Make New Zealand Easiest Tax Return IR3 When You’re Back Home – Backpacking Tipp’s

What to do for your tax refund if you have already left New Zealand

The subject of tax and the associated tax refund is always interesting as a backpacker. So if you want to see, if you can get a refund, then you should read this article.


The tax declaration in New Zealand is digital and not a bureaucratic monster as in most other European countries. Of course you need a few minutes to sort and send everything, but we were always able to get our tax returns done in about 15 minutes. Then you just need to wait till your money arrived.

If you have a different constellation than the one mentioned here, you will find all our tax contributions in the blog at this address.



First of all you have to answer the following question to yourself:

  1. Did I officially work and pay taxes on my IRD number?
  2. Do I still have my New Zealand account?
  3. Have I already left New Zealand?


Only if you have answered all these questions with YES does it make sense for you to continue reading this article.


Registration at MyIR

First, go to the Inland Revenue Department website. Since the IRD authority does not have a public email address, you first have to register for the online service tool “MyIR”. (The easiest way to register there is to see it here.) Without registering, you will not have access to the necessary contact information or forms, if you are lucky enough to have worked in the New Zealand fiscal year (1.4.-31.3), you can also do the form online directly on the IRD website directly after registration at MyIR online.


How much can I get back?

How much you get back exactly depends on the taxes paid and your wages. The tax payment is calculated on the basis of your extrapolated annual salary. For example, if you were to spend 700 NZD a week, that's roughly 50 times. This means that your tax burden will be calculated based on 36,000 NZD. In most cases, you work as a backpacker but not at all the year, so you usually get a nice pocket money back. In our case, Kathi and I each had between 300 to 500 NZD as a repayment.

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In addition, you can check* here in the tax calculator if you get back taxes or pay taxes. With the tax rates, you can easily see for yourself if you are more likely to get a refund or an additional payment.


New Zealand tax rates 2018/2019

For a quick overview I list the current tax rates of the year 2018/2019.

The New Zealand Tax Rates are as follows:

  • If you earn up to NZ $ 14000 you want to pay 10.50%
  • If you earn from NZ $ 14001 to NZ $ 48000 you want to pay 17.50%
  • If you earn from NZ $ 48001 to NZ $ 70000 you will pay 30.00%
  • If you earn from NZ $ 70001 and over you will pay 33.00% …


46.70% when an employee does not fully complete the Tax Code Declaration (IR330) form. A completed form must include name, IRD number and tax code. The form must be signed.


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Fill in the appropriate form

After the IRD has given you the right form online and you have completed the whole, you can either return the completed application or send it online via the MyIR website.

If you have any questions, the IRD can help you via the contact option in MyIR. You will find the contact after the login to MyIR on the right side at the point Secure Message, here you can write a message to the IRD. Depending on the season, the answer takes a few days to a maximum of two weeks.


Where is the money paid?

New Zealand account still available

Do you still have your New Zealand bank account please use this as the payment option. The tax refund will then be transferred directly to your New Zealand account. After receiving of payment you can transfer this then for example with our guidance very cheap. The instructions can be found in our blog post here.

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No New Zealand account left

If you no longer have a New Zealand account, you can just get a cheque to your address. With the cheque, you go to the bank and hand him over. Finished.

The processing time is usually about 8-12 weeks, and then the cheque should arrive at your address.

The problem with redeeming a New Zealand cheque is unfortunately the following. First, it takes much longer than a direct bank transfer. Second, you have huge fees. Check cashing from abroad costs a relatively high fee for most banks. In addition, you will get the bad exchange rate from the bank. So you quickly lose a double-digit percentage range. And who likes to give away money?


If you still have friends or acquaintances in New Zealand you can also enter their account from New Zealand and you can then choose from let them transfer the money. If you want to do that, the above tutorial is again interesting for you.


If you have the opportunity to use your New Zealand account, then do that because it is simply the most relaxed and affordable option.


Have fun with your tax return

Have fun with your tax refund. I hope that's worth it for you. I am happy to comment if your tax refund went well.

* Affiliate Links, I get a small commission, you don’t pay anymore. Thanks for your support!


  1. Many people in New Zealand have Income Protection insurance policies. These are claimable in your personal income tax return (whether you are in business or in paid employment) as long as any proceeds upon making a claim are treated as taxable income.

    • Hi,

      thanks for the hint. Never thought about that before but good to know.
      Maybe thats an option for others, most traveller probably won’t need that.



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