Make a payment

Disputes process initiated by the taxpayer

If you disagree with a disputable decision or assessment we’ve made, or want to propose an adjustment to your tax return, you can initiate the disputes process. This is called a taxpayer initiated dispute.

The disputes process is designed to resolve disagreements as quickly as possible by:

  • early identification of all issues
  • full disclosure of the facts and evidence, and
  • consultation between us.

If we have initiated the dispute this is called a Commissioner initiated dispute and follows a slightly different process.

Taxpayer initiated disputes process

This is a brief overview of the steps involved in a taxpayer initiated dispute.

Not all steps are required in every case. If we accept your NOPA at step 1, we'll send you a new assessment and that will be the end of the dispute.

For more detailed information refer to the guides and standard practice statement in the related links section below.
 

Step 1: You send us a Notice of proposed adjustment

You want to change a return you've filed:


You must send us the Notice of proposed adjustment (IR770) (NOPA) within four months from the date your return is received.

You disagree with an assessment or disputable decision we've made:


You must send us the NOPA within four months from the date on the assessment or disputable decision and any overdue return for the assessment period.

Use our Notice of proposed adjustment (IR770) form. This form must include:

  • the amount of the change you want made to your return or the assessment we've made, or the change you want made to our decision
  • the facts that support the change you want
  • why you think the change is correct, and
  • a list of the documents you've attached.

Outcome:

If we accept all your changes we'll issue a new assessment in line with your amounts and the matter ends there.

If we disagree with any part of your notice, the process continues with Step 2.

Step 2: We send you a Notice of response

We'll send you a Notice of response (NOR) within two months from the date you issued your NOPA.

Our notice will:

  • give reasons why we disagree with your proposed changes, and
  • specify the amounts we consider are correct.

Outcome:

If you accept our notice we’ll issue a new assessment in line with our amounts or the original assessment stands, and the matter ends there.

If you disagree with our notice, the process continues with Step 3.

Step 3: You disagree with our Notice of response

If you disagree with our NOR you must write and tell us within two months of the date we issued it.

Outcome:

If you don't disagree with our NOR, you're deemed by law to have accepted it.

If you disagree with our NOR the process continues with Step 4.

Step 4: Conference between both parties

We get together to:

  • exchange relevant information and documents about the dispute, and
  • try and resolve differences about the facts, laws and legal arguments.

This can be done over the phone or in person. You can choose to have a senior Inland Revenue staff member act as a facilitator for the conference. This facilitator will have had no previous involvement with the dispute.

Outcome:

If we reach an agreement at the conference, we'll issue a new assessment to reflect that agreement.

If we can't reach an agreement at the conference, you can ask for our agreement to opt out of the remainder of the disputes process if you consider that the dispute can be more efficiently resolved at the Taxation Review Authority or High Court. If we agree to your request to opt out, we'll send you a Challenge notice and the process continues with Step 9.

If we can't reach an agreement at the conference, or on your opt out request, the process continues with Step 5.

 

Step 5: We send you a Disclosure notice

A Disclosure notice requires you to complete a Statement of position (IR773) (SOP) if you want to continue the dispute.

Step 6: You send us a Statement of position

Use our Statement of position (IR773) form.

This form must include:

  • the facts that support your view
  • the questions that need to be answered to resolve the dispute
  • why you think your view is correct, and
  • a list of the evidence you're relying on.

This statement must be sent within two months from the date we issued the Disclosure notice, otherwise you're deemed by law to have not initiated the dispute.

If the dispute goes to the Taxation Review Authority or High Court, you can't introduce any issues or propositions of law that weren't in your SOP unless we agree to it. This is called the Issues and propositions of law exclusion rule.

A judge may allow previously undisclosed issues and propositions of law to be raised in very limited circumstances.

Step 7: We send you a SOP

Once you issue your SOP, we have two months to issue ours. If the dispute goes to the Taxation Review Authority or High Court, the issues and propositions of law exclusion rule says that we can't introduce any new issues and propositions of law that weren’t in our SOP. The only way we can introduce new issues and propositions of law is if you agree to it.

A judge may allow previously undisclosed issues and propositions of law to be raised in very limited circumstances.

In most cases, if no agreement is reached by this stage the case will go to our Disputes Review Unit for consideration.

Step 8: The Disputes Review Unit completes an adjudication report

The Disputes Review Unit staff are independent experts within Inland Revenue who'll take a fresh look at the case. They'll consider the:

  • facts
  • evidence
  • legal principles, and
  • issues raised

in each of the SOPs.

The Disputes Review Unit will reach a decision and send a copy of the adjudication report to you and the Inland Revenue staff member involved.

Outcome:

If the Disputes Review Unit decides in your favour, we'll:

  • issue a new assessment, or
  • make a new disputable decision

in line with the amounts you proposed and the matter ends there.

If the Disputes Review Unit decides in our favour:

  • your return, or
  • the assessment or disputable decision we made

stands. The Disputes Review Unit will include a challenge notice in the letter advising of the adjudication report decision.

If you accept this decision the matter ends there.

If you are dissatisfied with this decision the process continues with Step 9.

Step 9: Taxation Review Authority or the High Court

You can take your case to the Taxation Review Authority or the High Court. Most people have their case heard before the Taxation Review Authority because it is less formal, usually costs less and is not open to the public.

You have two months to do this from the:

  • date of the challenge notice, or
  • date of the new assessment based on the adjudication report decision.

You’ll receive information about how to take your case to the Taxation Review Authority or the High Court with the Challenge notice or new assessment.

It’s up to you to prove your position in the Taxation Review Authority or the High Court. You must prove:

  • the assessment or disputable decision is wrong
  • why the assessment or disputable decision is wrong
  • the amount by which the assessment or disputable decision is wrong.

However, if we’ve assessed you for a shortfall penalty for evasion or a similar act we must prove the assessment is correct.

Back to top

If you miss a deadline

We must both meet a series of deadlines throughout the disputes process.

If you don't take the required action within the time limit given, you'll be deemed by law to have accepted our position unless:

  • exceptional circumstances apply, or
  • you have demonstrated you intended to enter into or continue the disputes process.

Exceptional circumstances are events that are entirely outside the control of you or your agent that could not have been reasonably anticipated.

Back to top

Make sure we receive all your correspondence

Once you've written your:

  • Notice of proposed adjustment (NOPA)
  • rejection of our Notice of response (NOR)
  • Statement of position (SOP)

please send it to us.

If you have been in contact with an Inland Revenue staff member about the dispute, send all your correspondence to that person. Otherwise send your correspondence to:

Inland Revenue
PO Box 39010
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045

If you have a myIR account, you can send your dispute document to us electronically in one of the following two ways:

  • By using the myIR secure mail service where the dispute document must be identified by selecting the Disputes Documents category; or
  • By using the Upload requested document service and entering the relevant response code, if you have been issued one.

We do not consent to receiving a dispute document by other electronic means, unless this has been specifically agreed with you.

Back to top

Do you need professional assistance?

We recommend that you get independent advice from an accountant or other professional tax advisor if you wish to proceed with your dispute. This is especially important if complex issues are involved.

Because of the nature of the disputes process, we won't fill in or draft any notices or forms required. However, we can assist by explaining such things as the required forms and time limits, or by referring you to our booklets and guides on the disputes process.

You may also find helpful the NOPA guides in the related links below. The NOPA guides suggest entries you might make in a NOPA for a particular type of dispute if you were to fill in the NOPA yourself. The suggestions may be useful for other types of disputes too. The NOPA guides are based on fictitious scenarios and are intended to be examples.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Please send any feedback to us through our website feedback form.

Back to top