We have recently received a communication from IRD which is concerning & this is reproduced in part below:
Debt campaign – including clients of agents
We’ll be sending text messages to myIR customers with low levels of debt on the 10th of December.  This campaign will include clients of tax agents with 3 or less outstanding returns, so you may receive some contact from clients.The amounts due will relate to any account type except student loans or child support, be over 60 days old and between $200 and $10,000. Customers who are inactive or have debt that is already under arrangement have been excluded from the campaign.

Customers will be asked to set up a payment plan by logging into myIR, or to call us on 0800 951-758 if they’d like us to assist them. 

For your information, the text to customers will read as follows: “Hi IRD here. Need help to get on top of your tax bill? It’s easy to set up a repayment plan. Find out how at ird.govt.nz/instalments or call us on 0800 951-758”

This approach is wrong on so many levels:
  1. IRD frequently tells taxpayers they owe tax when no tax is due at that time. In MyIR there are amounts showing with orange exclamation marks but the tax isn’t actually due
  2. IRD has acknowledged that there are problems with the way debts are shown in MyIR
  3. Debts may be in dispute, there may be other income to return or expenses to claim that IRD hasn’t yet recorded, it may be pending tax pooling credits, or it may be payable but not until a future date
  4. The Commissioner has explicitly stated that IRD staff will not contact our clients and to do so would be a significant breach of protocol.  This and other campaigns are directly in conflict with the commissioner’s undertakings

If IRD contacts you please email the full details to us and we will review and respond appropriately, including letting you know whether you really do owe tax.

If you don’t get a message then you can ignore this.

Mark Brown