Everything You Need to Know About Getting Your New Zealand Tax Refund
Throughout your working holiday, studies or gap year in New Zealand, you have most likely worked to fund your travels while seeing your wages deducted on your payslip as part of the Pay As You Earn tax scheme. Bad times. But all is not lost, as you can easily get a tax refund in New Zealand! How much tax return you get depends on how much you have earned that tax year, but at least it’s a little boost for your bank account.
Remember, you won’t get a tax refund if you do not keep your “myIR Account” up to date, so check out our guide below to see how to be reunited with some precious dollars.
3 Ways to Get a Tax Refund in New Zealand
Tax refunds have become easier and easier in New Zealand with most people getting their tax refund automatically through the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). However, this doesn’t apply to everyone or to those wanting to claim a tax refund for previous financial years.
1. Get Your Tax Refund Automatically
The simplest way to get a New Zealand tax refund is to get it automatically from IRD by making sure you have done all the correct IRD paperwork when you’ve started a job and kept your myIR Account up to date with the correct bank account details.
2. Do Your Tax Refund Yourself
There is an option to “do-it-yourself”, which you can do online through the IRD website as soon as you can after the tax year is complete (and before 7 July). However, the process is a little more complicated if seeking a tax refund from a couple of tax years ago or if filing for your tax refund through paper forms.
3. Get a Professional to Do Your Tax Refund for You
If you’re having issues with getting a tax refund in New Zealand or you are struggling to understand the process, getting a tax refund company like Taxback can be an easy alternative. This involves filling out a few details on their website and then just sitting back and waiting for the tax refund. Of course, a fee will be taken from your tax refund to pay for the company’s service but at least you have nothing to pay upfront.
When to Get Your Tax Return: When is the New Zealand Tax Year?
Every year, the New Zealand tax year (or financial year) begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March. If you worked in New Zealand between those dates, you can apply for a tax refund after 31 March. For example, if you worked any time between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023, you can apply for a tax return for the time worked between those dates after 31 March 2023.
When Will You Get Your Tax Refund From IRD?
If you are eligible to get your tax refund automatically paid by IRD (see below), then you will likely receive your tax refund to your nominated bank account by the end of July following the end of the financial year.
How Much NZ Tax Refund Will You Get?
How much New Zealand tax refund you get depends on:
- The amount you earned
- The length of time you’ve been working in New Zealand
- The type of work you did
- How much tax was withheld from your wages.
Work out what refund you are eligible for by creating a “myIR Account” (see our Step by Step Guide: How to File a Tax Return in New Zealand) or even simpler, get a quick estimation by using the widget below.
How to Automatically Get a Tax Refund in New Zealand
As of 2019, IRD automatically gives a tax refund to most people working or who have worked in New Zealand each financial year.
Who Gets an Automatic Tax Refund in New Zealand?
Automatic tax refunds are given if your income is from one of the following:
- employment (such as salary and wages)
- investments (such as interest or dividends under NZ$200 from bank deposits or savings)
- an employee share-scheme benefit where tax is already deducted
- schedular payments
- income-tested benefits
- taxable Māori authority distributions
- New Zealand superannuation (NZ Super).
If you have received income from somewhere not listed above, for instance, you are self-employed, you will have to complete an Individual Tax Return Form (IR3).
What to Do to Make Sure Your Automatic NZ Tax Refund Runs Smoothly
Make sure your automatic tax return payment comes through smoothly by doing the following:
- File all the correct IRD paperwork before each waged job you undertake in New Zealand (take a look at What is Your New Zealand Tax Code? and our guide to the New Zealand Work Tax System)
- Set up a myIR Account before the end of the tax year (which ends on 31 March)
- Make sure your contact and bank account details are all up to date on your myIR Account.
6 Steps to Set Up a MyIR Account
- On the IRD website, select “Register” under the box for “MyIR”. Type in your IRD number.
- On the next page, fill out your first name, last name, date of birth, contact phone number and email address.
- You will then need to enter a New Zealand phone number to activate your account.
- Choose a User ID and password.
