INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour pledges action on IRD report

Published: Wed 13 Oct 1999 10:51 AM
Labour supports the findings of the select committee inquiry into the IRD and will implement them in government.
"The recommendations are well-balanced and will provide a good agenda for the next Minister of Revenue," Labour revenue spokesperson Mark Peck said today.
Mr Peck was commenting on the release of the Finance and Expenditure Committee's report on the powers and operations of the Inland Revenue Department.
He said he was pleased as a committee member that they had been able to respond to the serious issues raised by submissioners to the inquiry while avoiding the knee-jerk populism represented by Act and New Zealand First.
"It is essential that public confidence is maintained in the tax and tax collection system. For that to happen, people must be confident that the IRD will be both rigorous and fair in its treatment of taxpayers.
"I believe the committee has got that balance right. It has decided that the burden of proof should remain with the taxpayer but has recommended a number of changes to underline the IRD's responsibility to be fair," Mr Peck said.
"These include an instruction that it should consider a past record of "good behaviour" when deciding whether to impose a penalty and discretion to waive shortfall penalties when it is satisfied the taxpayer has made an inadvertent error.
"At the institutional level, the committee wants the IRD's internal problem resolution service restored; a specialist tax adviser position established within the Office of the Ombudsman; and a board of directors appointed to ensure that the IRD's conduct in the exercise of its powers is desirable.
"Labour fully supports the report and undertakes today to implement it when we take over government after the 27 November election," Mr Peck said.

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