Security & strategy: online payments to transform Internal Revenue Commission


Papua New Guinea’s Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) recently established an online payment portal, ‘myIRC,’ as part of its strategy to take the country’s tax system online. Business Advantage PNG sits down with Commissioner General Sam Koim to see how it is going and discuss the IRC’s long-term strategy.

IRC’s Sam Koim. Credit: IRC via Facebook

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): What are the benefits of the new online platform for businesses in PNG?

Sam Koim (SK): For businesses, this is a significant step. Businesses have challenges visiting our office from wherever they are located and with the lack of proper document management systems. With this platform, they can pay and file online from the comfort of their office and or even their home.

All businesses need to do is register an account on the online platform itself and there will be a video and guidelines to follow. It’s easy and the transition has also been fairly hassle-free.

BAPNG: Following some recent high profile cases of online data security breaches, how do you plan to keep businesses safe in the midst of increased digitisation?

SK: The system provider that we partner with, Niupay, has a contract and secure arrangement with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is one of the top players in the business of securing data in the cloud. Therefore, data will be kept securely in the cloud and off the premises. We value our data and are very conscious of cyber security threats. So we have taken that journey with Niupay to assure ourselves that our taxpayers’ data can remain safe.

‘We’ve had a lot of challenges addressing GST fraud.’

BAPNG: How does this reform fit into your long-term strategy for the IRC?

SK: The vision that I had when taking office is for the IRC to become a robust, modern and efficient tax administration by the time my contract ends in 2025. Digital transformation is a core pillar of achieving this.

Our goal is to provide a digital ecosystem that can have inter-operability capabilities within the organisation. This will allow us to use data analytics and business intelligence to leverage the tax collections and compliance activities.

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At the moment, most of our manpower resources are concentrated on doing manual work entry, mostly in the area of clerical and data entry work. So, once these tasks are conducted digitally, we will be able to remobilise all of our resources and manpower to start conducting compliance activities like audits and inspections. That way, increased revenue collection and overall efficiency will be a natural consequence of the reforms we are undertaking.

BAPNG: In our recent PNG 100 CEO Survey, we encountered several businesses with issues surrounding GST refunds. What would your message to businesses be, regarding how this system works and how digital reforms can improve it within the coming years?

SK: We’ve had a lot of challenges addressing GST fraud. I have had to make changes to our strategies to make sure that those who are actually being refunded are the ones who deserve it. I do know the concerns are there, but we are doing what we can to address them.

Due to significant number of bogus credits, we have now installed a thorough vetting process which takes time. I would really appreciate it if businesses can have a little bit of tolerance and patience as we do so.

The way forward is to move further into that digital space, so that we can have the returns with the suppliers listing submitted in a structured data format. By building our risk-based verification process into a computer system, we hope to ensure greater efficiency and speed of this process in the future.


  1. Peter Johnson says

    Lets hope REFUNDS can be processed quickly too. Answers to queries. Clearances. From months down to days.

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