2019 income tax return filing extension

Inland Revenue waives late filing penalties and provides practical concession on application of time bar

Inland Revenue (IR) has released an update confirming that late filing penalties will be waived for taxpayers that are unable to file 2019 income tax returns by the 31 March 2020 due date as a result of COVID-19.

Filing these returns after 31 March 2020 will technically extend the time-bar by another year. However, IR has confirmed a practical concession (subject to some conditions). IR will close any review or other compliance activity related to a 2019 income tax return as at 31 March 2024 where the return is:

  • due on or before 31 March 2020 and is furnished after 31 March but before 31 May 2020;
  • not subject to any existing exclusions from the standard 4 year time bar;
  • not subject to a dispute:
    • commenced by NOPA issued before 1 January 2023, and
    • involving alleged tax avoidance, or
    • having tax in dispute of greater than $200 million.

IR note that the circumstances leading to the late filing may need to be reviewed as the concession is only intended to apply to late filing as a result of COVID-19.

Given the restrictions on the concession and the potential for dispute around the reason for a delayed filing, we encourage taxpayers to file returns by 31 March wherever possible.

Contact a member of Chapman Tripp’s Tax team if you would like to discuss this update or the package of measures contained in the COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Act 2020.

This is one of a series of Brief Counsels Chapman Tripp has produced on COVID-19. See the full list of COVID-19 releases here.

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