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Business income tax: Filing business income tax returns
If you're in business, you'll need to complete and send us an income tax return, and attach either a copy of your financial records, or a form that summarises your income and expenses.
- Business income tax returns you should use
- Filing an IR4 return
- If you're no longer trading
- Filing an IR9 tax return
- Filing an IR44 tax return
- Forms for summaries of business and expenses
|If you're ...||then you use the ...|
|a sole trader||Individual tax return (IR3).|
|a company||Income tax return: Companies (IR4).|
|an estate or trust||Income tax return: Estate or trust (IR6).|
|a partnership or look-through company (LTC)||Income tax return: Partnerships and look-through companies (LTCs) (IR7).|
|a Māori authority||Income tax return: Māori authorities (IR8).|
|a club or society||Income tax return: Clubs or societies (IR9).|
|a registered superannuation fund||Income tax return: Registered superannation funds (IR44).|
Generally all active companies must file an IR4 income tax return each year. This includes:
- New Zealand resident companies
- body corporates registered under the Unit Titles Act 1972 - even if it's a nil return.
- unit trusts - even if it's a nil return.
If your company is non-active you do not have to file a return. Exceptions to filing an IR4 income tax return are:
- The company/body corporate is non-active and has filed an Non-active company declaration (IR433) which applies from the start of the relevant financial year (or earlier).
- The company is a member of a consolidated group.
- The company/body corporate was struck off before the start of the relevant financial year.
- A non-resident company with no permanent establishment or centre of management in New Zealand is not required to file IR4 income tax returns.
If you're no longer trading you may apply for an exemption from filing tax returns by completing a Non-active company declaration (IR433) form and sending it to us. A non-active company is a company that has:
- not derived any gross income
- no deductions
- not disposed of any assets
- not been party to any transactions that during the year gave rise to:
- gross income for any person, or
- fringe benefits to any employee or any former employee, or
- a debit in the company's imputation credit account or FDP (foreign dividend payment) account.
If your application is accepted, you'll no longer be required to file tax returns or prepare financial reports until your company is reactivated. If you don't have an exemption then you must file a return, otherwise you will be charged a late filing penalty.
If you're closing down your business there are a lot of things to do to ensure you're still meeting your tax obligations.
Check out "Closing down your business" - this video shows how easy it is for Scott as a business owner to take care of his tax when he closes his business
All New Zealand clubs and societies must file an IR9 income tax return each year unless they derive only exempt income. If your organisation has a certificate of exemption from RWT (resident withholding tax) on interest and dividends, this doesn’t mean your income is exempt income.
If you’re unsure whether you are required to file a return, or are no longer the person responsible for filing the returns, please call us on 0800 377 774.
If you need more information about completing your return, see our Clubs or societies return guide IR9GU.
All superannuation funds registered with the Financial Markets Authority (formerly known as the Government Actuary) must file an Income tax return: Registered superannuation funds (IR44).
If your scheme isn't registered with the Financial Markets Authority and allows beneficiaries to contribute, it will be treated as a company for tax purposes and must file an Income tax return: Companies (IR4).
If the scheme doesn't allow beneficiaries to contribute, it will be treated as a trust and must file an Income tax return: Estate or trust (IR6).
Your fund may face penalties or prosecution if you:
- are required to put in a return but don't
- give false or misleading information in the return (including not showing correct income details)
- don't take reasonable care in preparing the return, eg when estimating the following year's provisional tax.
If you need more information about completing your return, see our Registered superannuation funds return guide (IR44G)
You can either attach a copy of your accounts or use the appropriate form for yuor buisness as outlined in the table.
|If you're ...||then you use the ...|
|a sole trader|
|an estate or trust|
|a partnership or look-through company|
|a Māori authority|
|a club or society|
|a registered superannuation fund||Financial statements summary (IR10) or
Property sale information (IR833)