Here is an update from Inland Revenue on the upcoming starting at the end of this week commonly called “Release 4”. The information below is correct at the time of this article, although given the evolving Covid-19 situation, this is subject to change. 

Read more from Inland Revenue relating to COVID-19 recent events…


  • Inland Revenue’s fourth transformation release has been confirmed, with improved services for a range of customers and enhancements to our online services, available from Thursday 16 April.  
  • To make these changes we will have to shut down all of our core systems and services, as well as B2B interfaces and data shares with a number of external organisations. 
  • This means we will be officially closed to customers from 3pm on the afternoon of Thursday 9 April.  
  • During this time all our services will be unavailable, including myIR secure online services and our contact centres.  
    • Note that given this time falls within the NZ Government’s lockdown, all front of office services in all locations will already be shut, in line with the COVID-19 requirements. 
  • All going to plan, we expect our systems and services to be back open for customers on the morning of Thursday 16 April.  
    • Note that given this time falls within the NZ Government’s lockdown, all front of office services in all locations will remain shut, in line with the COVID-19 requirements. Phone services will resume but will be limited and the best way for customers to contact us will be online, through myIR online services. 
  • Once our systems are up and running we’ll start re-opening our B2B connectivity with key partners, such as KiwiSaver scheme providers, Studylink, Customs, Companies Office and Charities Services. 
  • In preparation for this closedown, Inland Revenue has run a number of dress rehearsals, practising all aspects of system shut down and start-up. We are confident that we’re in a good place heading into this. 

Why we’re going ahead with Release 4 despite COVID-19 

  • As you can imagine we have given a lot of consideration to this decision in light of COVID-19 and the challenging environment and we remain committed to implementing the latest round of changes.  
  • Release 4 will enable us to further simplify requirements, reduce effort, improve services and allow customers to do more for themselves.  Any delay increases the risk that we won’t be able to meet customers’ needs at this difficult time. 
  • In arriving at this decision we’ve talked to a number of our partners to get their thoughts and feedback.   
  • Discussion has included how we’ll support our customers, what New Zealanders gain from our going live, along with risks and benefits. 
  • We acknowledge that doing this during the COVID-19 pandemic increases the risk of things not going smoothly, and the risk of us not being able to meet demand for our services in the following weeks. However, the risks involved in any future date are unknown, as we don’t know what will be happening in the economy then. Not making these changes now would mean delaying the benefits to New Zealand, without necessarily reducing the risk.   

What you need to note ahead of and during our closedown

  • If you’re a myIR user or employer, note that:   
    • All draft returns or draft returns need to be finalised and submitted by 3pm Thursday 9 April, otherwise they will be deleted as they can’t be transferred as part of the closedown process.    
  • Employment Information (EI) returns for payday filing that are due over the temporary closedown can be filed on Friday 17 April.
    • For returns due 9 April, note that our systems will be unavailable from 3pm that day.   
  • Inland Revenue will write-off any penalties and interest for businesses unable to pay taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19. Don’t worry about contacting us right now. Get in touch with us when you can.
  • To help get correct payments to people, we would like employers to still file their returns as normal. This helps us work out the right amounts for people and helps the Government continue to respond to what is happening in the economy.
  • If you use the electronic Resident Withholding Tax Exemption Register, note that this will be unavailable from 3pm Thursday 9 April to 8am Thursday 16 April. 

Key changes you’ll see from Thursday 16 April

  • When we re-open on the morning of Thursday 16 April, customers will be able to take advantage of a number of changes, such as:
    • enhancements to our online services, specifically myIR, including improved navigation, more information available online and in one place, and more self-service options
    • better services for Student loan and KiwiSaver customers, along with some changes for our Working for Families customers
    • some enhanced Gateway Services capability
    • a new employee onboarding process. Information sent to employers will be more streamlined and consolidated.

Key changes you’ll see in the lead up to closedown

  • There are also a number of changes that are already effective, or become effective, in advance of when we temporarily close down in April. These include:
    • a 15% Research and Development Tax Incentive available to businesses
    • a more cost-effective short process ruling, which is available to businesses who can apply via myIR
    • resident Withholding Tax exemption certificates are no longer issued and are managed through an electronic register.
    • more frequent electronic reporting of investment income becomes mandatory from 1 April.

Who to contact

If you have any queries about our work to prepare for our fourth transformation release, including the relevant areas of focus, please get in touch with:

Rata Kamau
Business Transformation Account Manager – Small & Medium Enterprises
Inland Revenue
Phone – 04-8902246
Mobile – 029-8902246
Email – rata.kamau@ird.govt.nz

Read more from Inland Revenue relating to COVID-19 recent events…

Thanks Inland Revenue