Nothing, they say, is as certain as death and taxes.
It seems the saying is true.
Yesterday the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee reported back the Taxation (Livestock Valuation, Assets Expenditure and Remedial Matters) Bill to the House.
The usual impenetrable tome of complex technical detail that only corporate lobbyists, tax accountants and hard-working Labour MPs bother to read.
This one was remarkable for what was NOT in it – the odious car park tax had been stripped out under pressure from us, unions and business groups.
Death and taxes may be certain, but there is no point having an annoying tax that costs more to administer and comply with than it actually raises.
The second certainty is that the IRD Call Centre is fast becoming a joke.
A friend just told me they had been on hold to it for an hour and twenty minutes this morning. I have had several experiences of close to an hour on hold. It’s enough to drive you spare!
It is fundamentally wrong that our tax system imposes stiff penalties for late payment and tax payers bear the full risks and cost of any errors when they are effectively denied access to their own tax information and advice because IRD cannot run a decent call centre.
If funding is the issue, it’s a false economy. The lost productivity must be staggering.
If its management incompetence, it needs a big tune up.
The third certainty this week is that the Minister of Revenue is under huge pressure.
Indeed, he may not be long in the portfolio.