Skip to Content

myIR, payments and more

E-commerce and tax
Te tauhokohoko ā-rorohiko me te tāke

E-commerce and GST


Services provided by a New Zealand resident GST-registered person to a customer in New Zealand have GST charged on them.

For GST purposes, services are defined as "anything that is not goods or money".

 When are services zero-rated?

Services are zero-rated when they are supplied by a GST-registered:

  • person and physically performed outside New Zealand, or relate to property outside New Zealand
  • person or business to a non-resident who is outside New Zealand at the time the services are performed.

 Who is a non-resident supplier?

When ... then ...
an overseas supplier with a fixed or permanent place of business in New Zealand, such as a New Zealand branch, has an annual turnover of supplies made in New Zealand greater than $60,000
  • they are a New Zealand resident for GST purposes, and
  • they must register for GST and pay GST on all services supplied.
services are supplied by a supplier who isn't resident in New Zealand for GST purposes, to a person in New Zealand these services are generally not subject to GST.
the non-resident supplier performs the services in New Zealand the services are treated as being supplied in New Zealand and are liable for GST.
a non-resident provides online services this doesn't fall within the definition of a fixed or permanent place of business in New Zealand, so GST is not payable.

 When is GST charged on services?

If the ... then the New Zealand supplier ... and the overseas supplier ...
service is performed in New Zealand charges GST charges GST unless:
  • the service is supplied to a GST-registered person, and
  • the parties have agreed not to charge GST.
service is performed outside New Zealand zero-rates the GST is not subject to GST.

 When is evidence required for zero-rating?

There are a number of scenarios which may require different evidence for zero-rating.

No Scenario Evidence
1 Physical goods are exported overseas by the supplier when the customer is overseas
  • Delivery evidence, eg, bill of lading showing export by sea, or air waybill for export by air
  • Packing list or delivery note showing overseas delivery address
  • Insurance documents
  • Purchase order showing overseas delivery address.
2 Physical goods are exported overseas by the supplier and the customer is in New Zealand at the time of purchase
  • Delivery evidence, eg, bill of lading showing export by sea, or air waybill for export by air
  • Packing list or delivery note showing overseas delivery address
  • Insurance documents
  • Purchase order showing overseas delivery address.
3 Digital products are downloaded by a customer overseas
  • A declaration by the customer at the time of the transaction that they are located overseas and that the products will be used outside New Zealand. Eg, "I declare that I am not in New Zealand at this time and will not be making use of this supply in New Zealand" with their name and full address.
  • Evidence of payment received from overseas customer. Credit card information may be a guide as certain credit card number series may only be issued in New Zealand. However, this process is changing and isn't entirely reliable.
  • Email address may suggest that the customer is overseas but is not final proof as a New Zealand resident can obtain an overseas email address.
  • Internet protocol (IP) address of the customer - although this is not final proof that the customer is overseas.



In Scenario 3 above, it is unlikely that only one form of information will prove that the customer is overseas. It is expected that a reasonable attempt would be made to confirm the customer is overseas to support zero-rating.


 Sale of physical goods

If ... then ...
a GST-registered person sells goods over the internet and the goods are physically supplied to a customer in New Zealand GST is chargeable at 15%.
goods are sold over the internet and physically supplied to customers overseas the sales can be zero-rated for GST purposes.



It is important to prove that the goods have been exported (entered for export by the supplier) and sufficient evidence should be held to prove this.

 Sale of digital products

If ... then ...
a GST-registered person sells digital products over the internet which are downloaded, such as music, software or digital books, to a New Zealand customer GST is chargeable at 15%.

These products are treated as services for GST purposes.
digital products are sold over the internet and downloaded by an overseas customer they can be zero-rated.



It is important to prove that the products are "exported" otherwise GST must charged. See our GST guide (IR375) for further information.

 Purchasing goods from overseas

Goods mailed into New Zealand may be subject to GST and Customs duty. GST is calculated on the declared value of the goods, including duty, postage (or freight) and insurance.

Any duty and/or GST is collected from the purchaser by NZ Customs before the goods are released.

Read more on when GST and/or duties may be payable on to the New Zealand Customs Service website

 Selling secondhand goods

The simple definition of secondhand goods is "goods previously used".

An input tax credit can be claimed for the purchase of secondhand goods from an unregistered person when completing the GST return - 3/23's of the purchase price paid.

There must be a record of the name and address of the supplier, the date of purchase, a description of the goods, the quantity of the goods and the price paid.

When secondhand goods are purchased from an unregistered person and subsequently sold on the internet to ... then ...
a New Zealand customer

the price paid by the New Zealand customer will:

  • include GST, and
  • be accounted for as output tax on the GST return.
an overseas customer and exported by the supplier
  • the sale can be zero-rated if certain conditions are met - see Note below, and
  • the seller does not need to account for the GST amount of the input tax previously claimed.



The goods must be entered for export, they must leave New Zealand within 28 days of the time of supply, and the recipient of the goods must provide a declaration that neither they or an associated person will re-imported to New Zealand in the same condition in which they were exported.

 Computer software and intellectual property

This includes copyright, licences to use and licences to sell or royalties.

For local purchases of software, there is generally no need to distinguish between the supply of goods and the supply of services because all goods and services supplied in New Zealand are subject to GST.

Software and other similar digital products imported over the internet are treated as services as the definition of "goods" in the GST Act explicitly excludes products that are "transmitted by a non resident to a resident by means of wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system or by means of a similar technical system"

As imported services these may be subject to a "reverse charge". The reverse charge requires GST registered recipients of supplies of imported services to add GST to the price of the services and include that tax in the normal GST return and pay it to the Inland Revenue Department if:

  1. the services would have been subject to GST if the supply had been made in NZ, and
  2. more than 5% of the supplies made by the recipient are exempt or other non-taxable supplies

The reverse charge mechanism may require the recipient to register for GST if the total value of supplies made in that month and the 11 preceding or following months exceeds $60,000.


For more information read our policy on GST and imported services in Tax Information Bulletin (TIB), Vol 16, No 10, (November 2004).

For more general GST information:

Visit our GST section.
Read or download our GST (IR375) guide and GST plus (IR546) guide - go to "Forms and guides".