Owens Tax Advisors regularly present and provide public comment on topical tax matters.

Our principal, Jeff Owens is also an accomplished and popular public speaker on tax matters. If you would like to arrange for Jeff to comment on or prepare and present a lively discussion on topical tax matters, please contact us.

IRD contacting our clients

Friends tax agents don’t let friends clients look at the IRD website

Taxpayers who derive income from NZ sourced salary and wages, interest and dividends with tax correctly deducted at source do not require assistance.

Taxpayers who derive any other sorts of income generally DO need assistance, and often appoint a tax agent.

In that case agreed protocols generally provide for all correspondence to be sent to the tax agent who can deal with it in a professional and timely way.

IRD continues to undermine those protocols through the IRD website, written and electronic correspondence.

IRD is constantly telling taxpayers they can handle their own affairs and misleading them into filing tax returns and paying tax prematurely.

Read on

Foreign investment funds – IRD forcing default calculation method to maximise collection of tax and deny taxpayers’ rights

In late 2022 the Commissioner issued a rotten Christmas present to taxpayers, asserting that when a taxpayer has FIF interests and is late filing a tax return the Commissioner gets to deny a calculation methodology specifically allowed by legislation. Bah humbug.  Submissions close 10 February 2023.

Full details below and at : Foreign investment fund (FIF) default calculation method (ird.govt.nz)

Read on Foreign investment funds – IRD forcing default calculation method to maximise collection of tax and deny taxpayers’ rights

IRD is expanding offshore

Businesses and individuals are moving rapidly into online spaces and adopting new technology.  Long lunches and coffees with colleagues have been replaced or at least augmented by Zoom and other online meetings, DM and other instant messaging, and a new reality free from traditional constraints of face-to-face meetings and physical offices.   

In case you thought otherwise, IRD has kept up with the pace of change too.

There is a wealth of information available to IRD to assist with ensuring compliance with New Zealand rules, and it seems IRD are on track to make the most of it.

We have written previously in respect of IRD using data matching to identify New Zealand property transactions and suggesting (rightly or wrongly) that they should be taxable. 

However, IRD is increasingly sourcing information from overseas and matching that against the information they hold here in New Zealand.

Read on “IRD is expanding offshore”

IRD new computer system and the benefits (and perils) of automation

Are we there yet?

Not a question that anyone wants to hear bringing with it memories of long journeys on roads that twist and turn and with no real understanding of where we are, or maybe even where we are going.

It has now been six months since Inland Revenue proudly announced the successful completion of the last of a three phase journey to deliver the $1.7 billion START system – see


There is no doubt that enhancements were made – the rapid deployment of the Covid19 support products being good examples. There is both good and bad in the new system.

However a significant negative is the deluge of correspondence direct to the taxpayer. This undermines the relationship between the taxpayer and the tax agent, and creates a huge amount of waste to the economy with taxpayers and tax agents  having to spend too much time sorting out these unnecessary IRD initiated contacts direct to the taxpayer.

Read on IRD new computer system and the benefits (and perils) of automation

IRD Debt collection

This article looks at current and historical IRD debt collection and what IRD is and isn’t doing about it.

To whet your appetite look at the chart below:

In this article we comment on collection performance pre and post the new START computer system, and how we think IRD is getting it wrong.

Read on “IRD Debt collection”

Brightline test getting brighter

Context and land generally

The taxation of property transactions has long been misunderstood in New Zealand.

For many decades now, property purchased with an intention or purpose of resale has been taxable when sold.  This provision still exists. 

Some commentators suggest the intention rule ceases to apply after ten years of property ownership.  See for example Ashley Church: “The Bright Line Test and other silly laws” published in January 2021 by internet advertising company Oneroof Limited – refer  www.oneroof.co.nz/news/38928. This is simply untrue

However, historically it has been and remains hard to prove subjective intention or purpose and, other than the most blatant of cases, IRD have been understandably reluctant to judicially challenge using these provisions.

Other land taxing provisions

Irrespective of intention at time of acquisition, there are numerous other provisions serve to include the sale of property as being on revenue account and taxable. 

For example, income from land that is part of the businesses of dealing, dividing or developing land or erecting buildings is taxable, as is land sold within ten years by someone associated with these businesses.  There are other provisions hat can apply, and there are some exceptions. 

Introduction and initial purpose of Brightline Rules

New Brightline Test rules applying initially for two years (land acquired from 1 October 2015) and then five years (land acquired from 29 March 2018) provided some certainty – residential property acquired and sold within these timeframes is now simply taxable – subject to only a handful of exemptions.

This simplicity made it easier for IRD to capture many of those transactions where a purpose or intention for resale often existed, but was difficult to prove.  The measure is blunt but indisputably effective.

But now things have got messy…

Read on “Brightline test getting brighter”

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