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© Pixabay

What is an IRD Number?

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The IRD Number: A Complete Guide

When hearing anything about working holidays in New Zealand or working in New Zealand, you will hear about the “IRD Number”. But what is an IRD Number and why is getting one for working in New Zealand so important? In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the IRD Number and how to get one.

So if you are planning to work in New Zealand, whether it’s on a working holiday visa, on a student visa, on a skilled-based visa, or any other visa that legally permits you to work in New Zealand, you need to get an IRD Number. Read on to see why you need an IRD Number and what it means.

What is an IRD Number?

IRD stands for “Inland Revenue Department”. An IRD Number is a unique tax number given to you by the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand so that you can pay the correct work taxes as you work in New Zealand. Without an IRD Number, 46.7% of your wage will automatically be taxed, which is a “no-declaration rate”. So to keep the tax percentage of your wage as low as possible, this is why it is so important to get an IRD Number if you are working in New Zealand.


What is the Income Tax System in New Zealand?

The income tax system in New Zealand runs on a Pay as You Earn (PAYE) system. A percentage of your wage is taxed straight away. It’s an automatic process so there is nothing you need to do, other than making sure you are getting the correct percentage of your wage taxed, which you do by having an IRD Number. (You’ll also need to select the correct tax code when filling out the paperwork for a new job in New Zealand). As mentioned above, you will want to get an IRD Number to keep the percentage of your wage which is taxed as low as possible.

How Much Will You be Taxed?

The income tax rates in New Zealand are as follows. Note that to give you a more accurate estimate, the tax rates displayed below are including the mandatory ACC Levy (currently around 1.39%).

  • Yearly taxable Income: Up to NZ$14,000 / Taxable Income 10.05%.
  • Yearly taxable Income: from NZ$14,001 to NZ$48,000 / Taxable Income 17.05%.
  • Yearly taxable Income: from NZ$48,001 to NZ$70,000 / Taxable Income 30%.
  • Yearly taxable Income: NZ$70,001 and over / Taxable Income 33%.
  • No-notification (no IRD number): Taxable Income 45%

For more information on how the income tax system works, check out New Zealand Work Tax System: Work and Pay Your Taxes!

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What You Need to Get an IRD Number

So you will now have seen why it’s important to get yourself an IRD Number for New Zealand. However, before you can apply for an IRD Number, you need to open a New Zealand bank account. Not only do you need a New Zealand bank account so that you can get paid for working in New Zealand, IRD actually required that you have proof of a New Zealand bank account for the IRD Number application. For this reason, it’s often easier to apply for an IRD Number once you are in New Zealand because it is easier to open a bank account in New Zealand rather than from overseas.

IRD Application Checklist

Here are the things you will need to apply for an IRD Number

  • Access to the Internet
  • Your Passport
  • Your Immigration New Zealand application number
  • Your tax number from your home country (this has different names in different countries, such as taxpayer identification number (TIN), national identity, social security, personal or tax number.
  • Proof of a New Zealand “fully-functional bank account” (This could be a letter from the bank or a bank statement showing both deposits and withdrawals).

For each of these requirements explained in greater detail then look at How to Get an IRD Number for Backpackers.

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Where to Apply for an IRD Number?

There are two ways to apply for an IRD Number: online at the IRD website or by sending a paper form to IRD.

Apply Online for an IRD Number

The easiest and quickest way to apply for an IRD Number is to apply online. Head to this page of the IRD website and follow the onscreen instructions and fill out the mandatory fields. You will need the supporting evidence mentioned in the section above.

Apply by Paper Form

If you don’t have access to good Internet, then an alternative way to apply is by filling out the IR742 application form and sending it to IRD along with the documents that the form calls for. You can pick up an IR742 form in any New Zealand Post Shop. Once filled out, go to the counter in the NZ Post Shop and they will tell you what to do next.

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How Long Does it Take to Receive an IRD Number?

If You Applied Online…

If you applied for your IRD Number online and selected the options to receive your number by text message or email, then it will take two working days to receive your IRD Number. If you selected the option to receive your IRD Number by mail, then it can take up to 10 working days to reach you.

If You Applied by Mail…

If you applied with a paper form sent in the mail, you need to take the postage times into consideration. Factor in about two working days for your form to reach IRD. Then, if you selected to receive your number by text or email, it will take a further two working days. If you prefer to get your number by mail, it will take up to 10 working days.

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