Fight against tax rorts may be undermined by IRD shake-up, Labour fears

Experienced Inland Revenue staff may take off for pastures new, Labour fears.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

Experienced Inland Revenue staff may take off for pastures new, Labour fears.

Job changes proposed by Inland Revenue as part of its $1.7 billion Business Transformation programme could reduce its ability to fight tax avoidance, Labour fears.

Inland Revenue has contracted recruitment consultant Hudson Recruitment to provide it with assistance as it asks existing managers and legal experts to re-apply for dozens of new leadership roles.   

The tax department announced last month that it had reached decisions over proposed changes to more than 4000 of its 5647 jobs, with the bulk of between 1500 and 1947 job cuts expected to come in later rounds of restructuring.

Leaked documents show a raft of changes for 499 analysts, specialists, advisers and managers in what Inland Revenue refers to as "transition groups 2 and 3".

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They will have to express interest and be selected for new, different jobs at the department, a slide says.

Inland Revenue spokesman Rowan McArthur said recruiter Hudson Recruitment was providing support for the transition, but staff would apply directly to Inland Revenue for new roles. 

Labour revenue spokesman Michael Wood said "it would be interesting to know how much [Hudson] is being paid".

Labour revenue spokesman Michael Wood believes 86 Inland Revenue managers will have to apply through Hudson Recruitment ...
HUGH COLLINS/STUFF

Labour revenue spokesman Michael Wood believes 86 Inland Revenue managers will have to apply through Hudson Recruitment if they want to stay at the department.

A further 632 investigators in transition group 1 will be reassigned as "customer compliance" officers or specialists.

Wood said staff were concerned the new job titles suggested a "softer" role for tax investigators.

More specific concerns included a proposed $20,000 cut in the salary band for senior investigators, who will be paid between $86,049 and $116,419, with a "midpoint" of $101,234, he said.

"New staff will be recruited on to the lower rates with existing staff having salaries frozen for the long term," Wood said.

"It certainly represents a downgrading of this role."

McArthur declined to comment on the job changes.

"We are now in transition processes with our staff and we think it not at all appropriate to conduct any of that discussion other than directly with them. Obviously the unions are part of that dialogue," he said.

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Wood said specialist investigations team leaders appeared to be restricted in their options unless they applied for lower paid jobs as team leaders or technical specialists.

A raft of principal advisor roles for employees with expertise in company tax matters such as transfer pricing, international tax and corporate finance would no longer exist, he said.

The leaked documents indicated new opportunities might be available to them as "specialists", with an overall increase in the total number of roles available for staff in transition group 3 – who are mostly analysts and advisers.

But Wood said the new jobs available to principal advisers were mainly in salary bands that were $20,000 a year lower.

"There is a real worry that this loss of high-powered expertise will result in both poorer enforcement and poorer quality advice to firms seeking answers to complex issues," he said.

 - Stuff

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