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Double tax agreements

What are double tax agreements?

You may be a tax resident in both New Zealand and another country or territory. This means that you are a resident in two countries or territories and subject to the tax laws of each.

If both countries or territories tax their residents on worldwide income you could be taxed twice on the same income. Double tax agreements (DTAs) have been negotiated between New Zealand and many other countries or territories to decide which country or territory has the first or sole right to tax specific types of income. Find out from this table if your country or territory has a DTA with New Zealand.

Countries or territories with DTAs with New Zealand
Australia India Russian Federation
Austria Indonesia Singapore
Belgium Ireland South Africa
Canada Italy Spain
Chile Japan Sweden
China Korea Switzerland
Czech Republic Malaysia Taiwan
Denmark Mexico Thailand
Fiji Netherlands Turkey
Finland Norway United Arab Emirates
France Papua New Guinea United Kingdom
Germany Philippines United States of America
Hong Kong Poland  

Find out more detail about each DTA on our Policy Advice Division website

See our NRWT rates (IR290) worksheet for the NRWT rates for these countries or territories.

If you are coming to New Zealand as a contractor you can:

Note

If New Zealand has a DTA with your country or territory, that DTA will be available in your country or territory. This may be useful if you want the information in a language other than English.

Many countries or territories that don't have a DTA with New Zealand still allow their citizens to claim a credit for tax paid overseas. 

Double tax agreement between Australia and New Zealand

If you are a resident in both Australia and New Zealand, the double tax agreement (DTA) between these two countries states that you will be a resident of the country where a permanent home is available to you. See the table below for further clarification.

If ... then you will be a resident of the country ...
you have a permanent home in both countries where your personal and economic relations are closer.
you do not have a permanent home in either country that you live in.
you live in both countries that you are a citizen of.
you don't live in either of them that you are a citizen of.
none of the above apply to you where your effective management is situated.

Tax relief under double tax agreements

Tax relief from New Zealand tax may be sought by non-resident contractors and employees under double tax agreements (DTAs).

My country or territory has a DTA with New Zealand

If your country or territory has a DTA with New Zealand, you may be exempt from New Zealand income tax.

If you are ... then ...
an independent (self-employed) contractor

most DTAs will exempt you from income tax in New Zealand if:

  • you are in New Zealand for 183 days or less in any 12-month period or income year, and/or
  • you do not have a fixed base in New Zealand.
a company or other entity you may be exempt if your presence does not give rise to a permanent establishment in New Zealand.

 

Note

The conditions vary between DTAs for both individuals and companies. Some types of income may not be exempt, for example, royalties. You should check your country's or territory's DTA for more information.

My country or territory doesn't have a DTA with New Zealand

If your country or territory doesn't have a DTA with New Zealand and you are ... then ...
a tax resident in that country or territory you will be liable for income tax.
receiving payments for contract work undertaken in New Zealand the payer must deduct schedular tax (see next table).

 

If your country or territory doesn't have a DTA with New Zealand and you are ... and ... then the payer must deduct schedular tax of ...

 

  • an independent non-resident contractor, or
  • a non-resident contractor company

 

have supplied the payer with a NZ IRD number 15%.
an independent non-resident contractor have not supplied the payer with a NZ IRD number 30%.
a non-resident contractor company have not supplied the payer with a NZ IRD number 20%.

 

Note

This tax is an interim tax and you must file tax returns in New Zealand to work out your actual amount of tax due.

In some cases, the tax that has been deducted is more than your actual amount of tax due. For example, if you can claim expenses against the contract income. In this case, you can apply for a special tax rate to suit your particular situation.

For more information on schedular payments go to 'paying a non-resident contractor or entertainer'

Non-resident contractors

When considering whether a DTA provides an non-resident contractor with relief from New Zealand tax, the most common issues to consider are:

  • whether the non-resident contractor is an enterprise, and if so, if it has a permanent establishment in New Zealand at the time the contract activity is performed
  • if the non-resident contractor is an individual, what relief is provided by either the "Dependent services" or "Independent services" articles of the DTA, whichever applies to the contractor
  • whether the income is deemed to be a royalty within the meaning contained in the DTA.

Many DTAs contain articles dealing with particular areas or industries that may or may not provide a non-resident contractor with relief from New Zealand tax. It is therefore important not to assume that because one DTA provides relief to a resident of one country or territory, the same relief will be provided to a non-resident contractor who is the resident of another country or territory.

Non-resident employees

A non-resident employee may seek relief from New Zealand tax if a double tax agreement (DTA) exists between New Zealand and the country or territory in which the employee is a tax resident. Relief may be available under the "Dependent services" article contained within the DTA. Usually, there are three common requirements, all of which an employee must meet to obtain relief under the treaty. They are:

  • the employee's presence in New Zealand must not exceed, in aggregate, 183 days in any 12-month period
  • the remuneration is to be paid by, or on behalf of, an employer who is not a resident of New Zealand
  • the remuneration is not to be borne by a "permanent establishment" or fixed base of the employer in New Zealand
Note

Some DTAs refer to an "income year", "financial year" or "fiscal year" instead of a 12-month period. These references are to New Zealand's deemed income year of 1 April to the following 31 March.

Also if you’re in New Zealand for only part of a day, it is counted as being a whole day. This means that the days on which you depart or arrive are treated as “days present" in New Zealand.

Find out more

The Non-resident Contractors Team can help you with information about DTAs.

Visit the Non-resident contractors and entertainers section of our website, or

You can contact the Non-resident Contractors Team at:

Non-resident Contractors Team
Inland Revenue
PO Box 2198
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Phone: 64 4 890 3056
Fax: 64 4 890 4502

Email: nr.contractors@ird.govt.nz

 


Date published: 20 Nov 2012

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