Reading time: 6 minutes

Regardless of whether you are a New Zealand citizen, a new arrival to New Zealand or an overseas individual contemplating moving to New Zealand, starting a business is a complicated process. One of the things you must have to start a business is an IRD number. This article will outline:

  • what an IRD number is;
  • how you can find your own number; and
  • if you don’t currently have an IRD number, how you can apply for one. 

What Is an IRD Number?

An IRD number is your unique taxpayer identifier issued to you by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). It has 8 or 9 digits. It is the New Zealand equivalent of a United States social security number, or an Australian tax file number. 

Generally, you need an IRD number if you want to earn money in New Zealand. Having one ensures that your employer and your bank can tax you properly from any money you earn. However, you also need it to:

  • start a business;
  • file your taxes; 
  • get a tax return from Inland Revenue;
  • apply for a student loan; 
  • get access to government benefits; and
  • buy, sell or transfer New Zealand property.

If you insist on working without an IRD number, your employer will have to deduct tax from your wages at the highest rate. In New Zealand, this is 45%.

How Do I Find My IRD Number?

If you have already applied for an IRD number, there are several places where you can find it. 

Physical Documents

As your IRD number is required for any money you earn, it will be printed on any payslips you receive from your employer. You can also find it on:

  • your KiwiSaver statement; or
  • any letters or statements that you have received from Inland Revenue. 

Use the Inland Revenue Website

You can also find your IRD number on the IRD website. To retrieve it, you will have to provide certain information that you used when applying for the number. This process is to ensure that your IRD number is secure and protected. To verify your identity, you will have to provide your:

  • full name;
  • date of birth; 
  • New Zealand bank account number; and
  • mobile phone number or email address. 

Call Inland Revenue

You may also call Inland Revenue to find your number. The number is 0800 227 774 for calls within New Zealand, and +64 4 831 2249 if you are an overseas caller. Inland Revenue can provide you with your number over the phone once you have proven your identity. 

What if I Do Not Have an IRD Number?

If you do not have an IRD number, it is easy to get one. However, the process that you follow will depend on whether you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen;
  • a new arrival to New Zealand; or
  • currently overseas. 

New Zealand Citizen

Before applying for an IRD number, you will have to gather two types of identification documents. You will need one of the following:

  • New Zealand passport;
  • overseas passport with a New Zealand residence visa; 
  • full New Zealand birth certificate issued after 1st January 1998; 
  • New Zealand citizenship certificate;
  • New Zealand firearm or dealer licence; 
  • certificate of identity from either the Department of Internal Affairs or the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment;
  • New Zealand refugee travel document; or
  • New Zealand emergency travel document. 

You will also need a:

  • New Zealand driver licence;
  • overseas driver licence;
  • New Zealand 18+ card;
  • Kiwi Access Card; 
  • New Zealand student photo ID; or
  • international driver permit from a member country of the United Nations Convention on road traffic. 

These documents need to be in an electronic version as you will need to upload them during the online application process. Make sure you have scanned your documents before you apply online. 

If your documents are not in English, you must get them translated by an approved translator. This translation will also need to be certified. 

You will also need to take your original, physical identification documents to an AA driver licensing agent for verification. 

Once you have completed these steps, you can easily complete the IRD number application form online

New Arrival to New Zealand

If you have a resident, student or work visa, the process is slightly different to obtain an IRD number. You will need to provide identification documentation and complete the online application form. If you have an Australian passport, you will need to provide your passport details. 

If you have a resident visa, you will have to provide your:

  • passport details; and
  • Immigration New Zealand application number.

If you have a student or work visa, you will need to provide your;

  • passport details; 
  • Immigration New Zealand application number; 
  • (if you have one) most recent overseas tax number; and
  • New Zealand bank account, with your name and account number.

Overseas

If you are currently living overseas, but intend on moving to New Zealand soon, you may still apply for an IRD number. Similar to the other processes, you will have to provide identification documents. 

You will need each of the following:

  • photo identification, such as a passport; 
  • proof of your current address, such as through a letter from your utility company; 
  • tax identification number from your country; 
  • proof of the reason for applying for a number. For example, you may wish to buy property in New Zealand; 
  • an active New Zealand bank account or a customer due diligence form. 

If your documents are not in English, you must get them translated by an approved translator. This translation will also need to be certified.

You will need to download and fill in an application form. This form is specific to non-resident or offshore individuals. This form, and your identification documents, will need to be scanned and emailed to offshore@ird.govt.nz

Key Takeaways

An IRD number is vital if you intend to start a business in New Zealand and ensure you avoid being heavily taxed. If you need to find yours, you can either check your financial documents or get in touch with Inland Revenue. 

If you need to apply for one, you will need to:

  • provide translated and certified identification documents; and
  • fill out an online application. 

However, the process differs depending on whether you are a New Zealand citizen, in New Zealand with a current visa or planning to come to New Zealand. If you have any legal queries, LegalVision’s lawyers can help. Contact us on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page. 

FAQs

How do I get my IRD number online?

You can get your IRD number through the Inland Revenue website.

How do I contact IRD by phone?

You can call Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774 if you are a New Zealand caller.

What is an IRD number in New Zealand?

An IRD number is your unique taxpayer identification number issued to you by the Inland Revenue Department.

Do you have to pay for an IRD number?

You do not have to pay for an IRD number in New Zealand.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. From just $119 per week, get all your contracts sorted, trade marks registered and questions answered by experienced business lawyers.

Learn more about LVConnect

Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards