IRD targets top 100 Kiwis on rich list

Monday 29 November 2004

The 100 wealthiest New Zealanders are being singled out in an Inland Revenue move that matches their tax returns to details in public records such as the rich list.

By The Landlord

"It's turned out to be a bad idea to be on The National Business Review Rich List," PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner John Shewan said of the move yesterday. Some of those affected – dubbed "high-wealth individuals" by IRD – felt they were victims of the "tall-poppy syndrome" for being successful, he said.

But IRD corporates national manager Spyros Papageorgiou said the response from the targeted taxpayers had been positive, with none refusing to supply requested information.

The department has created a special unit based in Hamilton to audit the 100 top "high-wealth" New Zealanders, who it believes control more than 3500 companies, trusts and other entities between them.

It is looking at individuals and families with total wealth of more than $50 million, or more than $20 million where such people have substantial property investments, complex business structures or pay little tax compared with their assets.

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