During the ’90s most people saw their income tax reduced, but in the 21st century income taxes have increased. Most New Zealanders are resigned to paying taxes (tax evasion isn’t a national sport as it is in some countries) and in any case the country has a system of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) that ensures that tax is deducted at source from employees’ salaries.
The tax system in New Zealand isn’t particularly complicated. It’s designed so that most people can prepare and file their own tax returns, although if your tax situation is complicated you may need to seek advice from an accountant.
The IRD runs a comprehensive help service and publishes numerous factsheets and leaflets for taxpayers. The following helplines are available:
- Income tax and general enquiries: freephone 0800-227 774 or 04-801 9973;
Overdue tax and returns: freephone 0800-227 771;
Student loans: freephone 0800-377 778;
- Family Assistance: freephone 0800-227 773;
- INFOexpress: freephone 0800-257 999;
- Forms and stationery: freephone 0800-101 035.
The IRD also has a comprehensive website (www.ird.govt.nz), which includes downloadable factsheets and forms, and can be contacted by post at PO Box 3754, Christchurch, PO Box 1535, Hamilton or PO Box 39-050 Wellington.
Every taxpayer in New Zealand is required to complete a Tax Code Declaration (form IR 330) when they start employment and if there are any changes in their employment circumstances, e.g. if their working hours are reduced. You should be given the form by your employer, who also send the completed form to the IRD. The tax code for most employees is M. It’s important that you complete the form correctly as the amount of tax you pay is based on the information provided.