Inland Revenue is gearing up to take around 1.9 million calls between now and July – a 23 per cent increase on the same period last year – as the modernisation of New Zealand’s tax system continues.
With the third stage of the process rolling out over Easter, Inland Revenue has brought in and trained more than 300 temporary workers to help cope with what will be an unprecedented demand, says Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner Gaye Searancke.
“Our planning is all on track but we know it’s unlikely, given the scale of what we are doing, that we will get through this period without any problems or delays. But our goal is to keep them to a minimum.”
Inland Revenue has also taken action to improve online services in myIR. This followed issues customers experienced last year trying to log in and access the system.
An independent review has found nothing was fundamentally wrong with the technology but it did identify ways to fine tune and improve performance, and also make the service more resilient.
Gaye says last year’s log-in issues can’t be repeated.
“myIR will undoubtedly be under more pressure this year but we have taken action to ensure it will perform better.
“There are a regular series of operational checkpoints in place to keep holding us to account. These help us measure progress and assess readiness, and we continue to pass them.
“No stone is being left unturned. We’ve worked through 90,000 test scenarios to check the system is up to the job our customers expect from it. That’s around 40,000 more than we did ahead of last year’s release.”
Extensive marketing and communications to explain the major changes coming in Release 3 are underway.
“This will intensify over the coming weeks but we expect some customers still won’t understand what it all means for them and are likely to call us. That’s why we have more people on board to support our customers.
“These are the biggest changes to the tax system in a generation and most New Zealanders will benefit. We will receive more information earlier, which allows us to issue automated refunds and offer greater accuracy so fewer people are under or over paying tax," says Gaye.
“Payments, such as Working for Families will also be more accurate, meaning our customers will spend far less time and effort making sure we have the right information.
“These changes will be worth it and we appreciate everyone’s patience and support while we roll them out."