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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

1

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

2

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.

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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)

A nominated taxpayer can act on your behalf

A non-resident contractor can have a resident nominated taxpayer act on their behalf to help make the process of meeting non-resident contractor employment obligations much easier.

An non-resident contractor can establish an agreement with an entity that is resident.

The resident entity that has been elected to be the nominated taxpayer advises Inland Revenue in writing of the agreement and provides the name and details of both parties involved. 

The nominated taxpayer will be responsible for filing for both parties included in the agreement. All parties will be joint and severally liable for the tax payable. 

What the nominated taxpayer needs to do 

The resident nominated taxpayer needs to tell us they are taking over the agreed non-resident contractor’s obligations and have the authority to act for them.

Let someone act on your behalf

The resident nominated taxpayer also needs to tell us that they agree to provide compliance history to get an NRCT exemption for the non-resident contractor.

We need a separate NRCT exemption for each contractor. 

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.

Understanding levies if you work or own a business (acc.co.nz)

Tax credits for withholding tax

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

Tax Technical guidance

Detailed discussions of interpretative issues and practical matters can be found in the Interpretation Statement IS 10/04 on page 29 and the Tax Information Bulletin Vol 22, No. 7 - Aug 2010.

IS 10/04: Non-resident contractor schedular payment

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 4 832 5244

[email protected]

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

Last updated: 03 Apr 2024
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