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Income can come from a wide variety of sources, including:

  • payments from online platforms
  • subscriptions
  • payments for promoting products or brands in a content creator’s online content
  • payments for advertisements embedded in the online content
  • commissions earned from affiliate marketing and links
  • donations or gifts, including non-monetary gifts
  • prize money, for example, from e-sports competitions.

What are my tax obligations as a content creator?

Considering if your income is taxable

When deciding if you have income, avoid using labels such as 'hobby' or 'side hustle'. Instead, think about these factors for your content creation activity:

  • how often you receive payments and whether they are regularly received
  • the relationship between you and anyone who pays you for your content creation work
  • the reason you received the payments.

If you monetise content and receive regular amounts from subscribers or platforms, then the amounts are likely income and taxable.

Payments not considered income

Not everything received as a content creator is income for tax purposes. If you receive one-off or occasional payments, then you are less likely to have income. The interpretation statement discusses other factors you should consider such as whether what you receive can be relied on to help pay for living expenses and whether what you receive normally covers the cost of the activity, although this doesn’t mean an activity must always make a profit for the revenue to be income.

Interpretation statement 21/08: Content creators - tax issues

There are exceptions for small amounts of income and children still at school.

Tell us about your income

A tax year in New Zealand runs from 1 April to 31 March.

If you receive more than $200 untaxed total income during a tax year from any source including content creation, you need to tell us about it. You do this on an Individual tax return - IR3.

Individual income tax return - IR3

School students

School students who earn less than $2,340 in a tax year from self-employment including content creation do not pay tax on that money.

For more information on the school student exemption:

My income is not taxed before I get paid

Are the payments or benefits I receive taxable?

Content creators can receive many types of payments or benefits, such as:

  • promotional items
  • gifted goods or services
  • donations from viewers or subscribers.

When content creators need to pay tax on payments, products and services

Last updated: 23 Aug 2021
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