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For individuals & families
Te hunga takitahi me ngā whānau

When you can’t pay your debt

We will work with you to try and avoid this happening, but if we cannot reach an agreement we may go to court to resolve this debt.

If we’re successful the Insolvency and Trustee Service (ITS) will deal with all ongoing matters.

Personal insolvency

Personal insolvency options include:

They are all formal process’s administered through New Zealand Insolvency and Trustee Service (ITS).

Debt repayment plan (or Summary Instalment Orders)

A Summary Instalment Order (SIO) is a formal debt repayment plan with the people or organisations you owe money to (your creditors). It gives you extra time to pay back some or all of your debt - usually three years, though it can be more or less.

Who is an SIO for?

  • You can only get an SIO if you owe less than $47,000 in unsecured debt.
  • You must be unable to pay off your debts right now, but be able to make repayments towards them over time.
  • You can’t include student loans or child support in an SIO.

If you enter into an SIO we may write off some or all of your debt at the direction of the ITS.

No asset procedures

A No Asset Procedure (NAP) is for people who have debt (minimum $1,000, maximum $47,000) and for whatever reason find that their financial affairs have become unmanageable. It doesn’t have as many restrictions as bankruptcy, but it will have an impact on your credit rating.

Who is a NAP for?

  • You can’t apply for a NAP if you have been in one before or have been bankrupt before.
  • You must owe between $1,000 and $47,000 in total.
  • You must have no way to pay any of your debt.
  • You can’t include student loans, debts based on fraud and child support payments.

When the Official Assignee notifies us that you have met these criteria, we will write off any outstanding tax debts except those owed because of fraudulent activity, child support and student loans.


If you become bankrupt it means the Official Assignee has control over everything you own and can sell them to pay your debts. Bankruptcy usually lasts for three years and has impacts on your everyday life.

What changes when you are bankrupt?

  • Your IRD number.
  • Your refunds.
  • Filing your tax returns.
  • Permission to be in business.
  • Student loan is written off.
Your IRD number

You will be issued a new IRD number and you will need to contact anyone that holds your IRD number and provide them your new one, such as your employer and your bank.

Your refunds

Any refunds from us:

  • before you were bankrupt, will be paid to any debts
  • during bankruptcy, will be sent to the Official Assignee
  • after you're discharged from bankruptcy, will be used to pay outstanding child support before you receive any refund.
Filing your tax returns

If you were in business when you were made bankrupt you may be required to file a tax return. We will let you know.

Permission to be in business

You must ask for permission from the Official Assignee if you’re intending to be in business or self-employed. We will be notified if this is approved.

Student loan is written off

When you become bankrupt, your student loan will be written off. We'll send the Official Assignee any payments we receive for your student loan after you were made bankrupt.

What remains the same when you are bankrupt?

  • Your entitlements.
  • Child Support assessments.
  • Losses.
Your entitlements

You are still entitled to receive Working for Families Tax Credits, paid parental leave payments and child support payments during your bankruptcy.

Child support assessments

Child support will continue to be assessed as normal.


Losses can carry over to your new IRD number provided all your returns are filed up to the date of your bankruptcy. Once your returns are filed we will let you know the amount of loss to carry forward.

Once you are discharged from bankruptcy, if you have losses to carry forward we’ll let you know of any adjustments that are required to be made.

We are legally obliged to provide the Official Assignee any information they request regarding your financial affairs.

For more help

If you need more information please call us on 0800 377 774.

Our contact centre is open Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm, and Saturday between 9am and 1pm.