Over the last week the we've heard about the predicament IRD is in currently.
A new system launched at the end of the financial year, a new parental payment system that's having to be manually processed ... all at the what we know is always going to be the busiest time of the year.
It's been frustrating for us accountants as well as clients, we've had assessments with strange numbers on them, the IRD online system has been randomly populating numbers in GST returns, we've had intermittent inability to log in and use services, lengthy waiting times, call hang-ups, and also tax notices sent to clients asking for payment when they had already paid their tax bills.
As accountants and tax agents we do get certain privileges, such as an extension of time to file tax returns, extensions for clients to pay their taxes and services and support managers assigned to ensure we meet filing targets. Given the current situation we hope those local support services are increased as it gives us some assurance we and in turn our clients continue to get a regular face to talk to.
If you are currently dealing with the IR services remember these people are probably going to be under a lot of pressure and it's not necessarily the person on the end of the phone that will be at fault. Equally, it's important IR consider the frustration taxpayers are having and that some consideration is given to the continuing delays.
If the services aren't working or keeping up and we cannot resolve those issues — should we be charged for those delays? — I think we have good cause to say we shouldn't. Here's some additional tips to consider.
* Pay and file taxes on time, remember there are alternative ways to file returns, online, through your accountant and finally paper-based
* If you speak to the IR get details of who you're talking to and make notes. If you can, get confirmation of the outcome sent by letter.
* Send in correspondence by letter or email if it's technical. Use secure mail via IR, then you have a digital record of the conversation which is harder to lose.
* Call into the local branch of IR if you're really stuck.