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IR service survey
New Zealand’s Inland Revenue is providing better telephone service to members,
but there’s still room for general improvement.
BY LINDSAY NG CA, PETER VIAL CA AND CHRIS CUNNIFFE CA
Australia and New Zealand and Tax
Management New Zealand have
sponsored an annual Inland Revenue
Service Survey survey since 2010.
The most recent results, which are
shared with Inland Revenue (IR), show
members are enjoying the benefits of
some improved service.
The 2014 results show improved
telephone service, however some
other areas of service have remained
static. IR understands the need to
address concerns raised by taxpayers
and advisers. It also acknowledges
that changes can and should be
made as part of “business as usual”
and not postponed until its Business
Transformation project is implemented.
As in previous years members were
asked to rate their experience with IR in
four key areas:
• general information
• tax audits.
In 2014, 438 members holding either a CA
or ACA designation answered the survey.
Most of the respondents work in
public practice (56%), or for corporates
(30%), with a small number from the
not-for-profit and public sectors.
There was an overall improvement in
the ratings of the telephone service
with a significant reduction from 2013
in the number of respondents rating the
service as “poor” (14% in 2013 and 6% in
2014). The aspect of the phone service
contributing the most to this reduction
is the time taken to answer an enquiry.
This result is in line with the
significant reduction in complaints
about IR’s phone service that we
received directly from members in 2014.
Areas that members would most like
to see improved are time taken to answer
calls and access to more experienced and
knowledgeable staff. There was also some
concern about the inconsistent way in
which staff deal with issues. This highlights a
possible training or resource issue for IR.
The most popular sources of general
information sought or received from
IR were its website (95%) and Tax
Information Bulletins (66%).
Members were more satisfied in 2014
with the level of service in this area.
“Fair” ratings decreased from 15% in
2013 to 9% in 2014 and “good” ratings
increased from 41% in 2013 to 46%. The
improvements were spread across all
aspects of contacting IR for general
information: comprehensibility, ease
of use, and relevance to members’
Many participants commented on the
need to improve the search function on
There was little movement in member
satisfaction with IR processing services
in 2014 with 73% giving a rating of
“excellent”, “very good”, or “good” in both
2014 and 2013.
Members would like to see
improvements in speed and, if that
cannot be achieved, they would like
to be kept better informed about the
status of the return or review.
There was a positive trend from
the 2014 survey with respect to the
process, and consistency and accuracy
of processing. There was an increase in
satisfaction in both areas.
The 2014 survey results in the audit
section make interesting reading. In the
12 months ending October 2014 63% of
members in public practice had not had
an IR audit start on any of their clients.
In addition, 60% of members in public
practice, who had had contact with IR
about a tax audit, thought the frequency
of IR audits affected their clients’
This is consistent with the feedback
we receive directly from members and
suggests that more frequent audits would
help to improve compliance.
The number of audits reported by survey
respondents was especially low outside
the main metropolitan areas. IR has a
risk-based strategy for compliance which
includes a regional compliance strategy.
The proportion of members rating the
audit process as “excellent” or “very good”
in 2014 increased from 27% in 2013 to 40%
in 2014. The 2014 ratings are the same as
those in the 2012 survey. However, 33%
BONUS TABLET FEATURE INLAND REVENUE
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