We have been made aware of clients being contacted directly by IRD for onsite meetings at clients' business premises. The meetings are set up under the guise of "we're here to help".
The meetings are not audits, but we know of situations where the meetings have lasted for more than an hour where the IRD staff have asked questions about operations as well as drawing comparisons on business performance from the past 10 years, feeling more like an interrogation than a friendly chat. In some cases, the IRD staff haven't been particularly friendly and have come across quite heavy handed. The meetings have been more of a "fishing expedition" than "we're here to help".
What is of more concern though is that tax agents have been left out of the loop by IRD about the meetings. We understand IRD staff have been directed to go straight to clients and not notify tax agents.
We do not consider it's appropriate that IRD contact our clients directly without informing us about a visit. We also want to remind clients that these types of meetings are voluntary. Clients have every right to reject IRD's proposal for these meetings if it's not convenient for them. It is also totally acceptable to ask IRD staff to contact us first.