Support For FEC Inquiry

  • Bill English

Revenue Minister Bill English said he supported the inquiry into Inland Revenue announced today by Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee.

"The inquiry will succeed if it can improve relationships between the department and taxpayers. A number of issues have been raised recently about the way in which Inland Revenue works and the inquiry needs to get to the bottom of them.

"It is clear from the Terms of Reference that the committee has set itself a big job and I expect it will tax six to nine months to complete the inquiry.

"I am concerned about the risk to taxpayer privacy if individual tax cases are looked into by the inquiry. I believe the committee can do the job it has set itself without undermining the protection of taxpayer privacy. But to achieve that it must balance the current political interest in tax issues and the long-term interests of all taxpayers.

"There is a risk that some politicians will seek to use the inquiry for their own political ends. The inquiry will lose credibility if it allows that to happen because it must be seen to serve the wider interests of all taxpayers.

"Inland Revenue is in the midst of a number of major changes to the way it operates, which are designed to improve the services it offers to taxpayers. The key change is that after this tax year 1.2 million employees will no longer have to fill in a tax return. It is important that the inquiry does not hold up this important work," said Mr English.