Skip to Content

myIR, payments and more

About us
Mō mātou rā

Putting things right: Inland Revenue's complaints procedure

This information is for anyone who is not satisfied with the service provided by Inland Revenue. 'Service' refers to the quality and timeliness of the work performed by Inland Revenue.


There are some instances where you may disagree with how we have assessed your tax or child support. In these instances you may need to follow another disputes process. You can discuss this with one of our customer service representatives.

Inland Revenue's service charter

Our Charter sets out how we will work with you. We aim to provide an exceptionally high level of service and ensure that the principles outlined in our Charter are upheld. If you are not satisfied that we have done this, we want to put things right for you. We can also learn lessons from where things have not gone so well and ensure that we continue to improve our services.

Find out more about our Charter.

Making a complaint

We are committed to treating complaints seriously, dealing with them impartially and efficiently. We want to fix the problem and take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again. Your feedback will help us to improve our processes. To ensure your complaint is effectively resolved we suggest you follow the steps below.

Step One: Talk to us

If you are not satisfied with the service you have received, you have the right to make a complaint. We recommend that the first step is to try to resolve the matter with the officer or area you have been dealing with.

Step Two: Escalation to a Team Leader

Our staff will do their best to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction. However, if you are not satisfied with the solution you receive from our staff at Step One you may take your complaint to the next level and speak to a Team Leader.

Step Three: Contact Complaints Management Service

If we cannot settle your complaint at Step Two, you may contact the Complaints Management Service (CMS). CMS provides an impartial resolution service for customers who have been unable to satisfactorily resolve issues through usual business processes.

How to contact Complaints Management Service

  • Go to our online form to send a complaint through to CMS.
    • (Please note that although this form is secure and you can provide account specific information, we are not able to reply to you via email except with general information.)
  • Phone us on:
    • 0800 274 138 (Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm)
      Fax: (04) 890 4561
  • Write to us at:
    • Complaints Management Service
      Inland Revenue
      PO Box 2198
      Wellington 6140

Who will look after my case?

Your case will be assigned to a Case Management Officer who will liaise with the area(s) involved with your complaint. We will keep you informed of the status of the review and the outcome. We will also contact you if we require further information.

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get things put right. When you do contact CMS we will:

  • deal with you in a friendly and professional way
  • treat your complaint seriously
  • do our best to sort things out quickly and equitably (keep you informed), and
  • not treat you differently from other people just because you have made a complaint.

How long will my complaint take to resolve?

The length of time to resolve a complaint will vary depending on its complexity. Your Case Management Officer will discuss this with you.

Where to next

If, after following Steps One, Two and Three, you are still not satisfied with the way that your complaint has been handled, you may contact the Commissioner's Office asking for a review of your case:

The Office of the Commissioner
PO Box 2198
Wellington 6140
Phone (04) 890 1846

If, after all of the avenues above have been exhausted, you are still unhappy, you may ask the Office of the Ombudsmen to undertake an investigation. The Ombudsmen will usually expect you to have tried to resolve the issue with us first.

Go to the Office of the Ombudsmen's website.

Defined category Definition
Active customer

A customer with:

  1. any registered activity within specific time period, or
  2. a salary and wage earner whose only relationship with Inland Revenue is having PAYE deducted and paid on their behalf by their employer within specific time period.
Defined category Definition
Adjudication categories

Adjudication cases are classified (depending on the degree to which the position of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue was upheld) into the following five categories:

  1. decided fully for the Commissioner
  2. decided mostly for the Commissioner but not the full amount or grounds/reasons
  3. decided fully for the taxpayer
  4. decided mostly for the taxpayer but not the full amount
  5. decision unable to be reached on the amount of assessment.
Defined category Definition
Customers in debt

Individuals or entities with overdue debt amounts.

Defined category Definition
Entity type

Includes: companies, diplomatic missions, government departments, individuals, Māori authorities, partnerships, societies/clubs, superannuation funds, trusts, unit trusts.

Defined category Definition
Filing channel

We distinguish between three groups of filing channels:

  1. e-Filing (a system for registered tax agents to send and receive information electronically)
  2. paper-based filing, and
  3. web (online) filing.
Defined category Definition
Geographic area
  1. At detail level includes the following Inland Revenue district offices:
    1. Auckland: Manukau, Takapuna
    2. other North Island areas: Gisborne, Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei
    3. South Island: Christchurch, Dunedin, Greymouth, Invercargill, Nelson, Timaru
    4. "corporate" offices for customers not allocated to a specific geographic area.
  2. At aggregate level district offices may be combined into three major areas: Auckland, other North Island and South Island, as shown above.
Defined category Definition
GST turnover

GST turnover is calculated from GST returns as the sum of gross sales in the year ended 31 March.
For a two-monthly filer, this would mean the sum of gross sales on six successive GST returns, with the last return being for the period ending 31 March.
The GST tables only include GST collected or refunded by Inland Revenue. GST collected on imports by the New Zealand Custom Service is not included.

Defined category Definition

Customers not registered for GST or PAYE and not belonging to large enterprises (LE) and non-profit organisations (NPO).


  1. This includes individual customers receiving income from business (eg, rental property, shares) but not registered for GST or PAYE.
  2. Where there are overlaps between LE, NPO, SME and individuals, entities are allocated to the group with higher priority. The priorities are:
    1. large enterprises (LE)
    2. non-profit orgs (NPO)
    3. small and medium enterprises (SME)
    4. individuals.
Defined category Definition
Large enterprise (LE)
  1. A non-individual entity which by itself or as a part of a business group has a turnover exceeding $100 million (calculated based on GST101 returns), or
  2. an entity belonging to certain specialist segments as follows:
  • Crown
  • financial
  • high-wealth individuals
  • manufacturing
  • non-resident entertainers
  • non-resident contractors
  • resources
  • services.
Defined category Definition
Liable parent (formerly non-custodial or paying)

A parent who does not take care of the child on an ongoing basis, excluding those who are not paying child support but have debt in child support.

