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A non-resident contractor is a non-resident person, company or entity contracted to provide services, the use of another person’s services, or the use of equipment in New Zealand.

This page is for non-resident contractors who are self-employed.

Point About non-resident contractors


Employees, non-resident entertainers and sportspeople are not non-resident contractors.


If the contractor provides their services from outside New Zealand and does not have any presence in New Zealand, they are not a non-resident contractor.


Payments made to the non-resident contractor are called schedular payments. Payers must generally deduct tax from these payments and pay it to Inland Revenue on behalf of the contractor.


Some non-resident contractors are exempt from withholding tax or may apply for a tailored rate.


Any tax deducted is a credit if the non-resident contractor needs to file a tax return in New Zealand.


Non-resident contractors who employ staff or subcontractors may have additional obligations in respect of the payments they make. See the Employer's guide - IR335 for more information about these obligations.

Non-resident contractors with an annual turnover above $60,000 may need to register for GST.

Registering for GST

Withholding tax on payments to non-resident contractors

Unless there is an exemption, payers must deduct tax on payments made to non-resident contractors.

The rate is usually determined by the type of work performed and whether the contractor has provided a completed IR330C Tax rate notification for contractors. The default rate is currently 15%.

Higher rates are used if the form is not complete. These are called 'no-notification' rates.

You will need an IRD number unless you have full tax relief under a treaty between New Zealand and your country of tax residence.

See 'Contact us' on this page if you're not sure whether you need an IRD number.

IRD numbers for individuals

Exemptions from withholding tax

The payer does not have to withhold tax in the following situations.

  • You have a certificate of exemption.
  • You meet the 92-day rule under a double tax agreement.
  • The payments you receive are below a $15,000 threshold.

You may still need to file a tax return and pay tax on the payments received despite being exempt from withholding tax.

Certificate of exemption

You can apply for a certificate of exemption from withholding payments in the following situations.

  • A double tax agreement between New Zealand and your country of tax residence provides an exemption from income tax.
  • You provide a bond or other security to ensure you pay any tax you need to.
  • You've met all your obligations in the last 2 years and will continue to do so.

Apply for an exemption as a non-resident contractor

Double tax agreements (DTAs)

92-day rule

You do not have to apply for a certificate of exemption from withholding tax if you come from a country that has a DTA with New Zealand and you're eligible for total New Zealand tax relief under that agreement. You must also be present in New Zealand for a total of 92 or fewer days in any 12-month period.

Payments under $15,000

You also do not have to apply for a certificate of exemption if the total contract payments you receive as a non-resident contractor from all your payers is $15,000 or less in a 12-month period. 

Tailored tax rate certificate

Non-resident contractors can apply for a tailored tax rate which is higher or lower than would otherwise apply. This might, for example, be relevant when the contractor has other income or losses.

Apply for a tailored tax rate for schedular payments

You might want to use the following tool to calculate your rate of tax.

10 minutes
Tax rate estimation tool for contractors

Estimate your tax rate

Go to this tool

File an income tax return in New Zealand

You may need to file an income tax return in New Zealand at the end of the tax year or when you leave New Zealand.

This will not be necessary if your only income is exempt under a DTA between New Zealand and your country of tax residence.

Complete my non-resident individual tax return 

Accident compensation corporation (ACC) levies

As a self-employed person, you're liable for paying ACC levies on your New Zealand income. This is New Zealand's accident insurance scheme.

Paying levies if you work or own a business (ACC)

Tax credits for withholding tax

You can deduct any withholding tax against your final liability in New Zealand when you file a tax return.

Further guidance

A detailed discussion of interpretative issues and practical matters can be found in Tax Information Bulletin Vol 22, No. 7 - Aug 2010 under:

  • 'Interpretation Statements - IS 10/04: Non-resident contractor schedular payments' on page 29.

Tax Information Bulletin - Vol 22 No 7 - August 2010

Contact us

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone, email or post at:

+64 4 890 3056

[email protected]

Inland Revenue
Non-resident Contractors Team
PO Box 2198
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Last updated: 15 Feb 2024
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