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IRD (Inland Revenue Department) Number

If you are planning on working in New Zealand with a Working Holiday Scheme visa it is a legal requirement that you obtain an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number. It is completely within your interests to do so as otherwise 45% of your earnings - the emergency tax rate - will disappear before you even receive them.

The IRD number is made up of eight or nine digits which is the reference for your own unique record of personal details along with tax paid and tax rate entitlements.

The process of obtaining an IRD number is not difficult but it can take time. It will take even longer if you don't have everything you need before you start or miss something out. Here we give you a step-by-step guide so that you can see at a glance all that is required to make the process as painless as possible.

1. The Bank Account Bit

As of 1 October 2015, all temporary workers from overseas who hold a working holiday visa must have a bank account and not just any old bank account but one which is deemed to be 'a fully functional New Zealand bank account'. In non-official speak this means an account into which deposits can be made and from which you can withdraw money. Additionally your identity must have been confirmed during the process of opening the bank account in accordance with New Zealand law pertaining to anti-money laundering and the 'Countering Financing of Terrorism Act'. The bank account must have been set up and fully functioning BEFORE you apply for an IRD number.


The helpful folk at the IRD have even produced a form with a somewhat of a mouthful title of 'Documents to confirm your New Zealand bank account is fully functional' or rather more simply an IR984 form. As this whole 'certain bank accounts' only is a new law some of the banks might still be a little unclear as to what the rules are so this form is really more for their benefit. It tells them exactly what is needed for a bank account to be deemed 'fully functional'

Full details of this part of the process can be found here.

2. The Getting and Filling in the Form Bit

During the process of applying for an IRD number you might hear the terms 'international customer' and 'offshore person'. If you are in possession of a working holiday visa or other temporary student or work visa, this means you.

The next step after setting up your New Zealand bank account is to fill in the IRD number application form know as an IR742. This four page document can be completed on-screen online by clicking here and then printed off. The first two pages are information – including exactly what documentation will be required to support your application on page one - and step-by-step idiot notes of how to complete the form on page two. The other two pages are straightforward basic details which include such things as your name, address etc. If you need an NZ postal address for correspondence and a physical copy of your IRD number confirmation you can sign up for our NZ Mail Service.

3. The Making Sure You've Got All the Supporting Documents Bit

When you send in your IRD number application you will need to send copies of some of your important documents at the same time. Knowing what you need before beginning the process means you can make copies when it is most convenient to you and also ensure there is no delay in your application process because you've forgotten something. Make sure your copies are clear and legible or again, your application process might be delayed while you are asked to provide better copies.

What you will need copies of

  • Photographic identification – This is most typically a copy of your passport information page – the one where your photo is.
  • Proof of permanent address - Proof of your current or last address (can be from your home country)  in the form of an official bill or bank/credit card statement for example or a copy of your driver's licence (where there is an address shown).
  • Taxpayer’s identification number - If you have previously paid tax in any country you will need to show proof of this. This will be in the form of a taxpayer identification number (TIN) which goes by different names in different countries. New Zealand's TIN is the IRD number. In the UK it is called PAYE number.
  • Work visa - A copy of your work visa or any written job offer which is used to prove the purpose of your stay in New Zealand.

4. The Sending in the Form Bit

Once you have completed your form check and then double check you have all the supporting documentation required AND you've remembered to include it. Don't forget to sign and date the application form too. 

Your form and documents must be submitted by post.

If you are in New Zealand when you submit the form send it to - Inland Revenue, P O Box 39010, Wellington Mail Centre 5045, New Zealand.

If you are overseas at the time you submit the form you can send an email copy plus all supporting documents as attachments to offshore@ird.govt.nz or alternatively post it to the same address as above.

These addresses are also shown on the application form underneath where your signature will be.

Your IRD number will usually be sent within eight to ten working days but you don't have to delay starting your job until it is received. Once you have set the ball rolling with an application you are given a temporary number.

So, in summary, here are your four steps to getting an IRD number

1. GET A NEW ZEALAND (FULLY FUNCTIONING) BANK ACCOUNT

2. COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM – IR742

3. GET ALL YOUR SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION TOGETHER

4. SUBMIT THE FORM

Find out more...

Inland Revenue Department - Provides tax information & application forms for applying for your IRD number.
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