A survey of businesses' attitudes towards the goods and services tax has found a generally positive view of the way GST is administered.

No tax is popular, and 57 per cent of the 360 respondents would like a lower rate. But 91 per cent consider the Inland Revenue administers the tax fairly and 67 per cent do not think the GST regime could be amended to reduce compliance costs.

The survey was undertaken by Auckland University PhD student Yunting (Connie) Lu.

A mix of large and small firms was surveyed, drawn from organisations such the Employers and Manufacturers Association and the Newmarket Business Association.


"The design of GST is conceptually pure so it is easier to operate."

Firms understand the way it is supposed to work and it works well. Businesses rate it easier to comply with than income tax and considered their purchase and sales record-keeping had improved since GST was introduced in 1986.

Nearly half the respondents had been subject to a GST audit, of whom 63 per cent said it had been resolved in a satisfactory manner while 5 per cent did not. Overall, 82 per cent of respondents considered IRD treated them with respect.

Professor Craig Elliffe of the Auckland University Business School said New Zealand's GST regime had long been regarded as the benchmark for international tax reform.

"Yunting's research shows that overseas countries should not only be looking at our GST rules but also how the IRD supports those rules in terms of its systems and published materials."