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External Dataset Framework

What an external dataset is

An external dataset is bulk data relating to individuals, entities, or groups of taxpayers and is obtained by Inland Revenue from businesses, organisations or individuals.

External datasets include:

  • bulk data requested under section 17B of the Tax Administration Act 1994 (the Act), and
  • datasets acquired from open sources such as:
    • public registers
    • commercially acquired datasets, and
    • the public domain.

Our power to obtain external datasets

Section 17B of the Act gives the Commissioner the power to require any person to provide information, such as large datasets, that the Commissioner considers necessary or relevant for administering or enforcing the revenue laws.

Because of this, the person providing the information does not need to obtain permission from an individual for the information that is to be provided to us. However, the person may inform the individual about the dataset request if they wish to.

What external datasets are used for

Under the Act, the Commissioner is required to protect the integrity of the tax system and is responsible for the care and management of taxes. It is a requirement that the Commissioner collects over time the highest net revenue practicable within the law.

External datasets may be used for the following purposes to help meet these legislative requirements:

  • Making sure our customers are paying the right amount of tax, complying with their tax obligations and taking targeted compliance actions where appropriate.
  • Helping our customers receive the correct entitlement.
  • Identifying opportunities to improve customer service offerings.

Collecting information is part of the day to day activities carried out by Inland Revenue in administering the tax system and is obtained from many sources. Information is obtained where the Commissioner considers it necessary or relevant for the administration or the enforcement of the tax acts. We will approach businesses, organisations and individuals from time to time to obtain bulk information to meet our information needs.

We cannot explain in detail the purpose of the external dataset as under our obligations to protect the integrity of the tax system and confidentiality of information provisions (sections 6 and 18 respectively of the Act) our officers are required to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive revenue information and the affairs of taxpayers.

What the External Dataset Framework is

In recognition of the sensitive nature of this type of information, we have developed an External Dataset Framework to apply rigorous processes to govern how the Commissioner's power to obtain datasets is exercised and over how this information is used and managed. We are bound by confidentiality of information provisions and the data obtained is used for the purposes of tax administration.

The framework applies to:

  • requests for bulk data that are made under section 17B of the Act, and
  • the acquisition of bulk open source datasets from free or publicly available sources, as well as public registers.

The framework doesn't apply to:

  • Memorandums of understanding or information sharing agreements set up between other agencies and Inland Revenue. These agreements are intended for regular sharing of incoming and outgoing information for the purpose of delivering public services.
  • Data matching programmes between Government departments which are approved by statute and regulated by the Privacy Commissioner.

The process for requesting a dataset

Collecting information under the External Dataset Framework is done in three stages.

Stage one: Business case approval

The framework has control and governance processes in place that determine if a dataset request is appropriate. A business case is prepared to make sure that requests for datasets are made when the Commissioner considers it necessary or relevant. Once a business case is prepared, legal and organisational guidance is provided as it is being reviewed for approval.

Stage two: Issue section 17B notice

Once a business case has been approved, we will issue a section 17B notice to request the information from the business or other organisation. The section 17B notice will:

  • list all of the information required
  • detail the taxpayer's statutory non-disclosure rights, and
  • provide details on how the information can be delivered and/or collected.

During this stage there will be engagement with the business, organisation, or individual before and during the issuing of the section 17B notice.

Stage three: Dataset receipt

An Inland Revenue officer will contact the business, organisation, or individual to arrange the collection and delivery of the information. Generally an Inland Revenue officer will collect the information from the dataset provider at a time agreed by both parties.

If gathering the information is unduly time-consuming or causing the dataset provider difficulty, the Inland Revenue officer involved should be contacted for assistance. In cases of genuine difficulty the section 17B notice may be modified, however this must be agreed by Inland Revenue before the expiration of the date on the original notice.

Obligations of the dataset provider

If a business, organisation, or individual receives a request from us to supply a dataset, they are legally obliged to provide that information under section 17B of the Act.

Confidentiality and privacy

We recognise the sensitive nature of this type of information. Access to data obtained from a dataset provider is limited to our staff who require the information. We have strict access controls in place to prevent unauthorised access to personal information. Staff are prohibited from accessing, recording, or disclosing any customer's tax information except in the performance of their duties. Internal audit checks are built into the External Dataset Framework to make sure that the framework's processes, procedures and system-user monitoring policies are followed.


Our External Dataset Framework team can help with the extraction, encryption and safe transport of data. Businesses, organisations, and individuals that require assistance must arrange this with us before their section 17B notice expires.

