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Inland Revenue

Tax Policy

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.


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

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 2009-10 income tax returns beyond 31 March 2011);
  • 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 one and its ongoing use will be reviewed in September.

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.