Inland Revenue Department (New Zealand)

The Inland Revenue or Inland Revenue Department (IRD; Māori: Te Tari Taake) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on tax policy, collecting and disbursing payments for social support programmes, and collecting tax.

Inland Revenue
Te Tari Taake
Agency overview
Formed1878 (1878)
Preceding agency
  • Land and Income Tax Department
JurisdictionNew Zealand
Headquarters55 Featherston Street
Wellington 6012
Annual budgetTotal budget for 2019/20
Vote Revenue
Minister responsible
Agency executive

The Inland Revenue's Māori name is an older spelling of Te Tari Tāke, meaning 'The Department [of] Tax'. Despite long vowels in Māori now being expressed with macrons over the vowel rather than double vowels, the department continues to use the double vowel due to the resemblance of the word tāke to the English word take.[3]


Inland Revenue started out as the Land Tax Department in 1878. The department was renamed the Land and Income Tax Department in 1892 with the central office set up in Wellington.

Only in 1952, when the organisation joined with the Stamp Duties Department, was the organisation known as the Inland Revenue Department.

In 1995, a Rewrite Advisory Panel was established to consider and advise on issues arising during the rewriting of the income tax legislation, as part of New Zealand tax reform arising from the Working Party on the Reorganisation of the Income Tax Act 1976. The panel was disestablished in 2014 at the completion of the tax reform.[4]

Service delivery

In 2018–19, Inland Revenue collected $79.5 billion in tax revenue,[5] which was more than 80% of the money the government used to pay for services that all New Zealanders benefited from, including social security and welfare, health and education. Other services included law and order, housing and community development, environmental protection, defence, transport, and heritage, culture and recreation.[1]

Inland Revenue is undergoing business transformation activities to make tax and social benefits simpler to receive and pay. As at 2019, these changes have saved $60 million in administrative costs, added $90 million in additional revenue through improved compliance and reduced effort for small to medium-sized businesses.[5]

The department also administers the following social support programmes:

Acts and regulations administered

Legislation administered by the Inland Revenue Department includes:[6]

  • Child Support Act 1991
  • Estate and Gift Duties Act 1968
  • Gaming Duties Act 1971
  • Goods and Services Tax Act 1985
  • Income Tax Act 2007
  • Stamp and Cheque Duties Act 1971
  • Student Loan Scheme Act 1992
  • Tax Administration Act 1994
  • Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994
  • Unclaimed Money Act 1971
  • parts of the KiwiSaver Act 2006
  • parts of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Paid Parental Leave) Act 1987


  • In October 2019, an Inland Revenue employee was awarded the State Services Commissioner’s Commendation for Frontline Excellence for her investigation into the suspected multimillion-dollar income suppression by a chain of restaurants. This investigation led to one of the most significant prosecution cases undertaken by Inland Revenue in the past decade.[7]
  • In 2019 Inland Revenue was awarded a Distinguished Service Award from Multicultural New Zealand in recognition of its support of community members in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks.[5]
  • Inland Revenue, along with The Treasury, were finalists at the Spirit of Service Awards 2019 for their partnership work to enhance tax policy through kaitiakitanga (stewardship), manaakitanga (care), ōhanga (prosperity) and whanaungatanga (relationships).[8]
  • In 2018, the IPANZ Prime Minister's Award for Public Sector Excellence and Achieving Collective Impact was awarded to the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission, Ministry of Social Development and Inland Revenue for delivering fees-free tertiary education for the 2018 school year. The Regulatory Systems award went to the Ministry of Justice, Department of Internal Affairs, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Financial Markets Authority, New Zealand Customs, and Inland Revenue for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing Terrorism.[9]
  • At the 2018 New Zealand CIO Awards, Inland Revenue were finalists in the Business Transformation through Digital and ICT category.[10]


In previous years, Inland Revenue has been criticised for what are seen as heavy handed tactics when forcing payment from debtors, specifically those owing tax arrears and child support payments, and for charging excessive penalties on debts which result in debtors falling into a cycle whereby they are unable to pay the growing amounts they owe. The approach of Inland Revenue has been implicated in a number of suicides and other acts of self-harm.[11][12][13]

The number of people threatening self-harm in phone calls to Inland Revenue has trended down consistently over the last three years. Between January and August 2019, 168 people contacted Inland Revenue threatening self-harm. That compares to 292 for the 2018 calendar year; 306 for 2017; and 334 for 2016.[14]

List of Ministers

The Minister of Revenue is the political office of Minister for the department of Inland Revenue. Since October 2017, the position has been held by Stuart Nash.


  Liberal   Reform   United   Labour   National   United   United Future

No. Name Portrait Term of Office Prime Minister
As Minister in Charge of Land and Income Tax Department
1 Arthur Myers 28 March 1912 10 July 1912 Mackenzie
2 James Allen 10 July 1912 12 August 1915 Massey
3 Joseph Ward 12 August 1915 21 August 1919
(2) James Allen 4 September 1919 28 April 1920
4 William Massey 12 May 1920 10 May 1925
5 William Nosworthy 14 May 1925 24 May 1926 Bell
6 William Downie Stewart Jr 24 May 1926 10 December 1928
(3) Joseph Ward 10 December 1928 28 May 1930 Ward
7 George Forbes 28 May 1930 22 September 1931 Forbes
(6) William Downie Stewart Jr 22 September 1931 28 January 1933
8 Gordon Coates 28 January 1933 6 December 1935
9 Walter Nash 6 December 1935 13 December 1949 Savage
10 Charles Bowden 13 December 1949 1 November 1952 Holland
As Minister in Charge of the Inland Revenue Department
(10) Charles Bowden 1 November 1952 26 November 1954 Holland
11 Jack Watts 26 November 1954 12 December 1957
12 Arnold Nordmeyer 12 December 1957 12 December 1960 Nash
13 Harry Lake 12 December 1960 20 December 1963 Holyoake
Office not in use
14 Peter Wilkinson 12 December 1975 8 March 1977 Muldoon
15 Hugh Templeton 8 March 1977 11 December 1981
16 John Falloon 11 December 1981 26 July 1984
17 Roger Douglas 26 July 1984 24 August 1987 Lange
As Minister of Revenue
18 Trevor de Cleene 24 August 1987 15 December 1988 Lange
19 David Caygill 15 December 1988 9 February 1990
20 Peter Neilson 9 February 1990 2 November 1990
21 Wyatt Creech 2 November 1990 1 March 1996 Bolger
22 Peter Dunne 1 March 1996 16 December 1996
23 Bill Birch 1 March 1996 31 August 1998
24 Max Bradford 31 August 1998 1 February 1999
25 Bill English 1 February 1999 22 June 1999
(23) Bill Birch 22 June 1999 10 December 1999
26 Michael Cullen 10 December 1999 17 October 2005 Clark
(22) Peter Dunne 17 October 2005 7 June 2013
27 Todd McClay 7 June 2013 14 December 2015
28 Michael Woodhouse 14 December 2015 20 December 2016
29 Judith Collins 20 December 2016 26 October 2017
30 Stuart Nash 26 October 2017 Incumbent Ardern

See also


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