas:

  • Business Development and Systems (BDS);
  • Service Delivery;
  • Policy Advice;
  • Office of the Chief Tax Counsel; and
  • People, Capabilities and Governance.

Each area is headed by a Deputy Commissioner, focusing specifically on the roles and responsibilities of that area. The Commissioner of Inland Revenue (who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Inland Revenue) and the five Deputy Commissioners form the Senior Management Team.

The Senior Management Team provides the oversight of the organisational governance, and also ensures that the different parts of the organisation operate cohesively and contribute to the achievement of Inland Revenue’s objectives.

In addition to the five main business areas detailed above, there are two other business areas that report directly to the Commissioner. These areas are:

  • Litigation Management Unit
  • Risk and Assurance.

PHYSICAL STRUCTURE

National Office

National Office is responsible for the:

  • development of policy advice, in association with The Treasury, for Government;
  • design of services and products, that are ultimately delivered to the community through Inland Revenue’s field offices and call centres;
  • provision of public and private rulings, and adjudicating on disputed assessment cases; and
  • provision of strategic and corporate management advice to the organisation, and development of accountability documents for Parliament.

Field Offices

Inland Revenue's services are delivered to the community through a network of field offices, arranged into Service Centre areas. There are five Service Centre areas: Auckland North, Auckland South, Hamilton, Wellington and South Island. Each Service Centre is responsible for the services provided by the other offices located within its area. Inland Revenue also operates six call centres located in Takapuna, Manukau, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.

BUSINESS AREAS IN MORE DETAIL

Business Development and Systems (BDS)

Functions

The area is responsible for the following services and functions:

  • operational planning and reporting
  • design of proactive and reactive tax and social service programme; information and advice (except child support);
  • management of information technology systems and strategy;
  • corporate finance; and
  • support services.

Structure

The area is grouped into eight sections. These are:

  • Operational Strategy and Business Design (design of services);
  • Business Systems Management;
  • Chief Information Officer (planning for Inland Revenue’s systems and development and maintenance of systems);
  • Business Management Services;
  • Corporate Finance;
  • Social Assistance Programme;
  • BDS Human Resources; and
  • Planning, Finance and Monitoring.

Categories of Documents

The categories of documents held are:

Staff circulars and memoranda relating to the holding and retention of official information; publicity files, which consist of background and working papers on:

  • tax information bulletins;
  • information booklets;
  • background and implementation files on Inland Revenue’s role in the Student Loan Scheme and Social Assistance programmes;

Advertising files:

  • annual publicity files by campaign;
  • press release file;
  • letter-drop advice notices;
  • general publicity file;
  • project files, containing information relating to research into new initiatives;

Working papers relating to:

  • budgeting;
  • the recording and reporting of Crown Revenue;

Planning documents:

  • Planning Methodologies – documentation of departmental planning processes;
  • Performance Delivery & Monitoring Document – procedures for measurement and reporting of departmental outputs;
  • Business Continuity Planning Framework – framework document for business continuity planning;
  • Business Improvement Plan – lists initiatives to be undertaken by the Business Development & Systems Group towards business improvement;

Manuals, guidelines and other procedural documents:

  • information technology manuals and guidelines;
  • HR manuals and guidelines.

Service Delivery

Functions

This area is responsible for the delivery of Inland Revenue’s tax and social support programme services (including child support), through Inland Revenue’s field offices and call centres. It is also responsible for addressing customer complaints.

The area is responsible for the following services and functions:

  • delivery of proactive (e.g., tax advisories) and reactive (e.g. call centres) tax and social services programme information and advice;
  • undertaking enforcement activity (e.g., taxpayer audits and debt collection);
  • design and delivery of child support services.

Structure

The area is grouped into three main sections. These are:

  • Call Management (centralised delivery of Inland Revenue’s telephone services);
  • Field Delivery (includes Services Centres, Corporates, Technical Development and Technical Standards); and
  • Child Support.

Categories of Documents

The categories of documents held are:

  • taxpayer records;
  • child support files consisting of:
  • technical files containing information about certain aspects of child support;
  • publicity files, which consist of background and working papers on press releases, media issues, advertising and general publicity;
  • project file, containing information on the development of the policy, legislation, systems and procedures required to implement the child support system; and
  • statistical information in relation to child support.

Policy Advice Division

Function

The role of the Policy Advice Division is to advise the government on all aspects of tax and on social policy measures that interact with the tax system. It also:

  • forecasts tax revenues;
  • drafts tax legislation;
  • negotiates and maintains New Zealand’s network of double tax agreements with other countries; and
  • provides ministerial services.

Structure

The division is structured around the delivery of the following outputs:

  • tax and social policy advice;
  • revenue forecasting;
  • legislative drafting; and
  • ministerial servicing.

Categories of Documents

The Policy Advice Division holds files that include:

  • reports to the Minister of Revenue; and
  • background papers on legislation administered by Inland Revenue and on other matters relating to the work of the division.

Office of the Chief Tax Counsel

Function

This area is responsible for operating the adjudication process and the delivery of rulings requests.

The primary role of the Office of the Chief Tax Counsel is to provide an impartial and final review of a taxpayer's liability, where this is in dispute. The adjudication area also has a responsibility for identifying skill gaps and patterns of misapplication of legislation.

