Electronic RWT certificates, shareholder dividend statements and Māori authority distribution notices

2012 legislation allows RWT certificates, shareholder dividend statements and M?ori authority distribution notices to be made available electronically.

Sections 25(10)(e), 29(2)(e), and 31(2)(e) of the Tax Administration Act 1994

Section 25(10)(e) ensures that interest payers can make resident withholding tax (RWT) withholding certificates available on their websites, as long as the recipient agrees to receive the certificate in that way. This amendment has been made retrospective to 1 April 2002, to align with interest payers' current practice.

Section 29(2)(e) clarifies that companies can make shareholder dividend statements available electronically as long as the recipient agrees, and section 31(2)(e) clarifies that Māori authorities can make distribution notices available electronically if the recipient agrees.

Detailed analysis

Resident withholding tax withholding certificates

Interest payers are required to send depositors RWT withholding certificates at the end of the tax year.

Since 1 April 2002, interest payers have been able to send RWT withholding certificates electronically under section 25(10)(e) of the Tax Administration Act 1994, provided the depositor agrees to receive the certificate in that way. However, it was not clear that interest payers can make RWT withholding certificates available on their secure websites as well as via email.

In accordance with the original policy intention, section 25(10)(e) has been amended to ensure that interest payers can make RWT withholding certificates available on their websites as well as via email, as long as the recipient agrees to receive the certificate in that way.

Shareholder dividend statements and Māori authority distribution notices

Companies must provide shareholder dividend statements to shareholders when they pay a dividend.

The Electronic Transactions Act 2002 allows companies to meet the requirement to provide dividend statements to shareholders by making the statement available electronically to their shareholders (as long as the recipient consents to receiving the statement in that way).

Section 29(2)(e) of the Tax Administration Act 1994 has been amended to make this explicit for legislative consistency and ease of use.

The Electronic Transactions Act 2002 also permits Māori authorities to meet the requirement to provide Māori authority distribution notices by making the notice available electronically to the recipient, when the recipient consents to receiving the notice in that way. This has been made explicit in section 31(2)(e) of the Tax Administration Act 1994 for legislative consistency and ease of use.

Application date(s)

The amendment to ensure that RWT withholding certificates can be made available on a website applies to RWT withholding certificates provided on or after 1 April 2002 that relate to interest or specified dividends paid in the 2001-02 and subsequent income years. This date is the start date of the existing provision.

The amendments to the provisions relating to shareholder dividend statements and Māori authority distribution notices are effective from the date of enactment.