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What are tax codes?

Tax codes help your employer or payer work out how much tax to deduct from your pay, benefit or pension.

You need to work out your tax code for each source of income you receive.

Tell your employer or payer what your code is otherwise they will tax you at the higher non-declaration rate of 45%.

You need to tell your employer or payer if your tax code changes.

Work out my tax code

You need a tax code if you receive salary, wages, income-tested benefit or other income which has tax taken out before you get paid. Your tax code might be different for different types of income. When working out your total income from all sources, do not include any losses you may be carrying forward from the previous tax year. The tax year is from 1 April to 31 March.
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Your tax code depends on your situation

Your main income

You have one tax code for your main income. The code you use depends on the type and amount of your main income.

Your secondary income

If you have more than one source of income you use a secondary tax code for your other income.

Do you have a student loan?

If you have a student loan you use a tax code that tells your employer to deduct your repayments.

Once you’ve paid off your loan you need to get a new tax code and tell your employer what it is.

Are you getting schedular payments?

Use the WT tax code for income from schedular payments.

Are you a casual agricultural worker?

Use the CAE tax code if you do casual agricultural work.

Casual agricultural workers are people who do casual seasonal work on a day-to-day basis, for up to three months. This includes shearers and shearing shed-hands.

Are you a recognised seasonal worker?

Use the NSW tax code if you’re a recognised seasonal worker, or hold a work visa as foreign crew of a vessel fishing New Zealand waters.

Are you helping with election day work?

Use the EDW tax code for income from election day work.

We might change your tax code

If we see that you're using the wrong tax code we'll ask your employer or payer to change it and notify you. We do this to stop you being taxed more than you should during the tax year or to help you avoid getting a bill at the end of the tax year. Talk to us if you disagree with our decision to change your tax code.

What are tailored tax codes?

Tailored tax codes help you pay the right amount of tax if your circumstances mean you often have a large tax bill or refund.

You can get a tailored tax code if your income comes from:

  • salary or wages
  • New Zealand Superannuation
  • Veteran’s Pension
  • a second job or other income over and above your main job
  • a benefit or ACC while you are working at the same time
  • an overseas pension that is taxable in New Zealand
  • business losses from previous years when you now earn salary or wages.

A tailored tax code lasts for up to one tax year.

If you get a tailored tax code during the tax year it will start on the date we approve it and end on 31 March.

Which tailored tax option is right for me

If you receive NZ Super

If you receive NZ Super, you can change your tax code through the Ministry of Social Development's website. 

Changing your tax code for NZ Super and Veteran's Pension

Last updated: 27 Sep 2021
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