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Charitable organisations Ngā rōpū kaupapa atawhai

Charitable organisations and the student loan scheme

If you're an approved charitable organisation, and a student loan borrower is, or will be, working overseas for you as a volunteer (or for token payment), they can apply to us to be treated as being physically in New Zealand to keep their entitlement to an interest-free student loan.


Entitlement to an interest-free loan for the student loan borrower only applies when the work they undertake is to:

  • relieve poverty, hunger, sickness, the ravages of war or natural disaster, or
  • improve the economy or raise educational standards

in a country that is on the OECD list of countries receiving development assistance.

We can grant this for volunteer work for a maximum aggregate period of 24 months.

If you're a borrower find out what information you need to remain interest-free when you're working overseas.

Approved charitable organisations

Approved charitable organisations are listed on our website.

If you wish to become an approved charitable organisation you must:

  • have been established for charitable purposes
  • be undertaking charitable activities.

How you can apply

Write to us outlining the reasons why you should become an approved charitable organisation. Include a copy of your trust deed (or other founding document).

You can write to us at:

Charities Team
Inland Revenue
PO Box 1147
Palmerston North 4440
New Zealand

You can also email us at

We'll contact you if we need any more information.

How we assess your application

When we assess your application consideration is given to the following:

  • are you registered as a charity with the Department of Internal Affairs - Charitable Services
  • are you a non-resident "tax charity" with an income tax exemption approved by us
  • the work your organisation does
  • the work the volunteers will do for your organisation

If you're not a registered charity within New Zealand we'll need more information to consider your request. To be listed as a charity for the purposes of the student loan scheme, this could include:

  • your standing and credibility as a charitable organisation
  • if you're recognised as a charitable organisation with an overseas tax authority of Government charity regulator (you'll need to provide copies of relevant documentation)
  • if you're publicly accountable
  • the monitoring and evaluation processes you have in place
  • what your accounting and record keeping practices are
  • the terms of your trust deed, constitution or other governing rules
  • other matters that we consider relevant.