Obtaining an IRD number, also know as an Inland Revenue Department Number is relatively easy and straight forward. An IRD number is your unique tax number for use within New Zealand. It never changes and will remain the same. If you decide to come back to New Zealand one day, you would use the same IRD number. You must provide this to your employers or you will be taxed at the emergency rate of 40%. Unless you want to pay 40% in taxes, it is critical you get your IRD number to your employers before you even start working.
To obtain an IRD number, one first must be in New Zealand legally and be able to produce proof of this. Usually all you need is a print out of your working holiday visa number or working holiday visa stamp in your passport. Some countries such as the United States, do not get working holiday visa stamps in New Zealand, therefore, it is important to bring a print out of the visa. Other work right visas are acceptable as well as long as they show you have a right to work in New Zealand.
The following two categories are a list of what is needed in addition to your visa. You will need to bring a legible photocopy of each in addition to the original. If the visa is in your passport, you will need a photocopy of that as well. You must bring in one document from each category. This list is current as of November 2012 and is taken directly from Inland Revenues website. For an up to date list, visit Inland Revenues website.
Category A Documents:
- Full New Zealand birth certificate issued on or after 1 January 1998. Birth certificates issued after 1 January 1998 carry a unique identification number. If you hold a birth certificate issued before 1 January 1998, and wish to hold a birth certificate with a unique identification number, contact the Department of Internal Affairs
- New Zealand passport (please photocopy the pages showing photo, name and specimen signature)
- Overseas passport with New Zealand immigration visa / permit (please photocopy the pages showing photo, name, any pages showing current work, visitor permits, or residency documentation and a specimen signature) or call Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774 for exempt list (most common for working holiday visas)
- New Zealand emergency travel document
- New Zealand firearm or dealer’s licence
- New Zealand refugee travel document
- New Zealand certificate of identity (issued by Department of Labour or Department of Internal Affairs)
- New Zealand citizenship certificate
Category B Documents:
- New Zealand driver licence
- New Zealand 18+ card
- New Zealand student photo identification card
- A letter confirming registration as a student in New Zealand (if this document is used you must provide a document from category A that contains a photo)
- An “offer of employment” letter from your employer, on their company letterhead (if this document is used you must provide a document from category A that contains a photo)
- International Drivers’ Permit (issued by a member country of the UN Convention on Road Traffic)
- Overseas Drivers’ Licence (accompanied by an English translation completed by an LTNZ authorised translator, if not already in English) (most common for working holiday visas)
Now you know what documents you will use from each category, download form IR595 from the Inland Revenue website. The form is simple and straight forward, just follow the instructions and you’ll be good to go as there aren’t any real pitfalls to note of.
Once you have the IRD number form filled out, originals and photocopies from categories A and B, and a copy of your visa, head down to one of the following appointed verifiers to submit your application:
- Automobile Association (AA) Driver Licensing Agents
- PostShops and selected New Zealand Post retail outlets
I recommend going to a PostShop as you can open up a KiwiBank Account at the same time, which I will cover in my next article.
Once you have lodged your application for an IRD number, they say it will take 8-10 business days. In my experience, it takes longer. If you need your IRD number sooner, the next business day you can call Inland Revenue at 0800 377 774 and get it over the phone. Although you get a card in the mail with your IRD number, you will not need to present it to your employers, only the actual number. I recommend calling them otherwise you could be waiting a long time to get your IRD number in the mail. The sooner you get the number, the sooner you will start being taxed at the proper rate and not the emergency rate of 40%.
As with any unique identification number, never give it out to anyone who doesn’t need it. In New Zealand, only the following should be given an IRD number and no one else. Protect it so no one else uses it because if they use it too, you will be bumped to the next tax bracket which isn’t good for your wallet!
Provide Your IRD Number to Only the Following:
- Inland Revenue
- your employer
- your bank or financial institution
- your KiwiSaver scheme provider
- Work and Income
- your tax agent (accountant).
If you have any problems, contact Inland Revenue via their website or by visiting one of the authorised appointed verifiers as listed above.