A key goal of the Office of the Chief Tax Counsel is to ensure that taxpayers receive consistent treatment in the resolution of disputes. To do this there needs to be a degree of independence so taxpayers are assured that they are receiving an impartial review of the tax in dispute. This independence is critical to the credibility of the adjudication function, and is the primary reason that it is structurally separated from the service delivery business area.

Rulings

The Office of the Chief Tax Counsel is responsible for developing binding rulings and other formal statements for internal and external customers, and for developing and communicating the department’s interpretation of the law arising from this process to customers.

Quality will be determined by ensuring that rulings comply with tax legislation and relevant case law, customers' turnaround expectations are met, decisions are transparent, and rulings are clear and relevant to the customer. It is also important that the rulings developed are not contrary to the results of the disputes resolution process.

Categories of Documents

The main categories of documents held are:

  • correspondence files containing papers relating to correspondence received;
  • policy files containing background papers relating to the development of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue's policy on the interpretation of the Inland Revenue Acts;
  • rulings files relating to the development of private, product and public binding rulings;
  • manuals, guidelines and other procedural documents; and
  • the Technical Rulings Manual, which contains technical explanatory material relating to the Inland Revenue Acts. This is maintained by the Office of the Chief Tax Counsel.

People, Capabilties and Governance (PC&G)

Function

This area ensures Inland Revenue has the right policies, infrastructure, organisational culture, learning environment, leadership and information to enable our people to achieve our desired future. PC&G also provides expert and proactive advice on strategic issues to the Commissioner and Senior Management Team and effectively manages key organisation-wide systems and initiatives.

Structure

The area consists of seven areas that work closely together because of the interrelated nature of strategic advice. They are:

  • Capability and Learning
  • Complaints Management Service
  • Corporate Communications
  • Corporate HR
  • Corporate Legal
  • Risk and Assurance
  • Strategic Development.

PC&G ensures strategic issues are not overlooked because of day-to-day demands, and that the Senior Management Team gets high-quality advice that focuses on the direction of the organisation. PC&G has a co-ordination role in developing the overall framework of management policies that all the business units will operate within.

Categories of Documents

  • market research material;
  • customer satisfaction reporting;
  • finance files consisting of:
    • data relating to all aspects of Inland Revenue’s financial management systems;
    • expenditure incurred by Inland Revenue, including reporting on that expenditure;
    • a register of assets held by Inland Revenue;
    • details of accommodation occupied by Inland Revenue; and
    • files and working papers relating to the above functions.

Litigation Management

Function

The Litigation Management Unit reports directly to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and is responsible for the management of tax cases, where the taxpayer disagrees with assessed tax liability. Litigation Management is also responsible for the management of judicial review and declaratory judgment proceedings involving Inland Revenue, and for maintaining an overview of Inland Revenue’s entire litigation effort, including prosecutions and insolvency proceedings.

Structure

Litigation Management is headed by the Director of Litigation, who reports directly to the Commissioner. The main activities of this area include:

  • Preparation and management of cases on behalf of Inland Revenue; and
  • Providing specialist litigation advice and support to business units undertaking investigations.

Categories of Documents

Apart from the temporary presence of the file of any taxpayer whose case is under consideration, the categories of documents held include:

  • A register of files referred for consideration;
  • A register of tax challenges, judicial reviews and cases stated;
  • Copies of decisions of the Taxation Review Authority and the courts; and
  • Copies of legal opinions.

Risk and Assurance

Function

This area ensures the effective development and implementation of sound risk-management and assurance systems and practices across Inland Revenue.

Structure

This area is headed by the National Manager Risk and Assurance, who reports directly to the Commissioner. The main activities under-taken are:

  • providing assurance that risk management practices are incorporated into planning processes; and
  • development of appropriate risk-mitigation strategies for those risks most likely to impact on the achievement of Inland Revenue’s outcomes.

Categories of Documents

Risk and Assurance does not maintain any categories of documents other than working papers of audits that have been conducted or are in progress and copies of papers used for administrative and training purposes.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Confidential Information

By its very nature, Inland Revenue deals with vast amounts of documents, forms, letters, and returns that contain information about an individual's, or other entity's, income or assets. The work of Inland Revenue and the information held is highly confidential and all employees are required to maintain a high standard of confidentiality.

Section 81 of the Tax Administration Act 1994 imposes on every employee of Inland Revenue the obligation to maintain the secrecy of all matters relating to the Inland Revenue Acts and the other Acts referred to in section 81(1)(a), except where it is necessary to make information available for the purposes of carrying into effect those Acts.

Section 81(4) lists a number of specific instances where the Commissioner may disclose personal information. Where a taxpayer, or their appointed representative (e.g. their tax agent), makes a request for their own personal information, the Commissioner has the discretion to provide that information. However, the information must be readily available and the Commissioner must be of the view that it is reasonable and practicable to release the information.

The Commissioner is also permitted to supply information under strictly controlled circumstances to a limited number of other public sector agencies.

CONTACT

National Office enquiries should be directed to:

Commissioner of Inland Revenue
P O Box 2198
Wellington

Phone: (04) 4721032
Website: http://www.ird.govt.nz

General enquiries or enquiries about your own tax affairs should be directed to the following toll-free numbers for all:

Business enquiries: 0800 377 774

GST enquiries: 0800 377 776

Employers enquiries: 0800 377 772

Personal enquiries: 0800 227 774

Family assistance enquiries: 0800 227 773

Student loan enquiries: 0800 377 778

Child support enquiries: 0800 221 221

Complaints Management Service: 0800 274 138