Making Tax Data Count – Uses in Official Statistics and Microdata Research
Michael Slyuzberg1, Neil Kelly2
1New Zealand Inland Revenue Department, Wellington, New Zealand; 2Statistics New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand

Official statistics form the basis for informed policy development and evaluation by central and local government, as well as underpinning decision making by businesses and the public. Data collected within the tax administrative system offers opportunities to complement existing sources of official statistics, to support wider uses of available data, or to minimise provider load within existing outputs.

This paper looks specifically at the use of tax data in official statistics, microdata research and policy evaluation in New Zealand. Assisted by an environment of close cross-government collaboration, Statistics New Zealand and the Inland Revenue Department work closely together in using tax data to create new, policy relevant sources of information and extract value from existing datasets,.

The paper will cover benefits to the official statistics system in New Zealand from the sharing of tax data. The legislative and collaborative environment which allows for this to happen will be described, as well as the systems and processes of data supply.

The discussion of benefits covers several examples showing how tax data is used in production of statistical outputs, reduction in compliance burden, data verification and quality improvements. Working with Inland Revenue, Statistics New Zealand has integrated tax data with survey and other administrative data to produce longitudinal datasets of businesses and individuals that allow robust economic and social policy evaluation. Examples of these products include a Longitudinal Business Frame, Linked Employer-Employee Data and a prototype Longitudinal Business Database. Further examples demonstrate resulting microdata research, which could not be supported by traditional sample survey based collections.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges faced and learnings gained after several years experience with increasing use of administrative data. This will also outline proposed future directions to maximise value from data already held by other arms of government.

Keywords: Official statistics; Tax data; Longitudinal data; Microdata research

Biography: Dr. Michael Slyuzberg is a Principal Advisor (Statistics) in the National Reserch Unit, part of the Corporate Strategy Group in New Zealand Inland Revenue Department.

Dr. Slyuzberg represents Inland Revenue Department in the Official Statistics System Officials Committee (OSSOC) – a body made up of chief executives' representatives from multiple New Zealand government agencies. In this capacity he coordinates relations between Inland Revenue Department and Statistics New Zealand.

Michael's professional interests involve applied statistical analysis and modelling, data confidentiality control, and use of administrative data in official statistics.

Dr. Slyuzberg is a member of the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) and the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA).