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Tax, benefits and finance
If you’re earning any sort of income, you have to pay tax. Make sure you're paying the right amount so you do not end up with a large bill.
When you pay tax or do a tax return you need to know what to include as income. Check to see what counts as a source of income.
Most people automatically get a tax refund if they’re owed one.
If you start or stop work, remember that you may need to change the tax code you use for any other sources of income, such as NZ Superannuation, investments or another job.
You pay tax on income from all your savings and investments, whether they're in NZ or overseas. Your tax rate is based on your income.
GST is tax on goods and services. The GST rate is 15%.
You can donate money to charities and organisations directly from your pay.
When you start getting NZ Super you might still have other sources of income. You need to make sure you’re using the correct tax code.
If you’re coming to NZ to work, you’ll need to pay tax.
Get an IRD number
It’s important to get an IRD number as all your tax, entitlements (like student loan or Working for Families Tax Credits) and personal details are linked to this number.
Your child will need an IRD number if they’re earning any money or interest, or if you’re applying for Working for Families or child support.
If you’re starting an organisation that will involve money changing hands, it’ll need its own IRD number.
Benefits and allowances
You need to apply for most benefits online, then meet with a case manager before your application is accepted and you start being paid.
If you're getting a benefit, NZ Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension from Work and Income, you must let them know if your contact details or circumstances change.
When you apply to Work and Income for a benefit or allowance, and while you’re receiving it, you need to tell them if you get other income — either regular payments or a one-off.
A Community Services Card can reduce healthcare costs. Anyone on a low income who is aged 16 or over, a NZ citizen or permanent resident and normally lives here, can apply.
Managing your money in retirement
Most people get NZ Superannuation when they turn 65, but there are other sources of income you might use to support yourself. These can affect the tax you pay or benefits you can apply for.
If you've retired on a limited income, you may be able to get government help to pay for regular costs or unexpected expenses. You can use your SuperGold Card for transport and other discounts.
NZ Superannuation is a universal payment for NZ citizens and residents who are 65 or older. If you've served in New Zealand's Armed Forces you might be able to apply for a Veteran’s Pension instead.
If you cannot get any other financial support from the government, you can apply for help with day-to-day living costs and health.
There are community services that can help you manage your finances.
New Zealand Superannuation and the Veteran's Pension
NZ Super and Veteran’s Pension payments are made every second Tuesday. If there’s a public holiday, payments are made earlier.
NZ Superannuation is a universal payment for NZ citizens and residents who are 65 or older.
If you've served in NZ's Armed Forces during a war or a recognised emergency, you can apply for a Veteran’s Pension. In some cases your spouse or partner may also qualify for one.
How much NZ Superannuation you get paid depends on whether you have a partner and your living arrangements.
You'll get a higher amount of NZ Superannuation or Veteran's Pension if you're single and live by yourself. This takes into account the extra costs of running a household on your own.
If you live overseas, you may be able to keep getting some or all of your NZ Superannuation or Veteran's Pension. What you’ll get depends on where you go and how long you’ve lived in New Zealand.
If you lived or worked in another country you may be able to get their social security pension. When you apply for NZ Superannuation or the Veteran's Pension, apply for these pensions at the same time.
If you’re getting NZ Superannuation or the Veteran’s Pension, you must let Work and Income know of changes to personal information such as your address, your relationship or your living arrangements.
If you're away from NZ for 26 weeks or less, you may still receive your NZ Superannuation or Veteran's Pension.
You can get ACC payments and NZ Super payments at the same time, but only for 2 years.
Date printed 29 January 2023