How do I get an IRD number?
An IRD number is your personal tax number which you keep for life. If you do not have an IRD number, then income you earn will be taxed at a higher rate. The IRD website has a guide on how to get an IRD number.
What is a tax code, and how do I know what mine is?
If you are an employee, a tax code tells your employer what rate to deduct tax from your pay at. This is a letter code that represents your tax situation, for instance M means that the job is your main source of income, S means that it is your secondary source of income, and MSL means that it is your main source of income and you are making student loan repayments.
Tax codes are part of the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) system. If you need to find out what the tax code for your situation is, you should visit the IRD webpage on tax codes.
What are my responsibilities when paying taxes?
The Inland Revenue Department calculates how much tax you owe, but it is your responsibility to keep records of how much money you have made in a financial year and how much tax you have paid. It is your responsibility as a taxpayer to:
- work out the amount of tax you have to pay
- deduct any GST from payments or receipts if you are GST registered
- pay tax and file returns on time
- keep tax information, balances and records for seven years
- give information to the IRD when required
If you are an employee, this will generally be your employer's responsibility, and your responsibility is simply to give them the correct tax code. If you are a contractor and work for yourself, it is your responsibility to pay your own tax and file your own tax return.
Can I pay my tax bill online?
You can pay your tax bill online using the IRD online services section. To use the online services section, you'll have to set up a username and password on the website. To pay your tax online, you need an online bank account.
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How can I check how much I have been taxed?
There are a variety of different reasons why you might want to check up on how much you have been taxed. These might include if you think your employer has used the wrong tax code for your wages or salary, or if you suspect that you've paid the wrong percentage of tax on a contract job.
The easy way to check what you are being taxed is to request a personal tax summary. This will provide you with information for the previous financial year. You can request a personal tax summary for any of the previous five years online using the IRD Personal Tax Summary request page. If your personal tax summary is correct, then you can confirm this with the IRD.
I don't think I'm going to be able to pay my tax bill before the due date. What can I do if I can't afford to pay my tax?
If you don't think that you'll be able to pay your tax bill by the due date, you should speak with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to make some arrangement as soon as possible. Late payments can mean extra fees, interest and late payment penalty charges; the best way to avoid these is to contact the IRD early.
You may be able to arrange payment in instalments if you can't pay due to hardship situations such as the loss of your job, the arrival of a new baby, or illness. You may also qualify for one or more tax credits. You can contact the Inland Revenue Department to discuss your circumstances on
0800 377 774 or see their webpage for advice on what to do if you can't afford to pay your taxes.
If you need advice on how to organise the repayments, you can approach your local Citizens Advice Bureau for friendly advice and help finding a budget advisory service.
What is "unclaimed money" and how would I find out about it?
Unclaimed money falls into three broad groups - deposits of money, life assurance proceeds, and certain types of trade debts.
Money only becomes 'unclaimed money' after it has been held for a certain length of time. This could happen if you went overseas, for example, and had no postal address. The Inland Revenue website has a list of people and organisations for whom Inland Revenue is holding unclaimed money.
You can also find more information on how to investigate if you are owed unclaimed monies in the Inland Revenue Tax Information Bulletin Vol.5 #7.
If you think you are owed unclaimed money, you can ask the Inland Revenue Department to investigate by sending your request, your name, address, IRD number and proof of identity (for example a copy of a birth certificate, driver's licence or passport) to
PO Box 38222
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045
Or send the documents and details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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I just received my tax assessment from the IRD and I don't think it's correct. What do I do?
If you suspect that something may be incorrect, you can ask for a Personal Tax Summary from the IRD here, it's easy to do this online. You could be owed money or, alternatively owe the IRD money depending on their calculations.
If you find you've filed an incorrect return (for instance used the wrong tax rate for your income) you will need to put it right. See the Inland Revenue's guide IR280 for correcting errors on your return.
If you think something in your summary is wrong, the IRD has a Disputes webpage explaining how this should be handled. If you need details to be adjusted, you can submit a Notice of Proposed Adjustment to the IRD.
The Notice of Proposed Adjustment must include the details from your tax assessment that you would like to be changed, including the laws that apply to the situation, an outline of the facts of the situation, and the legal implications of the changes. You might need assistance from an accountant or your local Citizens Advice Bureau to complete a Notice of Proposed Adjustment.
What kinds of tax credit can I make a claim for?
