As a migrant coming to New Zealand for the first time, along with work entitlements, you must be also aware of your duty to pay income taxes. There is no way around it. As Benjamin Franklin once said (non-verbatim), nothing is certain in life other than death and taxes. I had briefly shared my experience in getting my IRD number in 2015 and I cannot believe how easy it is now. In this blog I will share how I assisted my newly-arrived housemate’s experience in applying for IRD number online.
What you need an IRD number for
- earn income from any source (including a job, benefit, pension or investments)
- join KiwiSaver
- apply for a student loan, child support or Working for Families Tax Credits
- file tax returns
- buy, sell or transfer New Zealand property
- are starting up as self-employed.
Source: Inland Revenue
You can choose to not to have an IRD number but your employer will have to deduct income tax at the highest non-declaration rate of forty-five percent (45%). That would be very painful. They will take almost half of your earnings.
Where to apply for an IRD number
We used to apply for the IRD number in person (Inland Revenue, New Zealand Post, or AA branches) or by mail. If you are a resident class visa holder, you need to use the IR595 form. If you hold another type of visa (work or student), then you need to use the IR742 form. While these forms have no use when applying for the IRD number online, you can have an idea what they would be asking from you when you apply for an IRD number if you have a look through these forms.
Now the Inland Revenue has made an online application possible! I did not believe it until I saw it for myself!
What you will need when applying for an IRD number online
- Proof of fully functional New Zealand bank account
I had mentioned the importance of opening a bank account before arriving in New Zealand in a previous blog and this is the reason why. When you arrive in New Zealand, your concern would just only be making sure that your bank account is fully functional and your personal banker could make sure you get this requirement.
If you and your bank officer are not too sure what a fully functional bank account is, you can check this guide from the Inland Revenue website. This lists out the instances you can show you have a working bank account for IRD number purposes.
You will need a soft copy for upload so if you do not have a scanner, ask your bank officer to scan and email it to you or take a clear photo on your phone.
- Your passport number
They would need this number to search for your Immigration New Zealand records.
- Your Immigration New Zealand application number
They would need this number to search for your Immigration New Zealand records. Search your inbox for the email sent when your visa application was acknowledged. Please see this as an example:
If you have a visa label or sticker on your passport, you will not see the application number there.
If you received an approval letter along with your passport, you can find your application number there. Right at the very top.
If you have an electronic Visa or eVisa, you will also find your application there. Also at the top.
- Your existing tax identification number from your country of origin or another country where you are a tax resident
They would need you to type a number on an online form. No need to provide proof of this. If you do not have a tax identification number, you must provide a reason why.
Why applying online is better
It is heaps better because you do not have to send the Inland Revenue heaps of documentation. When applying online, they use the details you provide on the first page of the form to pull up your Immigration New Zealand records and use your records to populate most of the text boxes on the online form. At most, you will only need to update your address and your current contact number.
How to actually apply for an IRD number online
1. Navigate to the Inland Revenue home page and select Get it done online.
2. Click IRD Numbers.
3. Select Migrant or visa holder IRD number application.
4. Read the guidelines and click Get started.
5. Read the overview and hit Next.
6. Fill out the required text boxes, give your consent, and hit Next.
7. Verify or change your details. You can drop your Philippine middle name if you want to. Hit Next.
8. Update your contact information. My housemate did not have a number yet so we answered ‘I don’t have a mobile/contact number’. We did update his address to his New Zealand address. Hit Next.
9. Answer the remaining questions and upload the proof of fully functional NZ bank account. Hit Next.
10. Review your details. Read the declaration and acknowledgement and tick the boxes. Click Submit.
11. You will be asked to confirm your email address. Click OK.
12. View the confirmation. Save or print a copy for your records.
13. Wait for a couple of days for the IRD number to arrive. In my housemate’s case, it arrived a day later!
As someone who arrived when Inland Revenue had just changed the forms and rules for applying for an IRD number I ask, why did they not change it to this right away? I cannot believe how the newcomers have it so easy these days, IRD number application-wise.
Anyway, I hope this guide had helped you in applying for your IRD number online. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to write in the comment box below.