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The tax and legal system in New Zealand

It's easy to invest and do business in New Zealand. We have a straightforward, business-friendly, taxation system that supports capital development, research and development, and international investment.

New Zealand's tax system

Tax in New Zealand is globally competitive and is the second most competitive of all OECD countries International Tax Competitiveness Index 2015.

Income tax is payable on your business activities, but there may be other tax obligations to consider. Specific taxes or levies will depend on your type of business and the structure you choose when establishing it.

Some key features of our tax system.

  • Top personal tax is 33% for income over NZ$70,000
  • No general capital gains tax (although it can apply to some investments)
  • No inheritance tax
  • No healthcare tax (apart from a minimal accident compensation tax)
  • Imputation system to avoid double tax
  • Company tax rate of 28%
Parliament Buildings in Wellington Tax and legal system

Banking

New Zealand’s banking sector successfully weathered the global economic crisis well and has emerged strongly. 

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand supervises New Zealand’s banking system. Its main function is to implement Government monetary policy and maintain financial stability.

It also registers and supervises other banks. The bank’s monetary policy, defined by the Policy Target Agreement with the Government, is to maintain inflation at between 1-3 percent (on average over the medium term).

New Zealand has an open door policy on bank registration. There are several major trading banks and numerous other banking institutions. Many big international banks are represented in New Zealand through agents or sales offices.

The parents of our largest banks are partially Australian-owned and are in the top 20 of Global Finance World’s Safest Banks Index for 2014.

New Zealand’s legislative framework

Most investments do not need approval beyond the normal legislative business framework for New Zealand-based companies. The Overseas Investment Act 2005 regulates the acquisitions by overseas entities of 25 percent or more ownership – or control of interests – of sensitive New Zealand land and significant business assets.

These include:

  • sensitive land (e.g. farmland, historical landmarks, regional parks)
  • significant business assets (e.g. New Zealand securities or assets, or the establishment of a business, worth more than $100 million)
  • fishing quota (an interest in fishing quota or securities in a person who owns an interest in fishing quota).

View more information about acquiring business assets and fishing quota.

Other key information sources

Many New Zealand government departments provide facilitation and information for people considering starting a business here. These include:

  • Immigration New Zealand provides facilitation services for businesses sourcing or relocating international staff.
  • The Overseas Investment Office, part of Land Information New Zealand, administers the New Zealand Government's foreign investment policies. The core work of the Office is to assess applications for consent from foreigners who intend on making substantial investments in New Zealand.
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment focuses on sustainable economic development. Its website provides information about all aspects of New Zealand's economic development policies including the legal framework, the regulation of specific markets, policy-making and implementation.
  • The New Zealand Law Society can help you locate a suitable law firm, should you need legal advice.
  • Business.govt.nz provides information on tax in New Zealand.
  • The Inland Revenue Department also has more specific information on tax, procedures and forms.

Contact the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) Business Growth and Innovation team to find out more about specific Wellington investment opportunities.

 

WREDA - Business Growth & Innovation

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