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Goodbye to paper-based tax returns

Wednesday 9th June 2010

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The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) wants increasingly to deal with taxpayers online rather than through paper tax returns and communications.

One of the largest single sources of postal volumes, IRD believes it could cut its costs and provide a better service by dealing with taxpayers digitally. 

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne announced today that the government is seeking public feedback on the proposed changes. 

The new approach also proposes that for some people PAYE would be treated as a final tax, with a reduced need for an end-of-year square-up. 

A discussion document, ‘Making Tax Easier', and an accompanying online forum, includes ways of simplifying PAYE and income tax returns for individuals and employers. 

"The proposed changes set out how people could self-manage most of their tax and social assistance entitlements such as Working for Families, using their own secure area on Inland Revenue's website," said Dunne.

"This would be done much like internet banking, making the whole process easier, faster and more certain for taxpayers." 

The ministers said government also wants to ensure that the tax administration system operates efficiently and delivers value for money. 

English said that for businesses, including employers and the not-for-profit sector, PAYE tasks such as filing an employer monthly schedule could be managed by software that automatically communicates with Inland Revenue. 

"Such a move towards electronic technologies would require all businesses to eventually move to electronic filing," he said.  

The government wants to hear from employers and businesses on these proposals, as well as the software development industry on how strategic partnerships might be developed to create the tools to help businesses move to an electronic environment.

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