- On the next page, tick the “conditions of use” box and click continue. You will then receive an activation code by text. You have two hours to enter the activation code. Otherwise, click on “end process” and call IRD for an activation code.
- Once activated, you will be able to log into MyIR.
For more details on these steps, check out our complete Step by Step Guide: How to File a Tax Return in New Zealand.
When logged into your MyIR account, you should notice that your income tax is automatically filled out. This is due to the IRD paperwork you will have completed at the beginning of your employment in New Zealand (see our guide to the New Zealand Work Tax System for more details). If information is missing under the “income tax” section on your MyIR Account, then you need to organise to complete the IRD paperwork with your employer.
What to Do if You Believe You are Eligible for a Tax Return But Didn’t Receive One
The best thing to do is to contact IRD directly. On your myIR Account, click on the “I want to…” tab, then under “Communicating with IR” select “Send a message”. Alternatively, you can contact them with the following details:
- +64 3 951 2020 from overseas
- 0800 227 774 in New Zealand
- You can get a nominated person to contact IRD on 0800 227 774 by sending IRD a completed Elect someone to act on your behalf form (IR 597).
Do-it-Yourself (DIY) New Zealand Tax Refund: How to Complete the IR3 Form Online
If you are not eligible for automatic tax refund payments from IRD, for whatever reason, then you should receive a message from IRD by the end of May requesting that you Individual Tax Return Form (IR3) manually via the IRD website. You will need to set up a myIR Account where the paperwork needed for filing your tax return should automatically be on your account. See how to register a myIR Account in the section above or with our Step by Step Guide: How to File a Tax Return in New Zealand.
To fill out your IR3, just follow the onscreen instructions on your myIR Account. Once you file your IR3 return, IRD will process it and send you a return acknowledgement confirming your assessment within 10 weeks (although, it usually only takes about two weeks).
How to Complete a Tax Refund by Mail: IR3 Paper Form
This is where things get a little more complicated. If for some reason you can’t file your NZ tax refund online, follow these three steps to getting a New Zealand tax return if you are leaving the country soon, so the refund will need to reach you overseas.
1. Download and Complete the IR3
The IR3 form for the latest financial year will be available during April on the IRD website at the bottom of this page. Other forms for previous years starting from 2014 are already available to download at the bottom of the page.
2. Attach the Requested Documents:
- Summary of your income/end-of-year payslip
- The details of your nominated bank account so that the IRD can forward your tax return.
3. Post the Form Along with the Documents to:
PO Box 39090
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045
Once you have sent your application, it may take 2-3 months for you to receive your New Zealand tax refund.
IRD’s Contact Details
Got a question about your tax return? The best source to contact is IRD:
- +64 3 951 2020 from overseas
- 0800 227 774 in New Zealand
- You can get a “nominated person” to contact IRD on 0800 227 774 by sending IRD a completed “Elect someone to act on your behalf” form (IR 597).
An Alternative Way to Get Your Tax Refund in New Zealand: Get Taxback to Do it for You
This is by far the easiest way to get your tax refund. However, there is a fee for this service but with the time and hassle saved for those who don’t get an automatic tax refund from IRD, some tax return companies, like Taxback, have a pretty reasonable fee. All you’ll need to apply for a tax refund is about 15 minutes of your time, your IRD number (tax number), and your bank details so you can be paid the refund.
Taxback will even get you a higher-than-average discount as they have well-trained professionals doing all the hard work for you. Their service fee will be deducted from your tax refund so you have nothing to pay upfront. They can help you get your tax refund whether you are in the country or have already left New Zealand.
What’s more, a Taxback representative can contact you in your own language at any point of your time in New Zealand. If you are at the beginning of your trip or even still back home planning your trip, they will also get your travel dates and contact you back prior to your departure to walk you through the whole process.
More About How to Get a Tax Refund in New Zealand
That’s it for our complete guide on how to file a tax refund in New Zealand. For more tax tips, check out the following guides:
- Step by Step Guide: How to File a Tax Return in New Zealand
- A Guide to the New Zealand Work Tax System
- What is Your New Zealand Tax Code?
Finally, don’t forget to check out our Work Tips & Essentials category for more essential advice.