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What are trusts and estates

Trustees of a trust hold 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.

Income tax for trusts and estates

Reporting the final income 

From the tax year ending 31 March 2023 an executor will need to decide if any reportable income received in the 28 days following death, is included in either

  • a final income tax return for the individual
  • a return for the estate.

Otherwise, estate income generally follows trust tax rules.

For further information refer to the IR288 Guide - Trust and estate income tax rules 

Filing trust returns

File an IR6 trust or estate income tax return

Additional reporting requirements for NZ domestic trusts

File estate or trust beneficiary details - IR6B

Trust disclosures common errors

Last updated: 01 Apr 2024
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