Evaluating New Zealand's Tax Dispute Resolution System: A Dispute Systems Design Perspective

Melinda Jone
Dispute Systems Design (DSD) involves an organisation's conscious effort to channel disputes into a series of steps or options to manage conflict. A number of principles for best practice in DSD have been developed by various DSD practitioners. However, to date, tax dispute resolution is not an area that has been examined extensively utilising DSD principles. Accordingly, this article seeks to expand the research on tax DSD through conducting an evaluation of the New Zealand (NZ) tax dispute
more » ... (NZ) tax dispute resolution procedures utilising DSD principles. This article is set against the background of the ongoing concerns expressed by various NZ commentators with respect to the operation of aspects of the current NZ tax dispute resolution procedures. This article finds that the NZ tax dispute resolution system meets a number of the DSD principles of best practice. However, various DSD deficiencies are also identified. These include, inter alia, a lack of multiple structural entry points to the system, limited ability to choose a preferred process within the system and an apparent deficiency in the visible support of the system by certain senior revenue authority members. Based on the DSD evaluation conducted, this article makes suggestions for possible improvements to the current NZ tax dispute resolution procedures. The recommendations put forward generally align with previous suggestions for reform made by NZ commentators.