Tax credits are a refund of tax you have paid during the year. There are several things that you can claim tax credits for, including
Donations to charity
If you make donations of more than $5 to a charity, school, university, overseas aid fund, or religious organisation that has been approved by the IRD, you can claim up to one third of the money back.
To see if your organisation is approved, check the IRD approved 'Donee Organisations' list. To make a claim, you will need a receipt from the charity organisation and to fill out an IR526.
Working for Families tax credits
You can apply for these if you have dependant children under 18. The package includes four different types of tax credit:
How much you get depends on your income and is given for each dependent child under 18
This is available to parents who work in aggregate more than 30 hours per week (or 20 hours if they are solo parents). It also depends on income and the number of children you have
Available if the family income falls below $400 per week or if your annual family income is less than $20,800 after tax
This is for people who cannot take paid parental leave. Depending on your income, you may be able to get up to $150 per week for the first 56 days after your baby is born
You can apply for any of the Working for Families tax credits using online services on the IRD webpage. For more information, see our section on Benefits.
Housekeeping or child-care
These tax credits are for people with children who require help with housekeeping or child-care. To find out more about claiming housekeeping or child-care tax credits, see the IRD webpage.
Independent Earner Tax Credit (IETC)
This tax credit can be received through your pay or at end of the year. It is for people who do not receive a benefit, Working for Families tax credits or New Zealand superannuation and are earning between $24,000 and $48,000.
The IETC entitlement is calculated on a whole month basis. The IETC is $520 for a full year, or $10 per week if you are not eligible for the whole year. The IETC decreases by 13 cents per every additional dollar over $44,000 up to $48,000.
To apply for the IETC, you just need to fill out an IR3 tax return including the number of weeks you were eligible. Alternatively, if you are an employee, simply fill in a tax code declaration (IR330) using the new tax codes ME or ME SL on your main source of income and give it to your employer in time for your first pay period. For more information, see the IRD IETC page.
Tax credit for income under $9,880
If you earned under $9,880 in a year, you can claim a tax credit for every week that you were in paid work for 20 hours or more. An example of this might be someone who left school halfway through the year and worked for the rest. You cannot claim both this tax credit and the Tax Credit for Children at the same time. For more information on this tax credit, see the IRD webpage.
Tax credit for children
If you are under 19, attended school at some time in the year, and earned an income from salary or wages, you can get the Tax Credit for Children. To claim this tax credit, you need to fill out an IR3 tax return. If you get it in on time, then the tax credit will be sent to you after the end of the financial year, which is 31 March. If you don't need to file an IR3 you can receive the tax credit by requesting a personal tax summary. You will need to ensure that your credit is added to your personal tax summary.
Redundancy tax credit
This tax credit is a tax credit for people who have been made redundant and have received a redundancy payment before 1 October 2011. The credit is not allowed for payments that are related to the retirement from employment or contract work, or that are paid to employees who are associated with their employer. To claim this tax credit, you'll need to provide the Inland Revenue with:
- Supporting documentation from your employer that show the amount of the redundancy payment received. This could be:
- A calculation sheet from your employer clearly showing how your redundancy payment was calculated; or
- Payslips that show the amount of the payment; or
- a signed letter from your previous employer that states the amount and date of your redundancy payout.
- a completed IR524 form
To learn more about the redundancy tax credit and apply online, see our section on Benefits or visit the IRD Redundancy tax credit webpage.
If you'd like to know more about tax credits, you should explore the IRD tax credits webpage or call them on 0800 227 774.
What is provisional tax?
If you have a tax bill of over $2,500 at the end of a financial year , you may have to pay provisional tax for the following year. Being a provisional taxpayer means you prepay your tax in instalments during the year, based on the tax you paid the previous year.
The number of times you need to pay provisional tax each year depends on the option you use to calculate your provisional tax, and how many times you pay GST (if you are registered). Unless you pay your provisional tax and GST at the same time, you will pay provisional tax in three instalments throughout the year.
If your situation changes during the year or your income cannot be reliably determined on the basis of your previous year, provisional tax can work on the basis of your fair and reasonable estimate. For example if you can see that your income will be less in this income year, you can call the IRD and say that you think you will be making less taxable income than the amount they used to calculate your provisional tax on. Be careful, because if your estimate is too low, you will be charged interest on the outstanding amount.
For more information on provisional tax such as payment dates, see the IRD webpage on provisional tax.