Make a payment
Māori organisations Ngā whakahaere Māori

What is a Māori authority?

A Māori authority acts as a trustee by administering communally owned Māori property on behalf of individual members.

Go to the list of organisations eligible to become a Māori authority

Who Māori authority members are

If the Māori authority is a company, a member is either a person or group of persons who are shareholders.

If the Māori authority is a trustee of a trust, members are beneficiaries.

Advantages of becoming a Māori authority

  • There is a lower income tax rate of 17.5%.
  • Credits attached to distributions that are more than a member's liabilities will be refundable, or can be used to cover income tax payable on other income.
  • Māori authorities can pay resident withholding tax (RWT) at a lower rate than other taxpayers.
  • Māori authorities can "opt" out of the Māori authority rules without needing to wind up and establish another entity.

Disadvantages of becoming a Māori authority

  • Māori authorities that are companies can't group losses, amalgamate or consolidate with other companies that are not Māori authorities.
  • When a Māori authority doesn't have a member's IRD number, a RWT rate of 33% will apply to any distributions over $200.
  • A Māori authority that elects out and then re-enters later is treated as having disposed of and then reacquired all its assets at market value.

Each Māori organisation will have to balance the advantages and disadvantages before deciding whether to elect into these rules.

How to become a Māori authority

If your organisation meets the criteria for one or more of the eligible entities, you need to let us know that you want to apply the Māori authority rules. You can do this by filling out a Māori authority election (IR483) form. This process is called making an election.