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As of 1 December 2019, overseas businesses that sell low value goods to consumers in New Zealand may need to register for, collect and return goods and services tax (GST).

A low value good is a physical good valued at NZ$1,000 or less, excluding GST.

Examples of low value goods include:

  • books
  • clothing
  • cosmetics
  • shoes
  • sporting equipment
  • electronic items.

These changes apply to:

  • overseas businesses that sell goods directly to New Zealand consumers online, by phone or mail order
  • online marketplaces that merchants sell goods and services through
  • redeliverers that offer mailbox redelivery
  • personal shopping services from countries other than New Zealand.

These changes do not apply to:

  • goods sold to New Zealand GST-registered businesses making business-related purchases with some exceptions
  • supplies of fine metal
  • alcohol and tobacco products where GST, excise taxes and customs duties are applied at the border regardless of value.

An overseas GST-registered business can choose to charge GST on a sale to a New Zealand GST-registered business if both of these apply:

  • the value of the supply is NZ$1,000 or less
  • in the 12 months after the sale, the business expects that more than 50% of all its sales to New Zealand customers will be made to non-GST registered customers.

Charging GST on high value goods

Distinguishing between low value goods (items individually having an estimated customs value of NZ$1,000 or less) and high value goods (items with an estimated customs value above NZ$1,000) may be difficult for suppliers.

Overseas businesses can choose to charge GST on goods valued above NZ$1,000 supplied to consumers in New Zealand if either:

  • 75% or more of the total value of the goods consists of those individually valued at NZ$1,000 or less
  • we have given them approval.

This is different from Australia where, if several goods total over A$1,000, the supplier can decide not to charge GST if they reasonably believe they will be imported in 1 consignment.

Find out more about the GST rules for low value goods. This factsheet is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese versions.