Your IRD number is your unique identification number issued to you by the IRD, the Inland Revenue Department. This 8 or 9 digit number will last you your entire life – and well beyond it! Overseas, they refer to it as a Social Security number. Kiwis are often issued an IRD number at birth – the IRD make it really easy to get one. So, what’s it for exactly?
Well, you need an IRD number to be able to earn money in New Zealand. Both your employer and your bank need this number in order to tax you properly from any money you earn. All of your personal details such as taxes, entitlements, and work histories are linked this number, so it’s important to keep it in a safe place.
If you want to start a business, file your taxes, apply for a student loan or get access to government benefits, you need this number. Basically, if you don’t have one, life in New Zealand gets a lot harder. And here’s the thing: it’s super easy to get one. All you need to do is fill out an application form and supply the necessary documentation, and VOILA, you have a very special number that is unique to you.
Unfortunately, IRD number applications have to be filed manually, and depending on the document you can either take your application into an Automobile Association Driver Licensing Agent, a New Zealand Post Shop, or send it in to the IRD offices.
The Inland Revenue Department can process an application in 8-10 days, even if you’re visiting New Zealand on a working holiday visa. That’s right: even if you’re here for a short working holiday you need an IRD number to get paid and pay taxes while you’re working here. It’s the law. But, if you insist on not having an IRD number then your employer will have to deduct tax at the highest rate: a whopping 45%. Ouch.
If you know you have an IRD number already but can’t find it to save your life, don’t fret. You can easily find your IRD number on any of the following:
- on a payslip
- in your myIR Secure Online Services account
- on letters or statements from the IRD
- on your KiwiSaver statement
Not many of us keep paper records anymore, so if you still can’t find that number call the IRD and they’ll give you your IRD number over the phone once you’ve proven your identity.
It’s worth trying to memorise your IRD number to avoid spending your precious time on hold on the line as they’re pretty busy, especially during the end of the tax year, just when you need your IRD number the most!