This note is not part of the order, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
This Order in Council is made under the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 and its effect is temporary. The order is deemed to have come into force on 24 February 2011 and expires on the close of 31 October 2011.
The order authorises the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to disclose information held by the Inland Revenue Department about a person to certain government agencies to the extent that this is necessary to enable the government agency to provide assistance to, or fulfil any obligation in relation to, that person as a result of the Canterbury earthquake on 4 September 2010 and its aftershocks.
Section 81 of the Tax Administration Act 1994 (the Act) imposes an obligation of secrecy on every officer of the Inland Revenue Department. A number of exceptions to this obligation are set out in section 81(4) of the Act. In effect, this Order creates a further exception to the obligation. This is necessary because the obligation of secrecy cannot by waived by the Commissioner or a taxpayer. Accordingly, without this Order the Commissioner would be unable to disclose information to other government agencies, even if requested to do so by a taxpayer.
The order contains 2 safeguards. First, the Commissioner retains a discretion to refuse to disclose information if the Commissioner considers that it is undesirable to disclose that information. Secondly, the order requires a government agency, and officers, employees, and agents of the government agency, with access to information that is communicated under this order to maintain the secrecy of that information and to not communicate that information to any person except as authorised by the Commissioner.