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The App4IR Challenge is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application.

App4IR frequently asked questions

App4IR Challenge

What is the App4IR Challenge about?

Inland Revenue has identified an opportunity to take a fresh approach to the way it solves business problems for its customers.

Inland Revenue is exploring a "crowdsourced innovation" process using a competition to identify great potential solutions and vendors for building and improving solutions, access and interaction with New Zealand taxpayers. This process complements the traditional approach of preparing a detailed set of requirements and identifying suitable vendors through an RFP process.

The App4IR challenge is open to any New Zealand residents to propose mobile app prototypes that incorporate any Inland Revenue services and have the goal of achieving more effective and efficient interactions between Inland Revenue and their "micro-enterprise" customers. See below for more information on "micro-enterprises".

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What does Inland Revenue expect as an outcome of App4IR Challenge?

The outcome for the App4IR competition is to find some great mobile app ideas for our small business customer segment, to collaborate with the winner of App4IR and roll out a functional mobile application for these customers.

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Who can take part in the challenge?

You can enter the Challenge as an individual or on behalf of a team or legal entity. Individual entrants and all team members must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of New Zealand. Current Inland Revenue and Creative HQ employees can’t enter the Challenge.

If you're submitting a team entry, each member of your team must be listed on the entry form and meet the criteria in the terms and conditions. If any member of a team doesn't meet the criteria the whole team may be disqualified. An individual may join more than one team.

You'll find all this information in the Competition Pack that is emailed to you after you register for the App4IR challenge.

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How do I submit an app concept for the challenge?

You'll need to complete and submit a registration form.

We'll email you a Competition Pack that includes an information pack, the terms and conditions and the submission form. You must submit your entry with a completed submission form (as per the instructions in the competition pack).

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What do I have to submit?

You should present your concept for a mobile app in the submission form you receive in your Competition Pack. There's room on the form to provide supporting material if you need to.

You can develop your concept to whatever level you wish. Your Competition Pack will includes links to help you demonstrate your concept, and technical guidelines if you want to build a prototype.

If you're chosen as a finalist, you'll be expected to present your concept in person to the App4IR panel of judges. We'll send more details about the presentation to the selected finalists when we announce them on 22 April 2014.

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Can I enter more than one submission?

Yes. Eligible individuals or organisations may enter as many times as they like. An individual may also take part on behalf of more than one team or organisation. If you submit two or more submissions that are substantially the same, we may disqualify one or more submissions or ask you to choose one submission only to enter into the competition.

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Do I need to customise my app to a specific mobile platform?

No. Your design can be designed and prototyped for any mobile platform. Once you register you will receive a detailed Competition Pack with further technical guidelines, among other information.

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Is Inland Revenue looking for something different or just a smoother way to achieve what customers can already do on the website?

Both. At one end of the spectrum, we're looking for better ways to present services, but we're equally looking for things we've never even considered before. We encourage you to be creative, you can make your proposal as unique and different as you’d like - we will consider all proposals.

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Do I have to provide images, a working prototype or a video as part of my entry submission?

Screen-shots, prototype and video of your app will help the judging panel better view and understand the functionality of your app. Having a working prototype of your app is highly encouraged. You should submit screen-shots and share a link to your prototype as recommended in the app description form. A minimum of 6 screen-shots, but not more than 12, is expected.

Video footage is not essential. However, if you choose to make a video, it should clearly and concisely illustrate your app design, and be no longer than 5 minutes. You may create a screen-cast or use a hand-held video camera to make your video, or choose any other method that captures the app design and functionality. Your video is not required to have audio, but narration helps the judges better understand and appreciate your app.

Please remember that your submission, including screens-shots and prototype, may be used in publicity and none of the material submitted should be owned by, or contravene the rights of, any third party.

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Do I need to provide functional or technical specifications of my app?

No, this is not required. However, if you are selected a winner of this Challenge, it would be highly recommended to have the specs available for the collaboration phase with us.

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What is the process of submitting my proposal?

