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Basics for everyone

Everyone needs to get these five things right to keep their tax life running smoothly.

We've included these details in our Compliance Focus because we work hard to make it as easy as possible for people to understand what they need to do in each of these areas.

This list is just a starting point. There could be other things you need to do to get your tax and entitlements right.

  1. Get your IRD number and keep it safe
  2. Use the right tax code
  3. Tell us when your details change
  4. Make sure you pay tax on all your income
  5. File and pay on time

1. Get your IRD number and keep it safe

Most people in New Zealand need an IRD number. If you're applying for Working for Families Tax Credits, everyone in your family (children included) needs their own IRD number.

It's really easy to get an IRD number for a newborn. You just need to tick a box on the form you complete to register your child's birth with the Department of Internal Affairs.

Once you have your IRD number, be sure to keep it safe. It's rare, but a few people have tried to use other people’s IRD numbers to get money they shouldn't. We don't want that to happen to you.

Find out more about getting an IRD number

Find out more about how to keep your IRD number safe

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2. Use the right tax code

Your tax code lets your employer know how much tax to deduct from your income. If you use the wrong code, you could end up with a tax bill to pay.

The tax code you need to use depends on how many sources of income you have and whether you have a student loan. There are also a few codes used in special circumstances.

It's up to each person to make sure their tax code is right. If you want to know what tax code you're on now, ask your employer. They should have your Tax code declaration (IR330) form on file.

If you receive schedular payments, your tax code will be WT and you'll need to decide what tax rate to use.

Find out more about tax codes

Work out your tax code using a simple online tool

Find out more about schedular payments

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3. Tell us when your details change

Keep us up to date if your contact details change in case we need to get in touch with you. This includes if you go overseas or come back home after a spell overseas.

If you receive Working for Families Tax Credits or pay or receive child support, it's important to let us know if your income or family situation changes. These changes can have an impact on what you pay or receive. Keeping us up to date helps you avoid getting a bill to pay later.

When you want to tell us about a change in contact details, income or family situation, the fastest and easiest way is to update us online.

I need to update my address and phone number

I receive Working for Families Tax Credits and need to update IR about a family or income change

I receive or pay child support and need to update Inland Revenue about a family or income change

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4. Make sure you pay tax on all your income

Like most of us, you probably have a main source of income you pay tax on. This could be earned through employment or from self-employment or business income.

You also need to pay tax on any income you receive apart from this, for example:

  • rental income
  • income from cash jobs or "under the table" payments
  • royalties
  • estate, trust or partnership income
  • overseas income.

Working for Families Tax Credits and child support are both affected by the income you receive. Telling us about all your income now means you avoid getting landed with a debt to pay later on.

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5. File and pay on time

To make sure you can pay what you owe by the due date, it's best to plan ahead. Paying on time means you avoid penalties and interest.

There are lots of fast, easy and safe ways to make payments to us online. You can go to your bank's website, log in to internet banking and use their tax payment service. Or you can pay by credit or debit card on our website.

If you're overseas, you can use any of the fee-free international money transfer services listed on our website.

If you're finding it difficult to pay on time, you should contact us as soon as possible. You don't have to wait until the due date has passed to get in touch with us.

We collect taxes on behalf of government, which uses them to fund services that benefit the New Zealand community, like schools and healthcare. Most people pay what they owe. For those who don't, we follow up to help make sure everyone pays their share.

Find out more about how we help people file and pay on time

Use our calendar of important dates to help you plan to pay on time

Find out all of the ways you can make a payment to us

Find out about your options during financial difficulty