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Charitable organisations Ngā rōpū kaupapa atawhai

Charitable bodies requesting overseas donee status

Read this information if you're a New Zealand charity whose purposes are mainly overseas, and you want to get overseas donee status so that taxpayers who make cash donations to you can get a tax credit on their donations.

  • Individuals can apply for a tax credit of 33.3% of the amount donated up to the level of their taxable income
  • Companies and Māori authorities can apply for a deduction up to the level of their net income.

A New Zealand charity with mainly overseas purposes must be specifically named in tax legislation before its New Zealand donors can qualify for tax benefits on donations. These organisations are often referred to as "overseas donee organisations".

Please also read the Guidelines for charitable bodies seeking overseas donee status.

How to obtain overseas donee status

To have overseas donee status, your organisation must be specifically named in Schedule 32 of the Income Tax Act 2007.

We provide advice to the Government based on the information about your organisation's activities that allows them to make an informed decision about your request.

Process for making the request

  • We assess your request for donee status against the criteria for overseas donee status, as well as a number of other factors.
  • We consult with the:
    • Department of Internal Affairs - Charities Services
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and
    • New Zealand Police
      to ensure that information needed for New Zealand to meet its international obligations, such as taking active steps to identify and prevent illegal activities like money-laundering, human trafficking or the financing of terrorism is taken into account.
  • We then make a recommendation to the Government, which adds the organisation to Schedule 32.

Obtaining overseas donee status can be a lengthy and involved process, depending on the completeness of the information you provide, and the Government's tax policy priorities.

Criteria for overseas donee status

Your organisation's funds must be mainly applied towards:

  • the relief of poverty, hunger, sickness or the ravages of war or natural disaster, or
  • the economy of developing countries (recognised by the United Nations), or
  • raising the educational standards of a developing country (recognised by the United Nations).

Organisations formed for the purpose of fostering or administering any religion, cult or political creed are specifically excluded.

Other factors for overseas donee status

To be confident that an organisation is credible, transparent and accountable for the funds it applies overseas, we look at the way your organisation is managed, its ability to monitor the funds applied overseas and any third-party verification (see "Third-party relationships" below) you send with your request.

How to support your request

Please also read the Guidelines for charitable bodies seeking overseas donee status.

These are some examples of the type of information you may wish to provide.

Brief overview of your organisation

  • its origin and history
  • purpose and what it does
  • location of operation
  • size and complexity
  • how long it has been operating for
  • IRD number
  • a copy of the organisation's governing instrument (such as a Trust deed or a company constitution).

Third-party relationships

  • your registration with the Department of Internal Affairs - Charities Services
  • your registration with a revenue authority, or a body with a similar role to the Department of Internal Affairs - Charities Services, in another jurisdiction
  • an established relationship with a government or an international body, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the United Nations Development Programme
  • membership of an umbrella overseas aid organisation, eg, the Council for International Development (CID)
  • adherence to a code of conduct or a code of ethics appropriate to the organisation's international aid/development sector (for example, the CID Code of Ethics or the Sphere Project's Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards for Disaster Response)

Management of your organisation

  • minutes of the governing body/management committee meetings or annual general meetings
  • annual reports
  • structure of the organisation and the experience/expertise of the people involved
  • copies of recent newsletters or other promotional material.

Project selection and monitoring

Information about how your organisation ensures the accountability of its projects, for example, how it:

  • identifies and appraises potential projects
  • decides which project(s) to support, eg, you could provide due diligence reports, project designs, partnership contracts, recipient's/project's governing document, and its charitable status in the recipient country
  • monitors progress, eg, recent progress or monitoring reports from organisations in the recipient country, including financial reports
  • measures and evaluates outcomes, eg, a field visit or evaluation report
  • ensures projects are implemented effectively.

Financial credibility and sustainability

Information about the financial credibility and sustainability of your organisation, such as financial accounts or statements, including a breakdown of income sources and expenditure, and its business and finance plans.

Internal regulatory compliance controls

Information about your organisation's procedures or policies to prevent funds being used for private profit or going to individual(s)/organisation(s) associated with terrorism, sex tourism, child trafficking or other illegal activities that could result in it being prosecuted in New Zealand.

Ongoing requirements once your organisation is included in Schedule 32

Once your organisation is included in Schedule 32, you will be expected to maintain adequate financial and management systems that can produce:

  • accurate information about a project's progress and activities
  • financial reports
  • information about donation receipts that have been issued and details of the funds received from donors, and
  • any other particulars that we may require about your organisation's activities, funding and finances.

Where to send your request for overseas donee status

Please complete the Overseas donee status application (IR464) then email it with your supporting documentation to or send it to:

Policy and Strategy
Inland Revenue
PO Box 2198
Wellington, 6140

We may contact you to discuss your request if we need any more information.