By 5pm, April 14th 2014 we expect you to provide us with the information we have outlined in the PowerPoint template that you received with the Competition Pack after you registered your interest. Please use the submission form template provided. If you wish to send us your wireframes or designs via a link or by using some other online solution - feel free to do so but make sure to add the link and any required log-in information into the Submission Form. Once we have received and gone through all the submissions, we will announce the finalists of the competition on April 22nd. The finalists will be asked to pitch their solutions in front of the judging panel in Wellington on April 28th.

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What happens if my app is selected?

If you are selected as a finalist you will be required to present your app to a judging panel on 28 April 2014 in Wellington.

The winner of the Challenge will be selected by that panel and advised the same day. The winner will get $10,000 for the NZ rights to their app, and the opportunity to work with us to develop their prototype or design into a working application that can be used by New Zealand businesses. We will fund and resource the development project through an established programme of digital product delivery. The App4IR Challenge winner will be integrated into the project delivery in a role depending on their experience and technical capability.

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What about an API?

We don't need you to focus on integration right now - that information will be part of the collaboration phase. The ideas out of the App4IR Challenge will drive how we expose information through APIs - not the other way round. Essentially, we are looking for ‘outside-in’ ideas to help our customers.

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Is Inland Revenue open to the use of cloud platforms, or are you purely looking for a dedicated app?

We want to help out small business customer segment so whichever approach benefits the end users most will align most strongly with the assessment criteria.

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Will the Intellectual Property be owned by the submitter or Inland Revenue?

Intellectual Property will remain with the submitter of the idea. Inland Revenue will get a royalty-free license to use the app concept in New Zealand.

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What % of the small business customer segment uses accounting software (like Xero) which calculates your GST returns etc for you?

Inland Revenue doesn’t hold this information as accounting software packages are used independently from Inland Revenue systems. We suggest you explore some of the available information on the web for Xero and MYOB.

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What are the 3 most common mistakes this customer segment makes when attempting to comply with the Inland Revenue requirements?

For GST and PAYE the main theme is customers getting their calculations incorrect or showing the wrong figures. They sometimes also download the wrong form (for example they download an IR101 instead of a IR103. They correctly make a GAP payment for GST and Provisional tax, but because they have filed a GST return only, their provisional tax amount gets refunded). Some also have confusion with the debit and credit adjustments and get these around the wrong way.

For PAYE, its employers entering PAYE amounts on the EMS (employer monthly schedule), which don’t total to the payment amount they’ve made. The imbalance between the payment and the return then requires manual contact with the employer to confirm which figure is correct.

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How complex an app can you develop? What kind of resources does Inland Revenue have to develop this project into a functional mobile app?

Since the majority of NZ businesses are small businesses and tend to communicate with Inland Revenue and its services on a more frequent basis, we are determined to better their experience. The attributes of the app outcome of App4IR will be determined by the selected submission. We do have a technical team and resources committed to roll out the App4IR mobile app to our customer base, and how that team works with the winner of this challenge phase will be determined based on the capabilities of the successful individual, team or company.

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What is the most requested feature from Inland Revenue?

For small businesses, the most common request is: “what are my obligations?”. In other words, small business owners not knowing what they have to do to comply with the tax legislation.

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Do you agree/appreciate that having a cool idea does not equate to being good at developing enterprise grade apps?

We absolutely appreciate all incoming ideas. We have deliberately left the doors open for everybody to participate and hope to see submissions from small business owners who do not necessarily have a technical background and capabilities for developing the app. We really are all about finding the best customer solution and will consider all ideas submitted.

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Are there any usage patterns for Inland Revenue, i.e how often do people tend to interact with Inland Revenue?

Usage patterns vary across the customer demographics, type of business etc. The most common interaction types are making payments, filing GST returns, provisional tax and EMS (employer monthly schedule), doing PAYE.

Ninety-eight per cent of NZ SME’s have interacted with Inland Revenue in the past 12 months. We would encourage you to talk to some small business owners to get a better understanding of their communication with Inland Revenue.

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How technically realistic do our ideas have to be?

We are really excited to get the crazy ideas alongside the more sensible ones, and encourage you to test the boundaries. However, ultimately we are going to work with the top finalist to build out their concept, so it needs to be able to be possible.

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Have a query not listed here?

If you have a general or technical query you can send us an email.

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