What is an IRD number?
An IRD number is a unique identifier used for all government tax and benefits in New Zealand. If you don't have an IRD number, there are some things you're not allowed to do, for example to ask for any government benefits in New Zealand, but also and you will pay the highest level of tax on any income as a result. That's a whopping 45% of labor income, quite high in every sense.
In fact, this means that anyone working in New Zealand must have an IRD number. You may need one even if you do not live in New Zealand, e.g. if you want to buy or sell a property there or if you are subject to the income tax of this country.
Applying for IRD number
You must complete the form and be in New Zealand in person to apply for an IRD number (you cannot do this from abroad).
You must present the originals of two identity documents (such as a birth certificate or driver's license) and a legible photocopy of these documents.
Take the completed application form and accompanying documents to your nearest PostShop. This process is necessary to review your records and return the originals to you, then send your application form and photocopies to the tax office.
Once verified and processed, the tax office will send you your IRD number within 10 business days. It will be sent to your home address, but if it is an emergency, the tax office can tell you the number over the phone.
You can also request an IRD number for a child under 16 if you wish. In this case, the child will need a passport as described above, and must also provide a passport for you along with proof of your relationship to the child. It is possible to obtain an IRD number for your baby at the same time you register your birth if you are so well organized.
What if I don't have a New Zealand IRD number?
If you are in New Zealand for work, you definitely need an IRD number to back up your tax returns. If you do not yet have the number, e.g. because you have just arrived in the country and have not yet cleared your IRD number; your employer must withhold income tax from 45% of your salary. Once you have received your Tax Number, you can make sure you are paying the correct amount of taxes and receiving the deductions for which you may be eligible.
You also need an IRD number to file a tax return, start a business or work as an entrepreneur, or if you want to buy or sell a home in New Zealand.
Finally, you need this Inland Revenue Number if you are looking for government services, such as a student loan, or want to join the KiwiSaver savings program. This is the government-sponsored austerity program that is used for the provision of old age or for people who want to save enough to buy their first home, for example.
As soon as you have your IRD number you are ready to start working in New Zealand.
You should tell all of your employers your IRD number to make sure that the taxes you deduct from your income are attributed to you. Now that you are paying taxes in New Zealand, it is important to look for the end of the tax year. At the end of each tax year, you can file your tax refund claim. This will ensure that all taxes paid in excess will be refunded to you.
Are you receiving Working for Families Tax Credits?
If you receive Working for Families Tax Credits, you must get IRD numbers for all children in your custody. This is necessary when the tax office completes its Working for Families assessment. Children with their own IRD numbers mean that the tax office can track who gets paid by whom.