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Special tax rules apply for non-resident entertainers, which includes sportspeople. You may need to consider whether a double tax agreement (DTA) affects how you’re taxed.

Some payments mainly connected with cultural programmes are exempt.

Qualifying as a non-resident entertainer

You are a non-resident entertainer if you:

  • are a non-resident taxpayer
  • perform in public or in front of a camera
  • perform in a sporting event or game.

Common examples of non-resident entertainers are:

  • actors, musicians, singers and dancers
  • lecturers and speakers
  • sportspeople.

If you are a crew member who works behind the scenes, you are a non-resident contractor or employee rather than an entertainer.

Tax summary

The payments you receive are likely to have a withholding tax of 20% deducted by the payer. This is a full and final tax. You do not need to file a tax return in New Zealand if you have no other income from the country but may choose to do so to claim expenses.

You are not entitled to the exemption for personal or professional services provided during a visit of 92 days or less.

You still need to pay tax on payments that are:

  • made to someone else on your behalf
  • made to you from outside New Zealand.

If tax is not deducted, you're liable for this.

A DTA may affect how you're taxed. For example, payments are exempt in New Zealand if you’re a US resident and they’re not more than US$10,000.

Double tax agreements (DTAs) 

You need to get an IRD number if you:

  • are paying your tax yourself
  • want to claim expenses
  • are a payer who pays non-resident entertainers or sportspeople.

You may need to register for goods and services tax if you supply goods or services in New Zealand and the value is above $60,000.


Income a non-resident entertainer receives for a performance in New Zealand is exempt in the following situations.

  • You perform under a cultural programme of, or wholly or partially sponsored by the New Zealand government or an overseas government.
  • You perform as part of a programme of a foreign non-profit organisation that promotes a cultural activity.
  • You represent the national body that administers the game or sport in your home country.

The income is also exempt if the payments are received by the person who provides the services of the non-resident entertainer and that person is:

  • the entertainer's employer
  • a company of which the entertainer is an officer
  • a firm of which the entertainer is a principal.

The exemptions are explained in Tax Information Bulletin Vol 31 No 7 (August 2019) from page 39, IS 19/03 Income tax – exempt income of non-resident entertainers.

Tax information bulletin - Vol 31 No 7 - August 2019

Contact us

We can also help with tax information for: 

  • non-resident promoters and agents
  • visiting participants, officials and media
  • sponsorship, entertainment, marketing and equipment services
  • large international sporting events.

You can contact us by phone, email or post at:

+64 9 984 4329

[email protected]

Non-Resident Entertainers and Sportspeople Team
Inland Revenue
PO Box 76198
Auckland 2241
New Zealand

Last updated: 06 Jun 2023
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