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Social Sciences Online. Ministry of Education

Tax education and citizenship navigation

Level 5 unit

Inland Revenue has developed this unit for level 5 (year 9 and 10) students to support teaching and learning about tax and citizenship.

This unit comprises:

Why pay tax?

In New Zealand many of our needs are provided for by governments and organisations. These needs are partly paid for by taxes. This resource focuses on young people’s participation in, and contribution to society through the taxes they pay now and in the future. To understand this aspect of what it means to be a New Zealand citizen, this resource supports students to understand what tax is, what it is used for, and how all citizens are involved in paying tax and benefiting from tax payments.

Many people agree that by paying tax they are contributing to society, However they are unhappy about how much they pay, and how it is spent. Most New Zealanders do comply with their tax obligations and receive correct entitlements. Current research also suggests, though, that young people under 25 are less likely to understand the tax system.

This resource strongly relates to social studies within the social sciences curriculum. It also focuses on the key competencies of ‘Participating and Contributing’ and ‘Managing Self’, both of which have strong links to citizenship.

The resource comprises learning tasks intended to be taught individually or as a stimulus for social inquiry. It has been developed based on the BCUSS Social Inquiry model (see the related download). 

The learning tasks allow students to form opinions, research, and critically analyse ideas. Each learning experience develops a key conceptual understanding related to a social studies achievement objective. You are strongly encouraged to adapt the learning experiences and to develop learning intentions and success criteria to suit the needs and interests of your students.

Key resource links


  • Top Tools for Social Sciences Teachers 2000, Sandra Cubitt, Robyn Irvine & Alison Dow, Pearson Longman

Social sciences – social studies

See Social sciences in The New Zealand Curriculum Online

Level 5 achievement objective

Students will develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes to:
Understand how economic decision-making impacts on people, communities, and nations

Key competencies

Key competencies underpin learning and teaching. Throughout these learning tasks there are many opportunities for students to develop the key competencies identified in The New Zealand Curriculum. Two key competencies have particular relevance to this resource:

Participating and contributing

Throughout the learning experiences in this resource, students are actively engaged in working with others. Students who participate and contribute in communities have a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate within new contexts. As a consequence of their learning in this unit, it is envisaged students will understand the importance of balancing needs and responsibilities in making decisions about paying tax, and consider how meeting their tax responsibilities supports the well-being of all New Zealand citizens.

Managing self

Students who manage themselves are enterprising, resourceful, reliable, and resilient. They establish personal goals, make plans, manage projects, and set high standards. They have strategies for meeting challenges. They know when to lead, when to follow, and when and how to act independently.

As a consequence of their learning in this unit, it is envisaged students will begin to develop a long-term view about their own financial management and consider how their choices might impact on others.

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