Make a tax return when you’re in New Zealand – backpacking tips

Make tax return BEFORE departure

You can easily find all articles about the tax in New Zealand on the following page.


First of all, you have to answer the following questions yourself:

1.       Am I still in New Zealand?

2.       Will I not work anymore, until my departure?

3.       Does the current tax year (1.4.-31.3.) End only after my departure?

4.        Did I officially work and pay taxes on my IRD number?

5.        Do I still have access to my New Zealand bank account?

Only if you have answered all five questions with YES, it makes sense for you to continue reading.


If you are already in Germany please read on here.


What do I need?

First, you need your passport and your IRD number. Then you visit the Inland Revenue Department website, where you can find an office near you or on your way, and write down the address and opening hours.

Here* you will find all places to make an appointment with the IRD.

Offices that also help without appointment are located in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington. Just open google maps and type in Inland Revenue Department.

You can also check here* if you have to refund taxes or pay taxes.


Tax rates in New Zealand 2018/2019

For a quick overview I list here the current tax rates of the year 2016/2017.

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 $ 14000 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.


What you do at the appointment

After you have made an appointment, you go to the office and explain your concern just that you want to get your taxes back because you leave soon before the end of the running tax year. Of course, you only get the money back which you paid too much and not everything of the tax you paid. You can still deduct 0.7% ACC (accident insurance contribution) on the above tax burden. The difference between above tax rate and ACC contribution to the amount paid is what you will normally get back.


The ladies and gentlemen in the IRD Offices help fill in the form (sometimes you have to ask for help) and you can leave the application on site. To repay you please give your New Zealand account, even if you just do it shortly before departure, please use your New Zealand account. The alternative to transferring money to your New Zealand account is a check sent to a desired address. Unfortunately, redeeming a foreign check in Germany is extremely expensive and therefore not useful.


Dollar Sign on black ground

Photo by Jimi Filipovski



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What to do after the tax refund

After repaying the taxes, you either have the option of simply spending the money in New Zealand or, alternatively, if you do not need it or are already back in Germany, there is an easy way to transfer money conveniently and cheaply.

Important for the international transfer is that you have access via online banking to your New Zealand account and also have an account in the desired country of your transfer.


Transfer NZD cheaply and comfortably to Europe

Now starts the trick: A normal international transfer from your bank account is a costly undertaking. Not only does the bank take its bad exchange rate, in addition you usually still have fees at the sender and the receiving bank for a transfer from abroad.

It is better and cheaper to use the Transferwise* transfer service in most cases. The fees, for the combination of New Zealand to Germany, costs up to 0.7% when transferring 1000 NZD. In most cases this is already enough to transfer your tax and any remaining money from New Zealand to Germany. Transferwise shows you the total amount paid out before making any transfers, so you can easily compare with other services as well. The registration with Transferwise is of course free, even if you do not want to use the service afterwards or do not want to use it yet. Just register and have a look on the rates and how everything works.


How does Transferwise work?

The basic principle of the service is simple, instead of making an expensive international transfer, Transferwise has accounts in different countries. If you choose to change New Zealand Dollars to Euros then you will transfer money from your New Zealand account to Transferwise's New Zealand account. In return, Transferwise will then transfer the counter value from their European account to your German bank account. So you have saved on charges and more money in your account and nobody has to pay expensive bank fees.


Duration of the transfer

The whole normally takes only 1-2 working days and works very reliable. Meanwhile, we have used Transferwise several times. Please note that this includes only working days and the time difference between Germany and New Zealand.


Just share your experience with us if you have used it too.


Information about Transferwise

Here again the Transferwise Link* to cost-effective transfer. Of course, Transferwise is not only limited to New Zealand, but also possible with many other beautiful countries. The registration is of course free even if you do not use the service or will not use it yet.


Questions, comments or ideas

Questions, comments or ideas? Then we look forward to your comment under this article. Frequent questions will be added later in the article. Thank you and have a good time in New Zealand!



* Marked links are affiliate links. This means that if you buy a service or a recommended product via one of these links, we will receive a commission. Nothing else changes for you. At the same time you support our work here in the blog and the various social media channels.


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