Further information

If you have any further questions about our use of external datasets, or if you have received a dataset request that you need assistance with, please contact ExtemalDatasetCo‑


Defined category Definition
Active customer
  1. A customer with any registered activity within a specific period, or
  2. a salary and wage earner whose only relationship with Inland Revenue is having PAYE deducted and paid on their behalf within a specific period.
Defined category Definition
Adjudication categories

Adjudication cases are classified (depending on the degree to which the position of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue was upheld) into the following five categories:

  1. decided fully for the Commissioner
  2. decided mostly for the Commissioner but not the full amount or grounds/reasons
  3. decided fully for the taxpayer
  4. decided mostly for the taxpayer but not the full amount
  5. decision unable to be reached on the amount of assessment.
Defined category Definition
Customers in debt

Any customers with overdue debt.

Defined category Definition
Entity type

A classification of customers based on their legal structure and tax obligations. These include companies, diplomatic missions, government departments, individuals, Māori authorities, partnerships, society/clubs, superannuation funds, trusts, unit trusts.

Defined category Definition
Filing channel

We distinguish between three types of filing channels:

  1. e-Filing (a system for registered tax agents to send and receive information electronically)
  2. paper-based filing, and
  3. web (online) filing.
Defined category Definition
Geographic area
  1. Geographic areas are based on Inland Revenue district offices:
    1. Auckland: Manukau, Takapuna
    2. Rest of the North Island: Gisborne, Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei
    3. South Island: Christchurch, Dunedin, Greymouth, Invercargill, Nelson, Timaru
    4. "Corporates" offices for customers not allocated to a specific geographic area.
  2. At an aggregate level district offices are combined into three major areas: Auckland, Rest of the North Island and South Island, as shown above.
Defined category Definition
GST turnover

GST turnover is calculated from GST returns as the sum of sales and income for the year ended 31 March.
For a two-monthly filer, this would mean the sum of gross sales on six successive GST returns, with the last return being for the period ending 31 March.
The GST tables only include GST collected or refunded by Inland Revenue. GST collected on imports by the New Zealand Custom Service is not included.

Defined category Definition

Customers not registered for GST or PAYE and not belonging to large enterprises (LE) or non-profit organisations (NPO).


  1. This includes individual customers receiving income from business (eg, rental property, shares) but not registered for GST or PAYE.
  2. Where there are overlaps between LE, NPO, SME and individuals, entities are allocated to the group according to the following order of priority. The priorities are:
    1. large enterprises (LE)
    2. non-profit organisations (NPO)
    3. small and medium enterprises (SME)
    4. individuals.
Defined category Definition
Large enterprise (LE)
  1. A non-individual entity which by itself or as a part of a business group has an annual turnover exceeding $100 million (calculated based on GST101 returns), or
  2. an entity belonging to specialist segments as follows:
  • Crown
  • financial
  • high-wealth individuals
  • manufacturing
  • non-resident entertainers
  • non-resident contractors
  • resources
  • services.
Defined category Definition
Liable parent (formerly non-custodial or paying)

A parent of a qualifying child who is normally required to pay child support.

Defined category Definition
Non-profit organisation (NPO)

All entities exempted from income tax and not belonging to large enterprises with the following exemption types:

  • society/club income < $1000
  • amateur sports clubs
  • charity
  • dairy herd society
  • district societies
  • scientific and industrial research
  • veterinary service clubs, or
  • all entities except building societies and friendly societies with "other" exemption type.
Defined category Definition
Overdue child support debt

The amount of an employer's or a liable parent's liability which is in arrears (due, but not paid), together with overdue receiving carer overpayments.


  1. Child support debt excludes debt  we collect on behalf of overseas agencies.
  2. This amount includes any penalties applied to the debt. Note that only the overdue penalties component is recognised as a debt from the Crown perspective.
Defined category Definition
Overdue debt case age

The length of time the debt has been overdue.

Defined category Definition
Overdue debt cases

A debt case is created when a due date for payment has passed without full payment being made. Other overdue debt elements may be added as they become overdue. The case will close when all overdue debt has been fully resolved.

Defined category Definition
Overdue debt element

A specific tax type and period for which a debt is due. A customer can have one or more debt elements.

Defined category Definition
Overdue student loan debt

The amount of repayment obligation for a tax year that is overdue.


