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What are trusts and estates

A trust is an entity that holds money or property for the benefit of its beneficiaries or for law purposes. Estates are a person’s assets after they have died. Both trusts and estates are taxed on the income they generate.

Foreign trusts with New Zealand resident trustees

We refer to foreign trusts with one or more New Zealand resident trustees as New Zealand Foreign Trusts (NZFTs). For information about registering NZFTs with us, guidance and ongoing disclosure and return processes, see our international section about foreign trusts.

Foreign trusts with New Zealand resident trustees

Tax summary

Trusts often have money or property that's used as an investment to earn revenue. This revenue becomes the trust’s income as it's earned. The initial settlement on the trust is not income for tax purposes.

Estates can continue to earn money after a person has died. This income follows trust tax rules.