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Your IRD number identifies your business or organisation for all its tax related events. It's unique to your business.

You need an IRD number if you're:

  • setting up a company, partnership, estate, charity, trust, club, society, superannuation scheme or Māori authority
  • an offshore and non-resident company, partnership, club, society, trust, charity, estate, superannuation scheme
  • an employer
  • selling goods and services
  • buying, selling or transferring property in New Zealand
  • in the property rental business.

Business structures

There are 3 structures commonly used for setting up a business.

Self-employed
Uses their own personal IRD number for their business.
Partnerships
Has its own IRD number and each partner also needs a personal IRD number.
Companies (including look-through companies)
Has its own IRD number, and must be registered at the Companies Office if incorporated in New Zealand. 

Before you apply

Use the following tool to check if you should apply as a New Zealand or offshore entity before you take any other steps. You might be considered offshore because related parties are based offshore, even if you do most of your business in New Zealand.

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Definition of an offshore person by entity type

A company is an offshore person if it is incorporated either:

  • outside New Zealand
  • inside New Zealand, and is 25% or more owned or controlled by offshore persons (such as shareholders).

A non-individual partnership is an offshore person if:

  • 25% or more of its partners (or members) are offshore persons
  • offshore person(s) have a beneficial interest or entitlement to 25% or more of its profits or assets
  • offshore person(s) have the right to exercise (or control the exercise) of 25% or more of voting power at a meeting.

A trust is an offshore person if:

  • 25% or more of its governing body are offshore
  • offshore person(s) have 25% or more beneficial interest or entitlement to its trust property
  • 25% or more of persons with the right to amend or control the trust’s trust deed are offshore persons
  • 25% or more of persons with the right to control the composition of the trust’s governing body are offshore persons.

A unit trust is an offshore person if:

  • the manager or trustee (or both) are offshore person(s)
  • offshore person(s) have beneficial interest or 25% or more of the trust’s property.

An individual person is someone who:

  • is a New Zealand citizen and has been overseas for the last 3 or more years continuously
  • does not have a New Zealand residence class visa granted by Immigration New Zealand
  • has a New Zealand residence class visa and has been overseas for the last 12 or more months continuously.

Any other unincorporated body is an offshore person if:

  • 25% or more of its partners (or members) are offshore persons
  • offshore person(s) have a beneficial interest or entitlement to 25% or more of its profits or assets
  • offshore person(s) have the right to exercise (or control the exercise) of 25% or more of voting power at a meeting.

An unincorporated joint venture is an offshore person if:

  • 25% or more of its partners (or members) are offshore persons
  • offshore person(s) have a beneficial interest or entitlement to 25% or more of its profits or assets
  • offshore person(s) have the right to exercise (or control the exercise) of 25% or more of voting power at a meeting.

Documents you need to apply for an IRD number

Use the following tool to find out the documents you need to apply for an IRD number.

Documents in languages other than English

You can include documents that are in a language other than English. Please also give us a certified English translation of the document.

If offshore your copies must be certified

Most of your documents must be certified if you’re offshore. In the tool above we tell you when the documents can be just copies and when they must be certified copies. Certified means the document has been stamped and signed by a person to be a true copy of the original. The certifier must be approved to take statutory declarations in your home country or in New Zealand – for example a:

  • lawyer
  • Notary Public
  • Justice of the Peace
  • court official.
Last updated: 24 May 2024
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