Brought to you by

Filing your GST returns just got easier with Xero

Posted 4 years ago in Product by
Posted by

We’re excited to announce that you can now file your GST returns in Xero and send them straight through to Inland Revenue electronically. We’ve had 1400 Xero businesses in New Zealand helping us trial this service over the last few months. They found it awesome and we think you will too.

egst is now available

“Xero makes it easy to get my books done, and takes out the hassle of paperwork – like filing taxes with the government. Xero has always calculated my GST but I used to enter that into a separate system to file my return. Now I do it in Xero and it’s filed in seconds, without any chance of human error – it’s accurate and easy to use. It’s one less thing I need to remember to do.”
– Frank Hsu of Frank’s Coffee and Eats

This service is incorporated into the current GST filing process in Xero. If you file provisional tax, make sure you’ve selected your provisional tax method, and you’re all set. When you click ‘File Now’ you’ll be prompted for your myIR login. It’s that easy – no double entry of your IR number or other information, Xero populates it all for you.

Xero businesses in the UK have been able to electronically file VAT (their goods and service sales tax) with HMRC for over three years now, and HMRC figures show a strong uptake with 12% of all  third-party VAT filing done from Xero.

Digital government services making it easier to do business

Governments across the world are implementing digital programmes to make it easier for citizens to interact with them. This isn’t easy; not only do governments have legacy systems like many large enterprises, but they also have unique legal and political environments, and often need to change laws before they can implement digital services.

It’s exciting to see the New Zealand Government introduce digital integrations. Think of all the time you and your accountant or bookkeeper spend administering GST, staff taxes and benefits, social welfare payments, ACC, KiwiSaver, company and personal tax.

Time spent on paying taxes

A PWC report, Paying Taxes 2016, compared an average size business in different countries. According to the report, a New Zealand business could spend up to four weeks a year just on tax compliance.  A similar size business in Australia and the UK would spend around two and a half weeks.  But in nations like UAE, Switzerland or Hong Kong, tax compliance would take no more than two weeks.

egst saves time

Imagine if government initiatives reduced your tax compliance time by half – how would you spend the extra time that you’d normally spend doing taxes? How could your accountant or bookkeeper help improve your business if they weren’t tied up with tax administration?

Secure financial web connections with Xero

Building the financial web by integrating systems that are usually separate – such as accounting software, government and banking – save you a lot of time and the hassle of duplicate data entry. But it’s not just about saving time. It’s the peace of mind you get when your information is accurate and shared securely between Xero and other institutions such as government agencies. We use multiple layers of security to protect your financial data both when it’s stored and when it’s being transferred from one system to another, so you can confidently start filing your GST returns from Xero.

We’d love to hear what you think about eGST in Xero. In the meantime, we’ll keep working to make it easier for you to connect with government using the power of the Xero platform.


Photo supplied by Dom Thomas Creative


Jeremy Gurnsey
July 21, 2016 at 3.52 pm

All very nice but how about you upgrade the system so that I can produce my return without having to ask Xero to do it for me because of the transaction volumes.

Rene Bullock
July 21, 2016 at 8.09 pm

When are we going to see the same ‘seamless’ tech used to file our ‘DED’ wages files?

Kate Baird
July 22, 2016 at 1.48 pm

Hello. as a small business owner this sounds appealing. Can you tell me please if there will be any added cost for this service.


Sharon Hartley
July 25, 2016 at 7.06 am

No. The GST function is already included in standard Xero packages.

Lisa Wilkin
July 22, 2016 at 2.39 pm

@Jeremy, sorry to hear GST isn’t running too well for you. The team are currently looking into options for improving GST performance. Watch this space.

@Rene, Inland Revenue are working on a big transformation programme and have plans to do a lot more, eGST is the start of integrating with IR. Check out their page for more info and we’ll definitely keep you posted as we continue to work with them.

@Kate no added cost!

cheers, Lisa

July 23, 2016 at 2.39 pm

What is sent to IRD? Just the top sheet and Provional tax calculation or the whole file with the report with detailed transaction as it is in Xero?

