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These tables show estimates of the number of individuals in bands of taxable income up to $250,000 (2001-2009), and up to $300,000 (from 2010 onwards). It also shows aggregate taxable income and income tax for people in each income band. The income and tax information are derived from IR3 tax returns, personal tax summaries, and employer PAYE information.

Graph of taxable income distribution

Graph showing personal taxable income distribution for the years 2001 to 2018.

Graph of aggregate taxable income declared by taxpayers in each income band

Graph showing the aggregate taxable income declared by personal taxpayers in each income band for the years 2001 to 2018. 


The years refer to income years ended 31 March. For example, 2018 refers to taxable income earned in the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. Tax returns filed more than two years after the end of the income year are not included in the table.

The 2017 table is now complete, but 2018 data will not be considered complete until after 31 March 2020. Data for the current tables was extracted from Inland Revenue systems on 15 July 2019.

The following people are included in the table:

  • anyone who filed an IR3 tax return for that income year, even if they filed a nil return or a loss
  • anyone who received a personal tax summary (PTS) for that income year
  • anyone who paid PAYE via an employer, including recipients of taxable welfare benefits, New Zealand Superannuation, earnings-related ACC, student allowance, and Paid Parental Leave

The table includes people with part-year incomes and can also potentially include children.

The following people are not included:

  • anyone with no taxable income, unless they also filed a return or received a PTS
  • anyone who did not file a tax return or receive a PTS because their only taxable income was from interest, dividends or PIES, and was fully taxed at source.

The data in the table is based on a random sample and has been scaled up to population estimates. The sample is 2% of wage and salary earners, and 10% of IR3 filers.

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 taxable welfare benefits, New Zealand Superannuation, earnings-related ACC, student allowances, and paid parental leave. This does not include KiwiSaver or PIE earnings.

Income tax for individuals is calculated based on their taxable income. The table displays income tax before any allowances for tax credits such as imputation credits or Working for Families tax credits. The low-income rebate (to 2009), independent earner tax credit (from 2010) and tax rebates on the IR3 and personal tax summary are applied, but the calculation does not include the donations, housekeeper or redundancy rebates. For people who are non-filers, income tax is calculated as if they had instead filed an annual return.