INDEPENDENT NEWS

IRD Still Needs Overhaul - ACT

Published: Mon 20 Sep 1999 03:23 PM
ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today that the changes to tax policy announced by the Government were long over due.
"The changes announced today are another ACT achievement in Parliament.
"I'm pleased that after two years of working the issue through with the Minister he clearly now recognises that the IRD has been acting illegally and inconsistently in entering into instalment arrangements with taxpayers.
"However, the suggestion of changes to the hardship provisions is a sop. The reality is that the law already allows relief in the case of hardship but the Commissioner's approach is simply too hard-hearted and inhumane. His approach drove Ian Lee Mutton and his son Trevor to suicide.
"It's the culture of the IRD as well as the law that must be addressed. The present leadership of the IRD must be replaced and the government should follow the recommendation of the Law Society and re-reverse the burden of proof in favour of the taxpayer.
"It is wrong that the IRD can simply assert a debt and it is up to the taxpayer to prove their innocence. These are the real changes that we need to ensure that we have a tax system that is fair, that works and that people can have faith in.
"For three years Bill Birch has resolutely defended the IRD and tax policy against the facts of the desperate circumstances his policy and his department have put hundreds of taxpayers in.
"Taxpayers up and down the country will not be satisfied with tinkering. Politicians have to bear the responsibility for the absolute fear and loathing small business and the self employed have for the IRD and the IRD's treatment of the people in New Zealand who create the wealth and provide all the jobs.
"Sir William's announcements are a welcome tentative step in the right direction. The current penalties regime that says tax debts compound at a rate of 47% a year is, quite literally, killing taxpayers," said Rodney Hide.
ENDS

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