2013 amendment aligns the record-keeping provisions in the GST Act with recent amendments to the record-keeping provisions in the Tax Administration Act.

Sections 75(3), 75(3BA), 75(6) and 75(7) of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985

An amendment has been made to align the record-keeping provisions in the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985 (GST Act) with recent amendments to the record-keeping provisions in the Tax Administration Act 1994. The amendments to the GST Act:

  • allow the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to authorise the storage of a registered person's GST records offshore through applications from their service provider; and
  • allow the Commissioner to impose reasonable conditions for that authorisation.

Background

The purpose of the changes is to make it easier for taxpayers to conduct their GST compliance activities electronically and align the record-keeping provisions in the GST Act with recent amendments to the Tax Administration Act 1994.

The amendments to the Tax Administration Act allow Inland Revenue to authorise service providers (for example, a tax agent, accounting software provider or a data storage provider) to keep their clients records offshore, provided they meet the conditions set by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue's Standard Practice Statement SPS 13/01: Retention of business records in electronic format, application to store records offshore and application to keep records in Māori.

These amendments will help to simplify the new GST registration rules for non-residents.

Key features

Generally, a registered person is required to store their records in New Zealand. As registered persons are increasingly managing their taxes through payroll or accounting software, the use of offshore data storage for information, records and returns is growing. Previously, the Commissioner could only authorise applications from an individual registered person to store their records offshore. The amendments now align with recent amendments to the Tax Administration Act, to allow a data storage provider to apply to the Commissioner on behalf of their clients. This will make it easier for the registered person to store their data offshore if they choose. The Commissioner will also be able to revoke an authorisation, and has the flexibility to authorise the keeping of records in a different form if requested by a registered person or a data storage provider.

The SPS provides the administrative criteria for the authorisation under the Tax Administration Act. To avoid confusion and maintain consistency between the two Tax Acts, the administrative criteria outlined in the SPS also applies to applications and authorisations under the GST Act to keep a registered person's records offshore.

Under the new rules, registered persons will meet their record-keeping obligations only if they use Inland Revenue-approved service providers. However the ultimate obligation to comply with GST obligations will always rest with a registered person.

Application date

The amendment applies from 2 November 2012.