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Inland Revenue

Tax Policy

PUBLISHED 12 March 2012

Further extension to earthquake support

An Order-in-Council originally made after the Canterbury earthquakes has been extended to ensure that support for Canterbury residents continues. This allows Inland Revenue the discretion to extend statutory tax dates on a case or class-of-cases basis.  For more information see the Minister of Revenue's media statement or the Inland Revenue fact sheet.

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue

Media Statement

Extension of filing time provision extended for Canterbury

“It’s one year on since the big earthquake in Canterbury and Government recognises that people in Canterbury are still dealing with very difficult circumstances,” says Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

“The Government has therefore extended a temporary measure introduced after the February earthquakes for a further six months,” Mr Dunne announced today.

The Canterbury Earthquake (Inland Revenue Acts) Amendment Order 2012 continues until 1 October 2012, Inland Revenue's ability to extend time limits for meeting tax obligations. This measure provides extra time for businesses to prepare and file returns that in many cases, would otherwise fall due at the end of the month.

The Commissioner of Inland Revenue currently has the discretion to extend statutory tax dates on a case or class-of-cases basis. Following discussions with Canterbury based practitioners, Inland Revenue’s discretion to extend time limits has been continued for a further six months, in recognition that taxpayers and agents are still experiencing difficulties meeting some time limits specified in tax legislation, as many businesses are still dealing with lost records and disrupted systems.

“Despite everything they have to contend with, Christchurch businesses have made great efforts in complying with their tax obligations. Extending this temporary measure is a recognition of the difficulties people are still facing and is a practical measure we can take to help those businesses get back on their feet,” says Mr Dunne.

Further information on the extensions of time to comply with tax obligations is contained in a fact sheet on Inland Revenue’s policy website at


Hayden Cox
Ministerial Advisor to Hon Peter Dunne
Mobile: 021 917339

Fact sheet - Extensions of time to meet your obligations


This fact sheet provides information about extensions of time that Inland Revenue may grant when you have been unable to comply with tax obligations because of the Canterbury earthquake. It updates and replaces the previous fact sheet released on 28 March 2011.


Inland Revenue may extend any time limit that appears in tax legislation, under the Canterbury Earthquake (Inland Revenue Acts) Order 2011, as amended by the Canterbury Earthquake (Inland Revenue Acts) Amendment Order 2012.

A time limit can be extended if:

  • you are unable to comply with the limit because of the Canterbury earthquake of 4 September 2010 or any of its aftershocks (including the one on 22 February); and
  • it would be fair and equitable to extend the limit in the circumstances.

For example, a person may be unable to comply with a time limit when necessary tax records are in the ‘red zone’ in the Christchurch CBD and cannot be retrieved. Or a person’s tax agent may have had their business disrupted because of the earthquake. Extensions are likely to be granted in these cases.

Examples of time limits that may be extended are:

  • dates for filing income tax returns (including extensions for 2010-11 income tax returns beyond 31 March 2012);
  • dates for providing information requested by Inland Revenue (including information you must provide to retain Working for Families payments);
  • dates for making elections; and
  • dates for making tax payments (if, for example, access to bank accounts has been difficult because of your circumstances).

Inland Revenue may impose conditions on an extension of time. For example, you may be asked to provide documents to show you have been affected by the earthquake. If conditions are imposed, you will be told about this.

If you receive an extension of time, you will need to meet the extended time limit. Otherwise, the normal use-of-money interest and penalties for lateness would apply from the expiry of the extended time limit.

If you do not meet any conditions imposed on the extension, or if you have misled Inland Revenue when providing information about your circumstances, the original time limit (and not the extended time limit) will apply and the normal consequences of lateness would apply from that original time.

The power to extend time limits under the Canterbury Earthquake (Inland Revenue Acts) Order 2011 is a temporary measure. It was first introduced on 28 March 2011 and has since been further extended to 1 October 2012; its use will be reviewed again at that time.

Contact us

If you are unable to meet any of your tax obligations due to the Canterbury earthquake please contact Inland Revenue on 0800 473 566 to discuss your individual circumstances and, if necessary, extension of time arrangements.

If you use a tax agent to handle your affairs, please contact them in the first instance.