Accounting for zero-rated supplies
Certain taxable supplies are taxed at the rate of 0% rather than at the standard rate of 15%. You must include all zero-rated supplies in Box 5 on your GST return along with your total taxable supplies. You will also need to show these zero-rated supplies in Box 6 on your return.
The table below shows a list of supplies that are zero-rated in certain situations.
Goods purchased from duty-free shops by international travellers are zero-rated when a retailer:
- sells goods to a tourist and arranges to send the items overseas to them
- arranges to send the items to an overseas customer, or
- arranges to send goods to the airport for a traveller to pick up at the time of departure.
Goods sold by duty-free shops that are licensed as export warehouses and that operate within the Customs processing area at international airports are also zero-rated, although GST may be payable to Customs upon entry to New Zealand.
Goods that you export or are going to export qualify for zero-rating. Items valued at less than $1000 that do not need an export entry also qualify as long as you can prove that they are to be or have been exported. Exported goods also include stores supplied to aircraft and ships for use outside New Zealand.
If you have entered goods for export they must be exported within 28 days of the time of supply, unless we have agreed to an extension.
Aircraft exported from New Zealand under their own power can be zero-rated.
Goods that were to be exported but are destroyed, die or cease to exist owing to circumstances outside the control of both the supplier and recipient, will be zero-rated.
The following exported services are zero-rated:
Services supplied directly in connection with land or buildings located outside New Zealand. These may include architectural, real estate and legal services.
A New Zealand architect designs a building to be constructed on an overseas property for an overseas client.
Services performed directly in connection with goods situated outside New Zealand at the time the service is performed.
A New Zealand insurance company insures a vehicle that is located outside New Zealand.
Services supplied to non-residents outside New Zealand at the time the service is supplied.
Legal advice about a criminal matter given to a person living in Australia by a lawyer who is resident in New Zealand.
Information services provided directly in connection with moveable personal property.
Machines are brought into New Zealand from Germany for testing. The results of the testing are collected, analysed and sent back to Germany.
Services performed directly in connection with goods that are, or will be, entered for export.
A New Zealand fruit grower exports 1,000 crates of fruit. The offshore recipient wants to ensure the quality of the fruit. He contracts a New Zealand horticultural firm to inspect the fruit independently and provide a report.
Services relating to copyrights, patents and so on, which apply outside New Zealand.
A New Zealand publishing company has the copyright on a New Zealand author's book. The company sells the overseas copyright to another New Zealand company. The fee for the right is zero-rated, as the other company will be publishing and selling the book overseas (performing a service).
Services performed under contract to a non-resident who is outside New Zealand, but provided to a third party who is in New Zealand, are not eligible for zero-rating.
Singaporean parents want their child to receive a year's education in New Zealand. The parents contract with a New Zealand school to supply the tuition. The supply of the tuition under the contract between the New Zealand school and the Singaporean parents must include GST at 15%. This is because the child will receive the tuition in New Zealand.
A non-resident tour operator purchases accommodation from New Zealand hotels and incorporates them into travel packages for tours of New Zealand. The travel packages are then sold to non-resident tourists. The supply of accommodation under the contracts between New Zealand hotels and the non-resident tour operator must include GST at 15%. This is because it is reasonably foreseeable that another person (the non-resident tourist) will receive the services in New Zealand.
Vessels capable of being exported from New Zealand under their own power can be zero-rated.
Supplies of financial intermediation services may be zero-rated to recipients that are:
- registered for GST, and
- 75% or more of their supplies in a 12-month period are taxable supplies.
Examples of financial intermediation services include deposit-taking intermediation and brokerage services.
Supplies of financial services to recipients who do not meet these criteria must be treated as exempt supplies. To zero-rate these supplies you must elect in writing to Inland Revenue Corporates, Financial Sector, Private Bag 39984, Wellington, Fax 04 802 6192.
For more information about the zero-rating of financial services see GST guidelines for working with the zero-rating rules for financial services in the Tax Information Bulletin (TIB) Vol 16, No 10 (November 2004).
Goods supplied for use on a foreign-based pleasure craft that cause or enable the craft to sail, or goods that ensure the safety of passengers and crew, can be zero-rated. This applies to foreign-based pleasure craft that are in New Zealand under a temporary import entry issued by the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs).
The supply of consumable stores for use outside New Zealand on foreign-based pleasure craft departing New Zealand can be zero-rated. The zero-rating applies to the final provisioning of consumable stores. Foreign-based pleasure craft are defined as those pleasure craft in New Zealand as temporary imports under Customs legislation.