Defined category Definition
Non-profit organisation (NPO)

All entities exempted from income tax and not belonging to large enterprises with the following exemption types:

  • society club income < $1000
  • amateur sports clubs
  • charity
  • dairy herd society
  • district societies
  • scientific and industrial research
  • veterinary service clubs, or

all entities except building societies and friendly societies with "other" exemption type.

Defined category Definition
Overdue child support debt

The amount of an employer's or a liable parent's liability which is in arrears (due, but not paid), together with overdue receiving carer overpayments.


  1. Child support debt excludes debt New Zealand child support is collecting on behalf of overseas agencies.
  2. This amount includes any penalties applied to the debt. Note that only the overdue penalties component is recognised as a debt from the Crown perspective.
Defined category Definition
Overdue debt case age

The period of time after the debt case is opened.

Defined category Definition
Overdue debt cases

A debt case is created when a due date for payment has passed without full payment being made. Other overdue debt elements may be added as they become overdue. The case will close when all overdue debt has been fully resolved.

Defined category Definition
Overdue debt element

A specific tax type and time period for which a debt is due. A customer can have one or more debt elements.

Defined category Definition
Overdue student loan debt

The amount of repayment obligation for a tax year that has remained unpaid by a borrower after the due date.


  1. The definition applies to both residents and overseas based borrowers.
  2. This amount includes any penalties applied to the debt.
Defined category Definition
Overdue tax debt

The amount of tax that remains unpaid after the due date for payment. This includes any penalty and interest applied to the debt.

Defined category Definition
Overdue Working for Families Tax Credits debt

When recipients were paid more than their entitlement and consists of the remaining amount they fail to repay by the due date and any penalty and interest applied to the debt.

Defined category Definition
Percentage of payments made on time

A ratio of number of late payments to a total number of payments per tax year.

Defined category Definition
Percentage of returns filed on time

A ratio of number of late filings to a total number of filings per tax year. 

Defined category Definition
Receiving carer (formerly custodial parent)

A person is an eligible custodian of a child if that person:

  1. is the sole or principal provider of ongoing daily care for the child or shares ongoing daily care of the child substantially equally with another person, and
  2. is not living with the person from whom payment of child support is sought as the legal spouse of that person or in a relationship in the nature of marriage.
Defined category Definition
Registered customer

Registered customers include all customers registered with Inland Revenue, either individuals or entities.

Defined category Definition
Revenue collected

Includes only taxes and duties collected by Inland Revenue. Figures are unconsolidated.

Note: The Treasury publishes monthly financial statements prepared on a consolidated basis, meaning they eliminate tax transactions between departments, state-owned enterprises and Crown entities.

Defined category Definition
Revenue collected from Liable parents (formerly non-custodial or paying)

Includes all revenue collected within each tax year by Inland Revenue including payments related to other time periods.

Defined category Definition
Shortfall penalty

A penalty imposed as a percentage of a tax shortfall (a deficit or understatement of tax), resulting from certain actions on the part of a taxpayer. Shortfall penalties apply to most taxes and duties.  The exceptions are student loan repayments and child support repayments by liable parents.

The law divides these actions into five categories of fault or breach, with a specified penalty rate for each category (Lack of reasonable care, Unacceptable interpretation, Gross carelessness, Abusive tax position, Evasion).

Defined category Definition
Small and medium enterprise (SME)
  1. All entities with an active relationship for GST or PAYE that do not belong to large enterprises or non-profit organisations, and
  2. all non-individual entities without active registration for GST or PAYE not belonging to non-profit organisations.
Defined category Definition
Source deductions

Source deductions include:

  1. pay as you earn (PAYE), and
  2. ESCT (employer superannuation contribution tax), formerly known as the specified superannuation contributions withholding tax (SSCWT).
Defined category Definition
Tax agent

A tax agent prepares the annual returns of income for 10 or more customers in one of the following ways:

  • a practitioner carrying on a professional public practice
  • a person carrying on a business or occupation in which returns of income are prepared, or
  • the Māori Trustee.

A tax agent must be a registered Inland Revenue customer.

Defined category Definition
Taxable income

Taxable income for individuals is income on which their personal income tax is assessed for the March year.
For people with IR3 tax returns or Personal tax summaries, this is income from all taxable sources less allowable deductions and losses. People with negative income because of losses are recorded as having nil taxable income in the tables. For people who are non-filers, taxable income is assumed to be their total PAYE gross earnings in the year ended 31 March. PAYE gross earnings can include income from employment, and also taxable welfare benefits, New Zealand Superannuation, earnings-related ACC, student allowances, and paid parental leave.

Defined category Definition
Weighted overdue debt case age

The average age of the case elements weighted by their dollar value.

Defined category Definition
Working for Families Tax Credits

The Working for Families Tax Credits (WfFTC) consists of the following credit types:

  • CTC - child tax credit (was "independent family tax credit")
  • FTC - family tax credit (was "family support")
  • IWTC - in-work tax credit (was "in-work payment"), replaced child tax credit from April 2006. Customers who received child tax credit before 1 April 2006 and don"t qualify for in-work tax credit may continue to receive child tax credit
  • MFTC - minimum family tax credit (was - guaranteed minimum family income and then family tax credit)
  • PTC - parental tax credit.

Note: WfFTC was collectively known as "family assistance".