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Maintaining your status as a tax agent

Find out how to apply to be a tax agent, the list of tax agents we maintain and why you may be declined or removed as a tax agent.

Applying to be a tax agent

If you're applying as an individual, you'll need to complete an Application to be listed as a tax agent or update a tax agent's details (IR791) form.

If you're applying as an entity, each key office holder will need to complete a Statutory declaration of a key office holder in support of an application to be a listed tax agent (IR768) form. This will need to be:

  • signed, witnessed and sent to us, and
  • attached to a completed IR791.

If you're a key office holder and want individual client listings you'll need to complete a separate IR791.

Who a key office holder is

Key office holders for the following include:

  • body corporate (other than a closely held company)
    • Tax manager
    • Chief Financial Officer
    • Chief Executive Officer
    • Director
  • closely held companies
    • all shareholders
  • unincorporated bodies
    • each member of the entity.

If the details of your key office holder changes you need to let us know within 12 months. This makes sure our list of tax agents is up to date.

If your entity doesn't have an IRD number you'll need to complete an IRD number application - resident non-individual (IR596) form.

You'll receive a notice of approval if your application is accepted.

Declining your application

We may decline your application to be a tax agent if you or a key office holder:

  • is an undischarged bankrupt
  • is a liquidated company
  • is a company under voluntary administration or in receivership
  • is not allowed by the Registrar of Companies to be a company director
  • has been notified of a breach by the disciplinary body of a professional organisation they belong to
  • has been convicted of any criminal offence involving dishonesty
  • has an unsatisfactory compliance record for any revenue, including outstanding returns or payments, or social policy administered by us, or
  • may adversely affect the integrity of the tax system.

Maintaining the list of tax agents

We're required by law to maintain a list of tax agents including key office holders. The criteria we need to meet includes:

  • adding tax agents to the list
  • maintaining the list, and
  • removing tax agents from the list when appropriate.

This list isn't published. Our account managers are responsible for this list.

Removal from the tax agent list

Where an issue is identified we'll try to resolve this. However, where the Commissioner agrees you'll be removed from the list. The following process applies:

  1. Our staff become aware of information that may affect your suitability to be a tax agent. They'll discuss this with their manager.
  2. This information is provided to your account manager who will consider if a formal review is required.
  3. If we decide to proceed with a formal review, relevant information is gathered and documented.
  4. A formal notice is issued to the applicant or tax agent by a Community Compliance or Significant Enterprises Services account manager after taking technical or legal advice where appropriate. If the person is a key office holder in an entity, eg, a partner in a partnership, the entity is notified and a separate letter is issued to the key office holder. This notice may include an offer of an interview.
  5. The interview with us isn't a formal hearing. It's an opportunity to openly discuss the concerns and identify an acceptable resolution, if possible. The person is invited to be represented by the professional body they're associated with, if applicable, or another representative.
  6. If the person is a member of a professional organisation, written advice of a decision to decline or remove a person from the list of tax agents and information about the decision may be issued to this organisation. Any decision to provide information is made by a group manager or deputy commissioner.
  7. A written record of the interview is made.
  8. After the interview and/or written submissions, all relevant facts are presented in a formal report with recommendations for next steps. This is reviewed by one of the Community Compliance or Significant Enterprises Services managers.
  9. Any decision to decline, withdraw or remove a tax agent is made by a staff member in a manager position, or above, with the delegated authority and is sent to the person in writing. The effective date of removal from the list of tax agents is the date of written notification.
  10. Where a person is removed from the list of tax agents their clients are contacted. Any current extension of time to file returns for affected clients are preserved in respect of those returns.

Approved advisor groups

The following organisations have received approved advisor group status to date:

  • The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • Accountants + Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand
  • CPA Australia
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

What an approved advisor group is

Under section 20B(5) of the Tax Administration Act 1994 (TAA), an approved advisor group is a group that:

  1. includes natural persons who -
    1. have a significant function of giving advice on the operation and effect of tax laws; and
    2. are subject to a professional tax code of conduct in giving the advice; and
    3. are subject to a disciplinary process that enforces compliance with the code of conduct; and
  2. is approved by the Commissioner for the purposes of this definition.

The group must be approved by the Commissioner before a tax advisor who is subject to an approved advisor group's code of conduct and disciplinary procedures can claim the right of non-disclosure on behalf of a taxpayer.

The Commissioner will exercise her power of approval at a high level of delegated authority having regard to the statutory requirements and such other relevant considerations as may be applicable.

For more information, go to our Operational Statement 18/02 Non-disclosure right for tax advice documents.