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There is no single test to decide if you're employed or self-employed.

The working conditions in your contract or agreed verbally will determine your status. You or your employer describing your job as “employment” or “self-employment” will not decide your status.

Self-employed guidelines

You're likely self-employed if you answer “yes” to most of these questions:

  • Do you provide the major assets or working equipment needed for your job?
  • Do you provide or pay for your own training?
  • Do you decide or control how you work?

For example:

  • when you take holidays
  • when, where and what hours you work
  • the standard or quality of work
  • how much you get paid and how.

Do you invest or risk your own money in the activity? For example:

  • Could you sell the business?
  • Do you support the business with your own money?
  • Are you responsible for losses or your own bad management?
  • Are you responsible for management and investment decisions?

Are you responsible for getting the work done?

  • Can you get other people to work with you or for you, without needing to get permission from anyone else?
  • Do you pay these people from your own money?
  • Can you do work for other people?
  • Do you advertise to get yourself more work?
  • Do you get someone else to do the job if you cannot?
  • Does your contract say you’ll be penalised if you stop work, or leave without finishing a project?
  • Do you have to fix work that isn’t as good as it should be, in your own time and at your own expense?

Employee guidelines

You're probably an employee if you answer “yes” to most of these questions:

  • Do you have to do the work yourself, instead of hiring someone to do it for you?
  • Can someone tell you what to do on the job, or when or how to do your work?
  • Are you paid at a set rate?
  • Can you get overtime pay or penal rates?
  • Do you work set hours, or a given number of hours each week or month?
  • Does someone else decide the amount and quality of the sales or output you need to achieve?
  • Do you work at the premises of the person you are working for or somewhere that person decides?
  • Are other people who do the same sort of job as you treated as employees?
  • Are you under an employment contract or any law that says how your relationship with your “employer” should be run?
  • Are you prevented from doing work for anyone else?
  • Does the person you work for set the rules or procedures you must follow?

If you answered “yes” to most or all these questions, but you are not treated as an employee with PAYE deducted from your pay, you will need to contact us.

Casual, short-term, temporary or part-time work

If you have more than one part-time job, or work for several different people, you need to go through these questions for each job.

You can be employed and self-employed at the same time. For example, you could be employed as a part-time shop assistant and run a business from your home.

Tax for self-employed people

If you are self-employed, you are responsible for your own tax. This means that you must:

  • tell us that you are in business
  • complete an individual tax return (IR3) each year
  • budget to make regular payments of provisional tax and end-of-year income tax
  • register for GST if your turnover was over $60,000 in the last 12 months or will be over $60,000 in the next 12 months.

If you meet the tests for being self-employed, tax may still have to be deducted from payments you receive.

Last updated: 15 May 2023
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