Who can help me manage my taxes?
If you want someone to file your tax returns for you (ie a tax agent), you have to choose someone who is registered as a tax agent with Inland Revenue. A tax agent can be an accountant, a tax refund business or another person or organization who is in the business of preparing tax returns - as defined in the Tax Administration Act 1994.
Usually you will have to pay a fee for their services, and they may take a cut out of any tax refunds you receive.
If you run a business consider using the services of a chartered accountant. They can manage your taxes and other business financial matters for you as well as deal with any issues that might arise with Inland Revenue.
Most chartered accountants are members of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand or the Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand.
If you use a tax agent or accountant you will usually receive an extension on your tax return deadline.
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What do I need to know about tax refund agents who claim to get me a refund for free?
Some tax agents market themselves as specialists in tax refunds. They can work out whether you are owed a tax refund. Usually they will charge you a commission calculated at a percentage of your refund amount - but may charge nothing if you are not due for any refund.
Consider doing it yourself - it’s straightforward for most individuals.
If you want to use a tax refund agent, shop around and ask them questions, such as:
- exactly what costs they will charge you for (including any fees from Inland Revenue which they may pass on to you);
- how to remove them as a tax agent, if you change your mind later;);
- how long you can expect to wait before receiving your tax refund.
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How do I check whether I am due a tax refund without paying someone to do it?
You might be due a tax refund if, in the last tax year:
- you earned less than $48,000;
- you worked part-time;
- you worked for part of the year; or
- had more than one job.
You can check whether you are due a tax refund, and / or request one, by following these steps:
1. Gather the preliminary information -
Collect receipts for donations, bank statements and any other documents relevant to the specific tax year.
You’ll need to know how much you earned in this period – if you don’t know this amount, you can request a Summary of Earnings. It’s easy to do this online - you just need to be registered on myIR. If you cannot use myIR call 0800 257 778 and Inland Revenue will send you your Summary of Earnings.
2. Calculate what your refund amount is -
If you are registered on myIR, you can use the online facility to work out what your refund amount is.
If you cannot use myIR, use Inland Revenue’s Personal Tax Summary Calculator or Personal Tax Worksheet. Both are on the IRD website, but you’ll need to find the one for the appropriate tax year.
3. If your calculations show that you are due a refund, request a Personal Tax Summary (PTS). You can do this online, if you are registered for myIR, or by calling IRD on 0800 227 774.
4. Check your Personal Tax Summary – it will show whether your calculations were correct, and what your refund will be (or, if you got it horribly wrong, how much tax you will need to pay).
5. If your refund amount is over $600, you’ll be asked to confirm your Personal Tax Summary. IRD will verify your entitlement and arrange for you to receive your refund.
6. If your refund amount is no more than $600 it will be paid to you automatically 15 days after the date of your PTS.
If you need to register for a secure IRD online account, call IRD on 0800 227 774 to get started.
More information about applying to IRD for a tax refund is on their website.
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What can I do if I have a problem with my tax agent?
If the tax agent belongs to (or used to belong to) a professional association, you can make a complaint about them to the association they belong to:
You could also:
Visit the Consumer Protection website for more information.