Leading credit data bureau and collections agency, Dun & Bradstreet, supports the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and The Treasury of New Zealand’s proposals to introduce legislation around greater business tax debt transparency to better protect the New Zealand business community.

Under the proposals, released today by the IRD, businesses with significant tax debts will be disclosed to credit reporting agencies, including Dun & Bradstreet. The move will give businesses a comprehensive picture of other businesses’ total financial position, enabling them to make more informed commercial decisions when providing credit.

Simon Bligh, CEO of Dun & Bradstreet in Australia and New Zealand, is unequivocal on the public interest benefits of significant tax debt disclosures.

“It is absolutely in everyone’s interest to see where risk lies in the business community so that New Zealand companies are equipped with appropriate information to make the best commercial decisions. Tax is essentially no different to any other form of credit risk, and we congratulate the New Zealand Government and the IRD on acknowledging this and kicking off this important initiative,” says Mr Bligh.

“The IRD rightly considers that such credit reporting agencies, given their experience in accessing credit information, and the strict governance rules they adhere to in handling this sensitive information, are the most appropriate channel to disclose tax debt,” he adds.  

Dun & Bradstreet considers the proposals a very important step in improving the transparency surrounding credit information, of which taxation is a key component, in the New Zealand market. By disclosing tax debt information to credit reporting agencies, both businesses and consumers will be able to complete clearer and more complete assessments of the risk underpinning their commercial relationships.

“While there are important privacy issues to consider, we see the proposals as an appropriate and much needed balancing of public interest versus privacy. These changes will ensure that organisations that pay their fair share of tax are not in placed at a disadvantage, through a lack of transparency, against those that don’t,” says Mr Bligh.

“We look forward to engaging with the Government, the IRD, and the business community on these welcome proposals. New Zealand is leading the region in this area and Dun & Bradstreet will play an important role in ensuring the changes serve the business community,” states Bligh.

The full proposal can be viewed at the link below: