Skip to main content
Inland Revenue

Tax Policy

PUBLISHED 2 July 2003

Discussion document on tax dispute process released

The government has released a discussion document setting out proposals for improving the process for resolving disputes between taxpayers and Inland Revenue. The discussion document, which concentrates on the pre-assessment phase of the dispute resolution process, is the result of the first review of the legislative framework of the process. For more information see the government's media statement and the discussion document, "Resolving tax disputes: a legislative review".

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Revenue


Tax disputes discussion document released

Improving dispute resolution procedures between taxpayers and Inland Revenue is the subject of a government discussion document released today.

"No matter how good a tax system is, it is inevitable that there will be occasional disputes between taxpayers and the tax administration," Revenue Minister Michael Cullen said.

"The current disputes process, introduced in 1996, appears to be meeting its objectives - to improve the quality and timeliness of Inland Revenue assessments and to reduce the likelihood and grounds for subsequent litigation.

"The number of audited cases that are disputed is decreasing, as are the cases that are being litigated: Last year fewer than 1 per cent of cases audited by Inland Revenue gave rise to a dispute; down from 2 per cent in 1997.

"The discussion document concentrates on the interaction between Inland Revenue and the taxpayer to try to resolve disputes before they go to court.

"It sets out a series of proposals for further improving the process by ensuring that each step is completed according to the policy intent of the law, necessary documents are drafted to contain relevant information in an efficient way, and legislated time frames are consistent with today's business environment," Dr Cullen said.

Submissions on the proposals close on 5 September 2003.

The discussion document, "Resolving tax disputes: a legislative review", is published at

Patricia Herbert [press secretary] 04-471-9412 or 021-270-9013. E-mail [email protected]
Technical inquiries to Helen Mackenzie [tax advisor, Dr Cullen's office] 04-471-9728