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Requesting information from us

You can request information from us under the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993.

What types of requests for information you can make

As a government department, all the information we hold is subject to the Official Information Act 1982. You can make a request under this Act if you're a:

  • New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • person in New Zealand
  • corporate entity (a company or incorporated society) which:
    • is incorporated in New Zealand, or
    • has a place of business here.

We're also subject to the Privacy Act 1993. The Privacy Act promotes and protects the privacy of individuals and sets out principles for how agencies collect, use, disclose, store and give access to personal information.

Principle 6 of the Privacy Act gives individuals the right to request access to information about themselves that is held by an agency in New Zealand. This means that anyone can contact any government agency and ask to see what information is held about them.

How you can make a request for information

The information you need might already be publicly available. Before making a request for information we encourage you to check out our websites, which also include:

You can also access some of your information through your myIR Secure Online Services account. If you don't have a myIR account you should register for one. You'll be able to manage your tax, social policy and student loan matters, check your details and access any e-documents we've sent to you.

If you can't find what you need on our websites or in your myIR account, you can make requests for information by:

  • emailing for official information requests
  • emailing for personal information requests
  • calling us on 0800 775 247
  • writing to us at:

    Information Requests
    Inland Revenue
    PO Box 2198
    Wellington 6140

When you make your request, make sure you include:

  • that you're making a request for information
  • the information you're requesting, eg, documents or information on a particular topic created within a stated timeframe such as January 2016 to June 2016
  • your name
  • your preferred address for receiving information (postal or email)
  • a daytime contact phone number
  • your IRD number (if you know it) when requesting personal information - this will help us identify you and make sure we give you the correct information.

We'll always try to respond to your request using your preferred contact method. If we can't we'll let you know why.

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What we'll do once we've received your request for information

Once we've received your request, we'll acknowledge it and let you know our timeframe for responding. We'll respond as soon as possible after the day we receive your request and no later than 20 working days. Sometimes we may contact you to discuss your request so we're clear about the information you want. If your request is very broad, we may contact you to refine it.

If you request is for a large amount of information, or we need to consult with others, we may extend the timeframe to respond. We'll let you know if we need to do this.

The Official Information Act 1982 allows us to charge for supplying information in specific circumstances. If this is likely to happen we'll contact you to talk about it. Any charges will be in line with the Ministry of Justice Charging Guidelines.

If extending the timeframe or fixing a charge doesn't help us respond to your request, we may refuse to provide the information because it can't be made available without substantial collation or research. We'll talk to you about your request before we refuse it under this ground.

If we're unable to supply all the information you requested

We'll let you know why in our response by referring you to the specific section of legislation and explaining why it applies.

For more information on withholding grounds under the Official Information Act 1982 please refer to sections 6,9 and 18.

For more information on withholding grounds under the Privacy Act 1993 please refer to sections 7, 27, 28 and 29.

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What you can do if you're not happy with our response to your request

If you haven't received a response by the due date we gave you in our acknowledgement letter, or you disagree with our decision on your official information request, you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to investigate and review our decision.

Find out more about the Ombudsman and making a complaint

You can also have the decision reviewed by one of our staff members who wasn't involved in the original decision. This doesn't stop you from seeking a review by the Ombudsman if you're still not satisfied with our internal review.

If you disagree with a decision about your request for your personal information, you have the right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.

Find out more about the Privacy Commissioner and making a complaint

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Maintaining secrecy under the Inland Revenue Acts

Under section 81 of the Tax Administration Act 1994 (the TAA), our employees are required to maintain secrecy on all matters relating to the Inland Revenue Acts. Tax secrecy covers:

  • taxpayer-specific information, and
  • all information relating to the legislation we administer.

It helps improve compliance by reassuring taxpayers the information they provide us will only be used to administer the tax system. The TAA includes some exceptions to tax secrecy, for example providing:

  • taxpayers with their own tax information, and
  • information for the purposes of "carrying into effect the legislation", ie prosecuting people and entities that don't meet their tax obligations.

When we consider requests made under the Official Information Act 1982 that include information covered by tax secrecy, we must decide if any of the exceptions listed in the TAA apply. If they don't it's likely we'll refuse your request under section 18(c)(i) of the Official Information Act.

Common requests for information that aren't covered by exceptions and are likely to be refused include:

  • information about other taxpayers
  • detailed information about our enforcement activity
  • statistics that may allow the identification of specific individuals, entities or groups.

When we consider requests made under the Privacy Act 1993 that include information covered by tax secrecy, we must decided if any of the exceptions in the TAA apply. If they don't it's likely we'll refuse your request under section 7(2) of the Privacy Act. Requests likely to be refused include information:

  • about someone else
  • that isn't personal information about the requestor
  • that's evaluative material.