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IR4 Company returns

Income tax return

All companies that are active and New Zealand resident for tax purposes (except for look-through companies) must file an IR4 income tax return each year, including bodies corporate and unit trusts.

Look-through companies (LTCs) file an IR7 income tax return each year they’re an LTC. For further information about LTCs refer to the Look-through companies (IR879) guide.

If yours is an Australian company or part of an imputation group, please see expand-Trans-Tasmanimputationandimputationgroups.

Non-active companies

A non-active company is a company that has:

  • not received any gross income

  • no deductions

  • not disposed of any assets

  • not been party to any transactions during the tax year that gave rise to:

    • income for any person, or
    • fringe benefits to any employee or any former employee, or
    • a debit in the company’s ICA (imputation credit account).

These companies may be excused from filing tax returns if they complete a Non-active company declaration (IR433) form.

Return due date

If the company has a 31 March balance date, you have until 7 July 2019 to file the return, unless you have been granted an extension of time. If you have a balance date other than 31 March, this date may be different. Call Inland Revenue on 0800 377 774 if you are not sure of the filing date.

If the company has a tax agent, you may have until 31 March 2020 to file the return. If this applies, contact your agent.

Late filing penalties

If you have to file a return and you don’t send Inland Revenue one, you may be charged a late filing penalty. You should apply for an extension of time if you are unable to file your return on time.

The penalty for filing your IR4 late depends on the company’s net income. If your income is:

  • below $100,000, the penalty is $50

  • between $100,000 and $1 million (both figures inclusive), the penalty is $250

  • above $1 million, the penalty is $500.

If you need an extension to your tax return filing date, tell Inland Revenue your reasons before your return is due. If you get a late filing penalty before applying for an extension, the penalty will stand. If you use a tax agent who has an extension of time arrangement with Inland Revenue and the extension is withdrawn, Inland Revenue will notify you that you must now file your return.

Tax sparing

Any company that has claimed a foreign tax credit for a tax sparing arrangement under a double tax agreement, must also complete a Tax sparing disclosure return (IR486) and send it to:

International Revenue Strategy

Inland Revenue Department

PO Box 2198

Wellington 6140

Group investment funds

If the company’s income is solely from Category A income, you must file an IR4. If the income is solely from Category B income, you must file an IR 6. If the income is a combination of both Category A and Category B income, you must file an IR4 and IR44E. Read the notes in the IR44E for further information.

Research and development (R&D) tax losses

You may be able to cash out any R&D losses if your company is a loss-making company that is a resident in New Zealand and your expenditure on R&D salary and wages is 20% or more of your total salary and wage expenditure. For more information, go to (search keywords: R&D).

Superannuation schemes

A superannuation scheme, not registered with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), which lets beneficiaries contribute, will be treated as a company for tax purposes and must file IR4 returns.

Trans-Tasman imputation and imputation groups

Australian companies can elect to maintain a New Zealand imputation account from the 2003–04 tax year. A form of grouping (for imputation purposes only) has also been introduced, which Australian companies may join.

Return filing for trans-Tasman imputation

Australian companies that make a trans-Tasman imputation election are required to file an Annual imputation return (IR4J) by 31 July, after the end of the tax year. A Companies income tax return (IR4) isn’t required, unless the company has a permanent establishment (for example, maintains an office) in New Zealand.

Return filing for imputation groups

Company tax return (IR4)

Company returns must be filed by:

  • all New Zealand companies that elect to be a member of an imputation group and

  • Australian companies with New Zealand-sourced income.

Annual imputation return (IR4J)

The imputation return for an imputation group should be filed by the group representative on a separate IR4J return.

Imputation group members should not include any imputation details on page 6 of the IR4. An exception applies for nominated companies of a resident imputation group where there is an ICA debit balance.

Foreign dividend payments (FDP)

The FDP rules have been fully repealed from 1 April 2017. This means FDP can no longer be included in your annual income tax return. Please do not include FDP credits in Box 14A and also leave 41B and 42B blank.

For more information, go to

Imputation return

Most New Zealand resident companies, unit trusts, producer boards and cooperatives must file an imputation return each year. If you’re an Australian company or part of an imputation group, please read expand-Trans-Tasmanimputationandimputationgroups. The following bodies don’t have to file imputation returns:

  • non-resident companies

  • look-through companies

  • trustee companies (but not group investment funds with Category A income)

  • any company with a constitution that prevents it distributing all its income or property to any proprietor, member or shareholder

  • companies whose income is completely exempt from tax

  • local authorities

  • Crown research institutes

  • non-active companies

  • Maori authorities.

If you need to file the company’s imputation return before the income tax return is due, to allow a refund to be released, complete an Annual imputation return (IR4J).

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