21 Feb 2019

Robin Oliver spoke to Lisa Owen about the tax working group's final report

From Checkpoint, 6:14 pm on 21 February 2019

One of the three dissenting tax group members Robin Oliver says the minority faction doesn't think the government should go the whole hog and adopt all the report's recommendations.

Former IRD Deputy Commissioner Robin Oliver was one of the 11 in the Tax Working Group.

Along with two others from the group, he believes the costs and bureaucratic red tape involved in adopting all the capital gains options outweigh the benefits.  

"We didn't agree that this was in the best interest of the country to go the full extent, particularly in the business area, taxing share gains which result in double taxation," he said.

"To get a valuation for all business assets in all parts business and all business will easily cost over a billion dollars in compliance costs. The amount of revenue you'll get is relatively minor."

As for taxing shares, Mr Oliver said it would result in New Zealanders who invest in New Zealand companies paying more tax when foreigners investing in New Zealand companies will pay no more tax. Furthermore, New Zealanders investing in foreign companies will pay no more tax.

"The obvious conclusion is New Zealanders will own less New Zealand companies and more foreign companies, and foreigners will own our companies," he said.

However, he said he would be happy for the tax to be imposed on rental or investment properties.

Of the revenue gained from the capitals gains tax, he said initially residential rentals would make up about 12.5 percent in the first year 2021/22.

"Ultimately, after 10 years, in 2030/31 ... 43 percent, almost half comes from residential rentals."

He said there would be little disruption of the tax system and "you wouldn't be penalising innovation, double taxing companies". 

The government should give the minority report as much consideration as they want, Mr Oliver said.

"I believe my judgement," he said, however, this was not just about the politicians, but the public too had to make up its mind.