If you’re selling digital services and products to customers down under, then you might be liable for New Zealand’s Goods and Services tax (GST). This guide covers two very important parts of the system:
- Registering for the tax, and then
- Filing tax returns on time.
We’ve scoured the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) website to provide you with all the necessary information about GST for international businesses in one place.
How to register for GST in New Zealand
Okay, this is a two-part process for remote sellers. You must register for GST, then register in the online portal myIR. (This portal is where you’ll file and pay the tax returns. More on that later!)
1. Register your business for GST
New Zealand allows foreign businesses to register online. Before you get started, make sure you have this info handy:
- customer registration information
- Tax ID number from your home country
- All business other details like phone, email, address, URL, etc.
Go to the page for Non-individual registration. As you start the process, be sure to select ‘Non-resident / offshore’ and follow the instructions from there. It’s pretty straightforward!
Note if you are registering from the USA: The ZIP code field is formatted to accept 9 digits for all states. If your ZIP code is just 5 digits long, add zeros to the end to make it a full 9.
Within 5 working days, you should receive a New Zealand GST number. This will also be your IRD number.
If, for some reason, you don’t want to register through the website, you can download this form IR994 and email it email@example.com.
2. Register your business for a myIR account
The myIR portal will allow you to handle all your GST business in the future. For this step, you’ll need the following information:
- the IRD number of your business
- an email address
Then follow the steps outlined on the ‘Register a myIR account’ page.
Go to the myIR page to create a new web logon. A “web logon” is basically a new account with its own username, etc.
At the very first step, make sure you select ‘Create at myIR account for your non-resident business or organization’.
Fill out the business IRD information. When it asks if you personally (as an individual) have an IRD number, simply click ‘No’ and fill out the rest of the fields.
Toward the end of the process, myIR will send you an email with a link to create a password to the account. Follow the instructions on the link.
But the process is not finished when you receive that email! Back on the myIR site, make sure you submit each stage of the registration until it’s complete and you see a confirmation page.
How to file GST returns in New Zealand
You must report in New Zealand dollars (NZ). The IRD provides a lot of instruction about how to properly convert foreign currencies to New Zealand dollars.
When to file and pay
You must file a GST return every quarter. The filing and payment due dates are the same. Generally it’s the 28th of the month following the end of the quarter, but there is an exception for Q1.
- 7 May, for first quarter ending 31 March
- 28 July, for second quarter ending 30 June
- 28 October, for third quarter ending 30 September
- 28 January, for fourth quarter ending 31 December
Note: You must still file every quarter even if you made no sales in New Zealand! This is called a “Nil declaration” and it follows the exact same process as a normal return. (Just a little less data entry 😉)
How to file
Before you get started, you should collect all the information about your taxable sales in New Zealand during the previous quarter. The tax website suggests having these pieces ready:
- total sales and income
- total purchases and expenses
You can file online in your myIR account. Just head to the IRD website and click the myIR login button in the top right.
Within your account, there should be clear directions for filing New Zealand GST. The process is simple and secure.
At the end, you'll get confirmation that your return has been received successfully with time, date and receipt number. IRD actually requests that you keep a printed and signed copy.
Note: You can fix any mistakes in your return after you've submitted it!
How to pay
As you probably guessed, you must pay in New Zealand dollars, too! Once the conversion is taken care of, you actually have a lot of choice when it comes to making payments.
- Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards through our myIR account.
- If you're in Australia, the UK, Europe (Single European Payments Area), Canada or the US, you can set up direct debit payments in your myIR account.
- Bank transfers using a third-party service. If you choose this option, be sure to put the following in the payment reference field:
- your IRD number
- the period date the payment is for
- the letters “GST”
What to do in between registering and filing?
Well, you must comply with all the rules for New Zealand GST! That means charging 15% GST on all B2C sales in the country, among other things.
Note: At Quaderno we love providing helpful information and best practices about taxes, but we are not certified tax advisors. For further help, or if you are ever in doubt, please consult a professional tax advisor or the Tax Agency.