Some tax agents are asking what the new end of year income tax assessment processes will mean for them and their clients.
This is fair enough – it’s a big change, and you want to make sure you’re doing that right things by your clients.
The important thing to remember is the intent of these changes – they’re designed to make the tax system easier for all New Zealanders. The more we can harness the information filed with us by employers, banks and other third parties, the better.
We’re now at a point where individuals – or tax agents acting on their behalf –only need to do something at the end of the tax year (like provide additional information or file a return) if there is income or expense information that we don’t know about.
Below are some of the most common questions we’re receiving from tax agents. Hopefully they help make the changes a little clearer, and help you get back to giving great service to your clients.
Extensive technical information about the new processes is also available in the May 2019 Tax Information Bulletin and the Special report on simplifying tax administration - individuals' income tax.
We use multiple data and reference points to identify what we think a customer needs to do at the end of the year, including what types of income they receive. Generally speaking, we will divide this between customers who only receive reportable income and those who get income from other sources.
You can learn more about the different end-of-year tax processes below, or by downloading our helpful flowchart (PDF | 42kb).
Reportable income includes:
You can find out more about your clients’ income tax return obligations in your client list report. Read more about the client list report changes we’ve made to make this information easier.
Based on the information we have, we may ask customers to review their income information and update it if necessary.
If we do not hear from the customer within a set timeframe, we'll assume the information is correct and complete the assessment.
If your client is not asked to review their income information, they'll receive an automatically issued income tax assessment at the end of the tax year.
If your client is asked to review this information, you can check over it in myIR and update it if necessary. Once this review is complete, they will receive an automatically issued income tax assessment.
You may be asked to review their income information if:
From 1 April 2020, investment income details will be sent to us when payers adopt the new Investment income reporting requirements. These customers will then get an automatically calculated income tax assessment.
The requirements are voluntary for the 2020 tax year and mandatory in the 2021 year.
If your client receives income other than the reportable income types listed, they will need to file an Individual tax return - IR3.
Other types of income may include:
You can update your clients income sources in myIR. Select Manage beside Current income types in their income tax account to add or remove income types.
If you’ve not been contacted about your income tax assessment, it’s most likely because we don’t know how to contact you. You should always make sure to update your details with us whenever they change.
If you’ve checked that your details are correct and still haven’t received an assessment, you can contact us for more information.
When we look at the information contained in their last two years’ returns and the information received during the current year we are satisfied we have all their reportable income information and can automatically issue their income tax assessment. This means that your client will get any refund they’re owed sooner, and without an unnecessary IR3.
Similar to the above answer, based on their last two years’ returns (which were processed in our old tax system), we think that they have other income that needs to be returned in an IR3. These clients should have already received an IR3 – either in myIR or on paper.
If you have clients with an income type that requires them to file an IR3, you can update this in myIR. The Current income types box on the Summary tab will show all the income we know about already. Just click Manage and add any new types. This update will take effect immediately (including for the 2019 tax year) provided your client hasn’t already received an income tax assessment or more information request.
If you have clients who have already received an income tax assessment from us which needs to be amended, you can update their income tax assessment details in myIR. If this is done before the terminal tax due date, your client will receive a new assessment. This is not a reassessment, so the client will not be charged with any penalties or interest.
We’ve listened to your feedback on this, and have decided to extend the 45 day hold period for anyone linked to a tax agent with an extension of time.
Some customers, such as those who receive schedular payments and wish to claim expenses, will be asked to provide additional information before we release their automatically issued income tax assessment.
Instead of releasing the assessment after 45 days, you will be able to control the release – either confirming the information is correct or adding in the additional information required. You will need to do this by 31 March – after this, the assessment will be released.
To make it clear which customers are affected by this extension, we have now issued letters reflecting the new timeframes. Any new letters will refer to the extended timeframe.
It’s important to note that – going forward – you won’t be able to control the release of any new clients you link to after we’ve already set the 45 day hold period.
No, you can’t. However, you can update the income assessment details in myIR.
If your client was supposed to file an IR3 but received an automatically issued income tax assessment, you can file an IR3 via E-File that will replace the original assessment (provided we receive it before the terminal tax due date).
If we were unaware the client had other income or information to declare, their income assessment can be changed up to their terminal tax date without triggering a reassessment. Any amount to pay will be due on the terminal tax date.
If your clients had less than $200 of interest income in the previous two years, we may automatically issue their income tax assessment for 2019 before we receive all their interest information from financial institutions. As the tax consequence is minor (under $200), you don’t need to amend these assessments to include the missing amounts.
The rules around investment income are changing and the information collected for joint accounts is expanding to include the IRD numbers for each account holder (if held). These rules are optional for the current tax year and will be mandatory from 1 April 2020.
If an investment income payer stays in the current reporting regime, we will only receive the IRD numbers for the primary account holder if they are on the certificate. We will know it relates to a joint account and can give customers the chance to update the investment income for their split before the assessment is complete.
For those who have elected into the new regime during the voluntary period, we will know if an account is held jointly, and if the payer holds the individual joint account owners information that will be passed onto us. The income related to that joint account will be initially allocated equally to all joint account owners for whom we are provided IRD numbers. There will be a field in myIR where you can update the equal split, however you will only be able to update the split for clients you are linked to. Any percentage you apply to an account (for example, 50%) will be retained for future years.
If we’ve requested more information from your client before automatically issuing their income tax assessment, or they need to file an IR3, you will have the opportunity to make adjustments to the split. Any adjustments will be retained for future tax years or until you update them again.
Income from PIEs is included on the income displayed in myIR, but is not included in the income tax assessment unless the PIR rate used was too low. If you think PIE income has been incorrectly included or not included in your client’s assessment, please contact your account manager.