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Extension of time arrangements

As a tax agent, any client you link will receive an extension of time (EOT) to file their income tax return. This allows you to "spread the load" of return filing instead of having one busy period.

However, if your client has two or more outstanding income tax returns they won't be entitled to an EOT. To see if the EOT can be reinstated contact your account manager before you file your client's return. Otherwise they won't have the benefit of the 7 April terminal tax due date.

All "section" references made on this page are to the Tax Administration Act 1994 (TAA).

Filing guidelines and dates

Interim guidelines and dates are provided each year to help you meet the requirement to file 100% of clients' income tax returns by 31 March.

The standard interim guidelines and dates are:

  • 40% of returns September
  • 60% of returns November
  • 80% of returns February
  • 100% of returns 31 March.

The due date of each target is generally the second Friday of the month, however for the exact interim guideline dates please see the Extension of time (EOT) arrangement (IR9XA) for the relevant year.

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Negotiated filing dates

If you've filed less than 90% of your clients' returns as at 31 March, you'll receive a caution from your account manager who'll supervise your filing performance for the next return filing year. While you're still required to file 100% of clients' returns by 31 March, your account manager may negotiate new interim guidelines and dates that better suit your business.

There may be other situations when there are genuine reasons why you won't meet an interim percentage.

In all situations:

  • contact your account manager as soon as you realise you may have difficulties meeting the performance guidelines.
  • have a business plan, that over the filing year, enables you to achieve at least 90% of your clients' returns filed, with the requirement of 100% in mind.

The date for the final requirement of 100% will always be 31 March due to section 37(5) of the TAA.

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Interim performance and L letters

After each interim date we'll send you a report detailing your overall filing performance and a breakdown by return type. You can use these reports to confirm you're on track to meeting your filing requirements.

You can also get a client listing (AMBR1000) through the tax agents' self-service line 0800 456 678.

Client late providing information - L letter

If a client is late in providing you with all the necessary information to complete their returns, you can request a reminder L letter through our tax agents' self-service line on 0800 456 678.

The letter, issued in our name, reminds your client of their requirement to provide you with their information to file their tax return.

L letters are only available for the current year, with a current EOT, and with no overseas client address. They also can't be used for back years.

L letter availability

L letters are usually available between early August and 15 February. You can request an L letter during this time by calling the tax agents' self-service line on 0800 456 678. Make sure you have your client's IRD number and current postal address handy.

See a sample of the L letter

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Final performance and D status

When you achieve a filing performance of 100% by 31 March we'll send you a certificate of your great achievement.

If you haven't been able to achieve 100% at 31 March, your account manager will discuss the reasons why.

Clients who have D status, and clients who have been sent an L letter but are yet to file the return, are excluded from your filing statistics and performance letters.

Late filing for reason beyond tax agent or client control - D status

Sometimes there are valid reasons why a return can't be filed by 31 March. In these situations we'll change your client's EOT status to D (deferred) if they currently have a valid EOT or an L letter issued. If there is a valid reason why a return can't be filed please contact your account manager.

We'll delay following up outstanding returns for any clients who have D status. This gives you and your client time to resolve the matter and file the return as soon as possible afterwards.

Examples of valid reasons include:

  • difficult personal circumstances (eg, serious illness) involving the client
  • unavoidable difficulty or delays in obtaining third-party information
  • pending legal proceedings
  • ongoing investigation into unresolved tax matters in previous years that affects the year to be filed
  • other non-personal circumstances beyond the client's control (eg, major computer systems failure, major fire, flood) where the client's records are damaged or destroyed.

We'll also take the above criteria into account if they affect a related entity and you expect flow-on effects. Please provide your account manager with the related entity's IRD number and name.

We monitor clients with D status to follow the progress of their returns. If there's a further delay in filing please contact your account manager. Otherwise, we'll start taking actions to have the return filed.

D status is available for the current year only. It can't be used for back years.

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Returns outstanding after 31 March

We'll withdraw a client's EOT for the following tax year if their return isn't filed by 31 March. We'll send you and your client notification of the withdrawal, however your client's EOT is not withdrawn until after the late filing penalty is applied.

If we don't hear from you about an outstanding tax return, we'll contact your client directly to discuss their options.

Returns that are left outstanding can result in:

  • late filing penalty charges (under section 139A of the TAA)
  • a default assessment (under section 106 of the TAA)
  • prosecution (under section 143A of the TAA).

An AMBR1001 report will be sent listing all outstanding income tax returns for your clients.


The Commissioner is entitled to consider prosecution where a person knowingly doesn't provide information (including tax returns and tax forms) to the Commissioner when required to do so by tax law. Generally we'll seek to prosecute where voluntary compliance goals can be promoted by taking legal action.

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Withdrawing a tax agent's EOT

If your filing performance was less than 90% for the last two consecutive years your EOT may be withdrawn. We'll issue a notice advising we're considering withdrawing your EOT and invite you to discuss your circumstances with your account manager. If your EOT is withdrawn we'll take follow up actions on any outstanding returns.

Your EOT won't be withdrawn if:

  • we haven't followed the procedures set out in this agreement
  • you haven't had sufficient warning (proper negotiations should have taken place before we consider withdrawing your EOT)
  • there are circumstances beyond your control (eg, you've had major health problems or computer problems).

We'll inform you of our decision in writing. If you disagree with the decision or you consider you've been treated unfairly by your account manager, you can ask for your case to be considered by the Customer Services Manager, Community Compliance.

If you're making an appeal, please include:

  • your agency name and IRD number
  • a contact name, telephone and fax number
  • your reasons for appealing against your EOT being withdrawn, or reasons why you've been treated unfairly
  • the reasons given by us for the withdrawal of your EOT
  • copies of any letters or documentation to support your case.

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Adding partners and setting up separate lists

If your agency has a number of partners, they can be set up as representatives of your agency in our system. This lets us issue separate reports for each partner's list of clients, which may help administration of client lists for EOT purposes, particularly for large agencies.

It's important you keep your agency's details up to date so each partner receives the correct client list. You can update your agency's details by calling the tax agent's line or your account manager. This includes setting up separate client lists for each partner, adding partners and changing your IRD number.

When you file a client's income tax return by E-File and you have a current agency list with us, that client will automatically be linked to your agency number for income tax. We recommend you link the client before filing the return so you have immediate access to their information and our filing statistics are as current as possible.

If your agency has more than one client list it's important to use the correct IRD number and partner's software when E-Filing returns.

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Maintaining your client list

It's important you link or delink a client at appropriate times to make sure the benefits of your EOT are applied and their return goes towards your filing performance.

Linking a client

Make sure you link your client before their return is ready to be filed. There are benefits for doing this, including:

  • Your client's mail will start going to you (if you request this).
  • You'll be able to access your client's information in myIR Secure Online Services through the "Look at Account Information" service, or through our tax agents' self-service line.
  • Your client will be granted an EOT.
  • Any returns filed will go towards your filing performance.

Different rules apply to new clients who have outstanding returns for two or more years as they aren't entitled to an EOT for the current year.

Delinking a client

To make sure your client's return goes towards your filing performance, don't delink your client the same day you file their return. This is because our system updates delinking requests before lodgement returns.