Sue Geale
July 25, 2016 at 1.20 pm

Good question Linda. Hopefully it is just the top sheet. I am keen to know this answer too.

July 24, 2016 at 7.28 pm

Hi guys, how long till this rolls out to AU businesses?

July 25, 2016 at 12.27 pm

Went to try this today, the period the return is for defaults to March 2016 despite that being filed already, can’t enter June period manually so I can’t get past the first page unfortunately

Lisa Wilkin
July 25, 2016 at 2.52 pm

@James – we’ve kicked off some early work with the ATO, we’ll do updates as we work on this for Australia

@Linda & @Sue – great question – all Xero sends to IR is what you’d normally enter in myIR or fill in on a paper GST form. You can see what that looks like in Xero by looking at previous GST returns (under Reports), and there’s more info in our help centre. Hope that helps.

@Chris – this doesn’t sound right. Can you please raise a ticket with the support team to help check your settings? thanks

thanks for your questions everyone, have a great day

July 26, 2016 at 1.51 pm

HI There

Sounds great….where is this selected from? Xero does not have that functionality on my system.
I can only export to PDF, Excel or google sheets………is there something missing?

Lisa Wilkin
July 27, 2016 at 11.43 am

Hey Julie, do you have Adviser or Standard + All Reports role? You need this to have access. If you do and still aren’t seeing it, please log a ticket with our great Customer Support team and they’ll get you up and running. cheers Lisa

|Karen Jones
August 3, 2016 at 10.44 pm

We have GST in Jersey but don’t report to the Inland Revenue as we have our own tax office here, how would it work for my clients in Jersey.

August 4, 2016 at 9.35 am

If I have filed using the “old” method, how can I get the GST return to show as filed in Xero?

Lisa Wilkin
August 4, 2016 at 4.09 pm

Hi Corrina, if you’ve filed your return outside of Xero, you can still finalise the return in Xero. Run the GST return in Xero for that period (if you haven’t already) and click “Save as” and choose “final”. Hope that helps, cheers Lisa

Jonathon Phillips
August 4, 2016 at 8.47 pm

I keep getting an error message saying Well that didn’t work and this return hasn’t been filed
Xero is having trouble communicating with the Inland Revenue gateway. If you are able, we recommend you try this again in a few hours. If it’s very close to the filing deadline then you may want to file using myIR.

Any reports of a bug?

Lisa Wilkin
August 5, 2016 at 4.38 pm

@Karen & @Jonathon – can you please raise tickets with support, the team will be able to dig into your specific situation and work out what the deal is. Thanks for your feedback, cheers Lisa

Sarah Goldsbury
August 16, 2016 at 11.39 am

Hi Lisa

We have had two clients, and staff members getting the same error message as Jonathan re Xero is having trouble communicating with the Inland Revenue gateway.


Matthew Procter
August 18, 2016 at 8.17 pm

Hi team,
When does this become available? Just finalised the June\July return and it did the same as it always has, given me a link to go to the IRD website and re-enter the details on eIRD. Its a feature that accountants have had for over 20 years now, so glad to see it has finally (nearly) made it to the SMB world.

Debbie Robertson
August 23, 2016 at 2.07 pm

Hi, I have done my GST return in Xero today but I didn’t get the option to file directly to IRD. I have Standard access with manage users permissions.

Iain Fenwick
October 12, 2016 at 7.00 am

Looks like a great feature, but there is one problem, you need a myir login. I have tried three times in the past to get one, and cant be bothered sitting on the phone waiting for the inland revenue to pick up the phone for another full day trying to sort it out.

you missed the boat with this one, “file now” should have gone straight to the inland revenue without having to log in to their hopeless web page and deal with their call centre.

May 8, 2017 at 4.45 pm

I have the full Xero for one business and cashbook version for the other.
The full version files the GST return no problem.
The cashbook version doesn’t do this for me – in Xero it says it’s filed but in MyIRD/GST it doesn’t show as filed and I have to enter the details manually.
Is that working as it should? The cashbook version doesn’t complete the filing?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *