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The tax year is from 1 April to 31 March. You'll need to file or approve your income tax return by 7 July. If you hire a tax agent to do your taxes, you may be able to get an extension. You'll need to organise that with them. Otherwise, filing after 7 July means you'll likely need to pay a late-filing penalty.

There are some situations where your tax year might be different from the standard balance date of 31 March. This is most common in specific industries. You'll need to apply to change your balance date.

Balance dates

New Zealand has a tax system where you self-assess your tax position. This means that, while some types of income allow you to pay tax while earning them, you'll still need to file or approve a tax return at the end of the tax year. It's a final calculation to see if you paid too little or too much tax during the tax year. To do this, you'll need to work out:

  • your tax residency status
  • if you're filing or approving your tax return by post or in myIR
  • whether your income was taxed or not during the tax year.

Work out your tax residency status

Your tax residency status is different from your immigration status. It determines how New Zealand's tax laws apply to you. You'll need work this out, as you can be either a:

  • non-resident taxpayer
  • New Zealand tax resident.

Tax residency status for individuals

Non-resident taxpayers pay tax on income they earn from New Zealand sources. This is why you'll still pay tax to New Zealand on, for example, work you do for an organisation in New Zealand or income you earn from investments in New Zealand, even when you're not in New Zealand yourself.

If you become a New Zealand tax resident, you might be eligible for a 4-year temporary tax exemption on most types of income you're earning outside of New Zealand. Otherwise, you'll need to pay tax on your worldwide income.

Temporary tax exemption

In both cases, double tax agreements might affect this. We recommend you check the lists and advice for specific types of income for non-resident taxpayers or New Zealand tax residents. These lists are also where you find out if any exemptions apply to your situation.

Double tax agreements (DTAs)

Tax for non-resident taxpayers

Tax for New Zealand tax residents

Choosing to file or approve your tax return in myIR or by post

At the end of each tax year, you'll need to do a final check to see if you paid too little or too much tax. If you've set up an account in myIR, we'll use this to send you either:

  • an income tax assessment
  • a request for more information - income tax assessment
  • a message to complete your tax return.

You'll also be able to update your contact, bank account and income type details in myIR.

If you do not have a personal myIR account, we'll send this information to you by post. It's important that you keep your contact details updated. You can do this by:

  • phoning us
  • filling in a Change of details - IR238 form and sending it to us by post.

You'll see contact numbers and forms under 'Other ways to do this' when you visit the pages in the 'Update my details' section. 

Register for a personal myIR account

Update my details

Your income is taxed before you get paid

If all your income is taxed before you get paid, we'll automatically calculate whether you get a refund or owe us tax.

My income is taxed before I get paid

We do your income tax return based on the information we have and send you an income tax assessment. This will show you how much you earned and the tax you paid during the tax year. Here, you'll see whether you have:

  • a refund
  • tax to pay
  • no tax to pay.

You'll need to check your income tax assessment. If only some of your income gets taxed before you get paid, you'll need to tell us about the other income you earned during the tax year. There are also a few expenses you can claim as an individual.

Change my income tax assessment details

Types of individual expenses

Your income is not taxed before you get paid

If some or all of your income is not taxed before you get paid, you'll need to tell us about that income.

My income is not taxed before I get paid

If we sent you an income tax assessment, you'll need to update your income details there. Otherwise, you'll need to file a tax return that matches your tax residency status. This is where you tell us the income types and amounts that you got during the tax year.

Change my income tax assessment details

Complete my Non-resident individual tax return - IR3NR

Complete my Individual income tax return - IR3

If you're earning income from self-employment, you'll be able to claim certain types of business expenses.

Types of business expenses

Getting a refund or making payments to us

If we owe you a refund, you'll need to make sure we have your bank account details up to date.

Update my bank account details

If you have tax to pay, you can see which payment option works best for you.

Ways of paying

Last updated: 03 Nov 2020
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