Consumable stores are those goods that passengers and crew on board intend to consume, and those necessary to operate or maintain the pleasure craft, including fuel and lubricants but excluding spare parts and equipment.
Before zero-rating, a supplier of maritime goods and consumable stores must be satisfied that the goods and stores are for a foreign-based pleasure craft, and that the craft is departing New Zealand.
Tax Information Bulletin (TIB) Vol 13, No 11 (November 2001).
Goods located outside New Zealand, which are not going to be imported into New Zealand, are zero-rated.
From 25 November 2003, transport of household goods in New Zealand is zero-rated provided that:
- the services are supplied to a non-resident who is outside New Zealand at the time the services are performed, and
- the goods are entered for home consumption under the Customs and Excise Act 1996, and
- the arrangement for the services were made before the goods are entered, and
- the services are expected to be completed within 28 days of the entry of the goods.
You're required to charge and return GST on any services that you import. This can include services that you acquire while outside New Zealand. However, some of these services may be zero-rated if they are physically performed outside New Zealand and they can be physically received only at the time and place where they are physically performed, except for services which are intangible in nature.
If a registered New Zealand-owned entity provides goods or services over the internet to people in New Zealand, they'll charge GST, at 15%.
If a New Zealand-owned entity sells goods or services over the internet to overseas customers, GST will generally be charged at the rate of 0%.
It is important to have sufficient evidence that the customer is overseas, and that the goods or services have been exported. Refer to E-commerce and GST for further information.
When newly-refined fine metal (gold, silver, platinum) is supplied by a refiner to a dealer as an investment item, it is a zero-rated supply.
Any amount received for agreeing to refrain from carrying on a taxable activity outside New Zealand.
To be a going concern, the sale must meet the following criteria:
- It must be the supply of the whole or stand-alone part of a taxable activity, from one registered person to another.
- It must be the supply of all the goods and services necessary for the continued operation of the activity.
- Both parties must agree in writing that there is a supply of a going concern.
- Both parties must intend that the activity is capable of being carried on as a going concern by the purchaser.
- The business must be a going concern at the time of supply and carried on up to the time of the transfer to the purchaser.
Such a sale by one registered person to another registered person is zero-rated (GST content is nil). Also, when only part of a taxable activity (able to operate separately) is sold as a going concern, the sale is zero-rated.
Paul, a dairy farmer sells his dairy farm (including land, herd, all buildings and all machinery) to another GST-registered farmer. This sale qualifies as a sale of a going concern. If Paul had sold the land and buildings but kept the machinery and the herd, it would not qualify as a going concern.
Services performed outside New Zealand are zero-rated.
If a New Zealand singer performs overseas, they will charge GST at 0%.
This is any supply of goods or services that are directly connected to temporary imports. The most common services are repairs and maintenance.
If you use materials to repair a temporary import and those materials become an integral part of that import, those materials are zero-rated. Similarly, if the repair materials become worthless for anything else after the repair job, they are zero-rated.
Anyone supplying goods or services to a temporary import must keep a copy of the Temporary Import Entry form issued by Customs.
A New Zealand-owned boat that normally operates in the Cook Islands is put into dry dock in New Zealand for repairs to its propulsion system. Any services involved in the repair would be zero-rated if the boat is temporarily imported.
For the transport of goods, zero-rated services include the international journey, and any transport within New Zealand (including loading and unloading costs), as long as it is part of the international transport and is supplied by the same person or agent.
The following services in relation to international transportation are also zero-rated:
- insuring or arranging insurance
- arranging the transport.
Zero-rating applies to international transport and to any other services that form a part of it.
For the transport of passengers, these other services include the international journey and any air travel within New Zealand as long as it is:
- part of the international carriage
- booked at the same time as the international journey, and
- provided through the same agent or supplier.
Katie lives in Napier. She visits a local travel agent and buys a single air ticket for flights from Napier to Auckland and then on to Perth. GST is not charged on either flight as the travel is considered to be a contract for international carriage.
A GST-registered person must zero-rate a supply, if the supply wholly or partly includes land, and:
- is made to another registered person and
- the recipient acquires the goods with the intention of using them for making taxable supplies and
- it is not intended to be used as a principal place of residence by the recipient and any person associated with them.
To be a zero-rated supply, all the above conditions for zero-rating must be satisfied at the time of settlement of the transaction. If any of these conditions are not satisfied at the time of settlement, the supply must be taxed at 15%.
Leases for dwellings are excluded from this definition when:
- the supply is made periodically and
- 25% or less of the total amount is payable in advance or all at once.
Find out more
Date published: 11 Apr 2011
Back to top