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Individual income tax
Te take whiwhinga mo te takitahi

IR3 individual income return

What is an IR3 individual income return?

At the end of each tax year some taxpayers need to confirm the amount of personal income tax to be paid. This is done by filing an Individual income tax return (IR3). This tells us:

  • what your income was during the year
  • how much tax you paid on your income
  • any business expenses you claimed
  • whether you'll get a refund or have tax to pay.

Do you need to file an IR3 return?

You need to file an IR3 return if you earned income other than salary, wages, interest, dividends, and/or taxable Māori authority distributions. Other income includes:

  • rental income
  • self-employed or business income
  • overseas income
  • income from cash jobs or "under the table" payments
  • income from an illegal enterprise
  • royalties
  • more than $200 of schedular payments (formerly withholding payments)
  • estate, trust or partnership income
  • over $200 of overseas interest and dividends that did have tax deducted
  • overseas interest and dividends that didn't have tax deducted
  • income without PAYE deducted, such as shareholder-employee salary or a claim received under a taxable loss of earnings policy
  • allocated income from a portfolio investment entity that was taxed at a zero rate.
  • received portable superannuation or veterans pension (note that due to this late change the requirement to file an IR3 return is not shown in the 2010 IR3 return guide).

You'll also need to file an IR3 return if you:

  • have losses to claim or brought forward from the previous year
  • have excess imputation credits brought forward from the previous year
  • left or arrived in New Zealand part-way through the year
  • are filing a return for a deceased person to the date of death (if there is a requirement to file a return for the income year)
  • were declared bankrupt part-way through the year
  • changed your balance date part-way through the year
  • received allocated income from a portfolio investment entity that was taxed at a rate lower than your correct rate
  • choose to include dividends received from a portfolio investment entity listed on the New Zealand Stock exchange, in order to claim imputation credits.

Find out more about how to claim losses.

Use our online tool to find out if you need to file a return

From April, you can check if you need to file an IR3 return for the tax year just ended by using our online tool Work out my income tax filing options for tax years 2013 onwards under "Get it done online".

For tax years 2013 and earlier you can check if you needed to file an IR3 by using our online tool Do you need to file and IR3 return or receive a personal tax summary? under "Work it out".

Will you be sent an IR3 return?

We'll send you an IR3 return automatically by 31 May if :

  • we know that you earned any of the types of income above
  • you filed an IR3 return last year.

If you need to file an IR3 return and you or your tax agent haven't automatically received one by the end of May, you can file online or request a paper copy. See "Next steps" below for options for filing your return.

If we send you an IR3 return and you don't need to file one, please call us on 0800 377 774 and we'll update your details.

You may also need a summary of earnings

If you need to file an IR3 return and also received salary, wages, schedular payments (formerly withholding payments), benefits or taxable pensions you'll need a summary of earnings. This shows your income details and tax deductions from your employer or benefit payer. You'll need it to help you complete your IR3 return.

We'll send you a summary of earnings in late May of each year. If you need a summary of earnings and have not received one by the end of May you can get your earnings details from Look at Account Information.

If you have a tax agent who looks after your tax affairs, contact them first as they may already have your summary of earnings.

Filing your IR3 return

There are several options for filing your IR3 return. See "Next steps" below.

If you receive Working for Families Tax Credits

If you receive Working for Families Tax Credits from us we'll send you a change of circumstances form at the end of the tax year. This will show the family details we currently have for you.

You need to check the information on the form is correct. Write any changes on the form and send it back with your IR3 return, or use our My family details and income service under "Get it done online". We use this information to work out your Working for Families Tax Credits entitlement for the year.

If you have a student loan

If you have a student loan and file an IR3 return, we'll send you an end-of-year repayment calculation which shows if you have paid too much or if you owe anything.

Find out more about what happens at the end of the tax year if you have a student loan.

Filing self-employed or business income

When you run a business you must pay income tax on your net profits (your business income less business expenses).

At the end of the year you must complete and file an IR3 return. The return will indicate whether you are due a tax refund from us, or whether you need to top up your payments to ensure you pay the right amount of tax. If you have more than $2,500 of tax to pay on your return you may have to pay provisional tax in the next yera.

Find out more about provisional tax

Claiming expenses

When you own a business, some of the costs of running a business can be claimed as expenses for tax purposes.

These expenses can be deducted from your business income to give you your net profit.

Find out more about claiming business expenses

Getting it right

A map of New Zealand with a tick next to it

Send us your IR3 return on time and avoid penalties.

Take care when filling in your return.

Consider having it checked by an accountant before filing it with us.

Check that you have accounted for all your business transactions for the tax year.

IR3 return timeline

                Timeline for issuing, filing and processing individual returns
Date What happens
April IR3 returns sent.
May Summary of earnings sent or details available online through Look at account information service under "Get it done online".
IR3 returns and guides available online.
7 July IR3 returns due (unless you have a tax agent or extension of time).
After the IR3 return is processed Return acknowledgements sent, refunds and tax bills are processed.

Find out more

Next steps

 


Date published: 23 Oct 2013

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