25 May 2019

IRD dishes out more than $80m in first week of automatic tax refunds

8:21 pm on 25 May 2019

Inland Revenue has dished out more than $80 million in its first week of issuing automatic tax refunds.

Stock photo.

IRD says the automated system for tax refunds and bills is "exceeding expectations". Photo: 123rf.com

The first two batches of automatic tax assessments have been issued by Inland Revenue this week with over $80m of refunds going out to taxpayers, along with just over $10m of tax bills to pay.

The deputy commissioner of transformation, Greg James, said the automated system, which went live on 26 April, is "exceeding expectations".

On Thursday alone, the new system catered for over 500,000 logins on myIR, almost double the number recorded prior to switching to the new system.

He said the old system would not have coped with that number.

"We were creaking and groaning at around 260,000 and at these sorts of levels, it really would have struggled.

"We are now starting to see really high demand and a lot of self-service in the new channels," he said, "which is what we are looking for.

"Our latest release hasn't been without its wrinkles and that's to be expected with a transformation of this size and scale," Mr James said.

"Tax agents, in particular, are playing a valuable role in letting us know when something isn't happening as they would expect. We're grateful for that contribution and we're trying to be as responsive as possible in making any enhancements or adjustments."

In its first week, 247,379 automatic assessments were issued, including 178,457 refunds and 29,080 bills to pay.

The total value of refunds paid out so far was $83.3m and there were bills to pay worth $10.4 million.

Mr James said more batches will go out each week between now and the end of July, when the process will be completed.

"We're really encouraged to see so many customers are able to get on with their business," Mr James said.

"I think we have a great platform to keep developing and making improvements so New Zealanders continue to get the world class tax system they deserve."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs