Stacey Kirk at Stuff reports:
Government cuts and poor planning have left more than 70,000 calls to IRD unanswered over its busiest tax return time, the Public Service Association (PSA) says.
IRD figures showed about 70,000 calls weren’t answered between June 25 and July 5 – the two weeks leading up to the deadline for filing tax returns.
During that period 164,000 calls were planned for, but more than 202,000 were received. Of those only about 131,000 were actually answered as the department struggled to cope with increased demand.
The PSA said there had also been a significant increase in the number complaints about the phone service.
National secretary Richard Wagstaff said it was frustrating for both the public and staff but was a “clear consequence” of budget cuts and bad decision-making.
I’m a bit surprised by those numbers as I was one of those callers towards the end of that period. I first registered on their new voice authentication system. You repeat three phrases three times and their system records your voice patterns. This means that for future phone calls, they have a higher confidence they have verified your identity, and can deal with more stuff over the phone.
After the authentication there was a delay until answering, but only one minute. The good thing is the IRD system now tells you how long the delay is which makes a huge difference.
Then once I got through to a staffer, she talked me through how to get a personal tax summary, and I managed to file my effective return online. It went very smoothly.