I’ve had a bit to do with government agencies in New Zealand making the move from a very paper based world to a collaborative and electronic one. Government 2.0 is a topic we’ve visited a number of times in the past.

The efficiencies, time savings and sheer ease of use to be gained from moving to an electronic way of interfacing with the government are very compelling and I’m stoked to be able to have a part, albeit a small one, in helping that shift occur.

Here in New Zealand (well, to be honest I’m sitting at Brisbane airport right now, but I’ll soon be back in EnZed) the Inland Revenue Department has launched a 6 week consultation process to seek input into changes it is considering that will alter the way it receives information from small businesses and individuals. Rod has posted more but in brief:

Over the next 2 years, it wants to transform a predominately paper based process to one which is entirely electronic. That means that all businesses and individuals will be required to submit their tax information electronically, either by themselves, or through an agent. What is very important to note in this change is the IRD has seen the innovation and private sector investment being made in small business solutions. Under this proposal it is effectively moving from a ‘retail’ relationship with tax payers to a ‘wholesale’ one. It will work with a number of intermediaries who will provide these services and connect to the IRD.

Rod’s take is (understandably) Xero-centric, but the gist of the matter is that this is a win/win situation. The Government will save money, private sector interests can provide tailored specific solutions and small business and individuals save time and money.

I think it’s awesome that the IRD is embarking on this initiative – unlike Rod I believe in New Zealand it is a little early for e-Government – but that notwithstanding, it’s imperative that Government agencies, generally slow to adapt, get to the forefront of this. So, swinging back to Rod’s post again, what will the impact of these changes be?

  1. All small businesses are now forced to either work directly through their own secure space on the Inland Revenue website or work with an agent who is connected. If they are not yet using an electronic system they will have to.
  2. Small business solution vendors, especially accounting and payroll suppliers will have to substantially modify their software over the next two years

This is an excellent initiaitve – no doubt there will be some interdepartmental politicing going on behind the scenes, and no doubt a number of people with ulterior motives and vested interests will have bruised egos as a result – ignoring all of that however, this is a move that is good for business and good for NZ Inc.

The IRD is seeking feedback on its website I believe it is imperative that individual businesses stand up and submit on these proposals – in situations like this the lobby groups and private organisations tend to have a particularly loud voice – small business needs to stand up and put it’s case also.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

4 Comments
  • Nice – some great e-government from NZ! http://diversity.net.nz/the-ird-goes-e-m

  • A little early for e-gov? I would say we are way late to the game. We should be well on our way to providing a lot more services of the internet to citizens. The work we are doing in the open government space shows we have a long way to go before government departments understand that providing open and free access to government services should reduce costs and allow some pretty great services to emerge.

    I for one can’t wait until we can hook into Companies Office, IRD and other departments via standard web services.

    • Glen – I’m not a hater, neither am I a pessimist – just like to bring a healthy dose of reality to proceedings. Anyway… there’s a bunch of businesses and individuals out there with no computer let alone an accounting system – all I’m saying is that policy needs to balance carrot with stick. Balance aspiration with exclusion. Get my drift?

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