  1. The definition applies to both residents and overseas based borrowers.
  2. This amount includes any penalties applied to the debt.
Defined category Definition
Overdue tax debt

The amount of tax that remains unpaid after the due date for payment. Overdue tax debt includes any penalty and interest applied to the debt.

Defined category Definition
Overdue Working for Families Tax Credits debt

When recipients are paid more than their entitlement and they don't repay it by the due date a debt arises. The amount includes any penalty and interest applied to the debt.

Defined category Definition
Payroll giving

A scheme which allows employees to donate money to an approved donee organisation (an organisation that has Inland Revenue-approved donee status) of their choice by having a deduction taken direct from their gross pay and receive immediate tax credits that reduce their PAYE payable.

Only employers who electronically file their employer monthly schedule and deduction form can choose to offer payroll giving to their employees.

Defined category Definition
Percentage of payments made on time

The percentage of late payments to the total number of payments per tax year.

Defined category Definition
Percentage of returns filed on time

The percentage of late filings to the total number of filings per tax year.

Defined category Definition
Receiving carer (formerly custodial parent)

A parent or carer of a qualifying child who is normally entitled to receive child support from a liable parent. They must have at least 35% care to receive child support.

Defined category Definition
Registered customer

Registered customers include all customers registered with Inland Revenue, either individuals or entities. Registered customers include some entities and people no longer active.

Defined category Definition
Revenue collected

Revenue collected includes only taxes and duties collected by Inland Revenue. GST collected by the New Zealand Customs Service is excluded. Numbers are unconsolidated.

Note: The Treasury publishes monthly financial statements prepared on a consolidated basis, meaning they eliminate tax transactions between departments, state-owned enterprises and Crown entities.

Defined category Definition
Revenue collected from Liable parents (formerly non-custodial or paying)

Revenue collected from liable parents includes all revenue collected during each tax year by Inland Revenue including payments related to other time periods.

Defined category Definition
Shortfall penalty

A penalty imposed as a percentage of a tax shortfall (a deficit or understatement of tax), resulting from certain actions on the part of a taxpayer. Shortfall penalties apply to most taxes and duties, including student loans, but not to child support repayments by liable parents.

The law divides these actions into five categories of fault or breach, with a specified penalty rate for each category. The severity of the penalty increases in proportion to the seriousness of the breach: Not taking reasonable care (20%), Unacceptable tax position 20%, Gross carelessness (40%), Abusive tax position (100%), Evasion (150%).

Defined category Definition
Small and medium enterprise (SME)
  1. All entities with an active relationship for GST or PAYE that do not belong to large enterprises or non-profit organisations, and
  2. all non-individual entities without active registration for GST or PAYE not belonging to non-profit organisations.
Defined category Definition
Source deductions

Source deductions include:

  1. PAYE (pay as you earn), and
  2. ESCT (employer superannuation contribution tax), and
  3. SSCWT (formerly known as the specified superannuation contributions withholding tax).
Defined category Definition
Tax agent

A tax agent prepares the annual returns of income for 10 or more customers in one of the following ways:

  • a practitioner carrying on a professional public practice
  • a person carrying on a business or occupation in which returns of income are prepared, or
  • a Māori Trustee.

A tax agent must be a registered Inland Revenue customer.

Defined category Definition
Taxable income

Taxable income for individuals is income on which their personal income tax is assessed for the March year.
For people with IR3 tax returns or Personal tax summaries, this is income from all taxable sources less allowable deductions and losses. People with negative income because of losses are recorded as having nil taxable income in the tables. For people who are non-filers, taxable income is deemed to be their total PAYE gross earnings in the year ended 31 March. PAYE gross earnings can include income from employment, and also taxable welfare benefits, New Zealand Superannuation, earnings-related ACC, student allowances, and paid parental leave.

Defined category Definition
Weighted overdue debt case age

The average age of the case elements weighted by their dollar value.

Defined category Definition
Working for Families Tax Credits

The Working for Families Tax Credits (WfFTC) consists of the following credit types:

  • FTC - family tax credit
  • IWTC - in-work tax credit replaced child tax credit from April 2006. Customers who received child tax credit before 1 April 2006 and don't qualify for in-work tax credit may continue to receive child tax credit
  • MFTC - minimum family tax credit
  • PTC - parental tax credit.

Note 1: WfFTC was collectively known as "family assistance".

Note 2: CTC - child tax credit. There are a very small number of people who receive this tax credit but because their numbers are now so few; they are no longer reported on separately.