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How to Get an IRD Number for Backpackers

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Tips for applying for an IRD Number in New Zealand.

Before you can start working in New Zealand, you need to get yourself an IRD number. This is the unique tax number given to you by the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand so that you can pay the correct taxes as you work. Without an IRD number, you could be paying up to 46.7% of your wage on taxes. All in all, get an IRD number as soon as possible when arriving in New Zealand, if you intend to work while you are here.

Since October 1 2015, there has been some big changes in the Inland Revenue Department, changing the supporting documents and information that working holidaymakers and backpackers on a work visa need to provide with their application. This is an up-to-date guide on how to apply for your IRD number in New Zealand if you are from overseas.

For more information on how the New Zealand tax system works, check out New Zealand work tax system: work and pay your taxes!

Before you apply for your IRD number…

  • Open a fully functional New Zealand bank account. Check out our article on How to Open a New Zealand Bank Account.
  • Print out all the relevant documents needed to support your IRD application, which include:

a) a copy of photographic identification
b) a copy of proof of address
c) proof of your New Zealand bank account number
d) proof of your intended activity in New Zealand
e) completed and signed the application

All of this is detailed below!

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Where to get the IRD Number Application – non-resident/offshore individual (IR742) form

Get the IR742 form from the IRD website (download here) and print it out. Alternatively, you can pick up an IR742 form from a New Zealand PostShop. This second option may be better for backpackers, as you don’t have to find and pay for somewhere to print the form out for you. Remember, you can only send the form by post.

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Which postal address to use for IRD

The IRD number application form will ask for your residential address and a proof of address. This must be a New Zealand address (not your address from overseas).

Use the residential address that you opened your bank account in New Zealand with. Then you can use a statement or letter from the bank as proof of address.

You will also need to provide a postal address so IRD can send your IRD number by post. It is fundamental that you give an address of somewhere you’ll be able to collect your mail from. Ask you hostel if it is acceptable to receive the mail for you, for instance. Just bear in mind that the IRD number can take around three weeks to receive your IRD number by mail.

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Confirming your bank account is fully functional for IRD

In order for your IRD application to be successful, you will need proof of fully functional New Zealand bank account. This could be a letter from the bank or a bank statement showing both deposits and withdrawals.

IRD are petty picky in the evidence you provide to show you have a fully functional New Zealand bank account. IRD will only accept the following evidence from your bank:

  • A printed copy of a New Zealand bank statement with your name, bank account number, and showing at least one deposit and one withdrawal of different amounts.
  • Alternatively, get a printed letter from your bank stating your name, bank account number, and clearly stating that your “bank account is fully functional”, or “it is an active bank account”, or “the bank account has had due diligence completed in accordance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009”.

If you need to communicate what you need from your bank, print out the IR984 form and give it to your bank. It has clear instructions on there of what you need for your IRD application.

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Your taxpayer identification number for IRD

If you have the equivalent of an IRD number in another country (i.e. your tax number at home), then you will need to provide a copy of this for the IRD number application. If you do not have a tax number from home, you will need to state why.

The taxpayer identification number (TIN) may have a different name in different countries, for example, national identitiy, social security, personal or tax number.

Print out a copy of the tax number official document from your home country (and any other country/juristiction).

If your tax number from your own country is not in English, then you may need to get an authorised translation of your tax number document.

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Evidence to prove why you are applying for an IRD number

It’s most likely that you are applying for an IRD number because you want to work in New Zealand. In this case, tick the option in Question 12 stating “For employment in New Zealand” and include a printed copy of of either your work visa in New Zealand or a letter of employment on the employer’s letterhead.

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What to do with your completed IRD number application form

Take your completed form and supporting documents to one of the following:

  • AA
  • New Zealand PostShop
  • Registered Seasonal Labour Co-ordinators

They will then check the application is complete, confirm the identity of the worker (make sure you have some valid ID with you), and send the application to IRD for you.

In the unlikely case that you are applying for your IRD number from overseas, you can send the application form and supporting documents via the email address stated at the bottom of the form.

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