New Zealand's government gets most of its revenue from taxes on:
- individual income
- business income
- goods and services.
In New Zealand, taxes go towards funding programmes and services. You can see the amounts and types of taxes collected, as well as what the Government spent, by checking the financial statements the Treasury makes available.
New Zealand has a tax system where you self-assess your tax position. This means you'll need to:
- look at each type of income you earn and pay the right tax on them
- file or approve a tax return at the end of the tax year
- see if you're eligible for any social policy programmes.
Income tax on individual income
This is a tax on income you earn. Using set income ranges, different tax rates apply to each range of the total income you earn in a tax year.
- Any income you earn in the lowest range is taxed at the lowest rate.
- If you earn income in a higher range, the tax rate increases and applies only to the income you earn in that range.
Income tax on business income
This is a tax on income businesses earn. You'll see that if you're self-employed or unincorporated, you'll be using the rates for individuals. Other business entities have different rates. You can work out which type of business suits your situation at the business.govt.nz website.
Goods and services tax (GST)
This is a tax on goods and services sold in New Zealand by registered suppliers. When you buy goods or services in New Zealand, you pay GST on most purchases. There are a few exceptions where you do not pay GST.
In any 12-month period, if you're in business and earn more than $60,000 in turnover from taxable activities, you'll need to register for GST. This means you'll charge your clients and customers GST, collect it and send it to us during the tax year.
Paying the right tax on different types of income
It's good to check the lists of income types for both individuals and businesses. This way, you can make sure you're paying the right tax on each type of income you earn.
Your tax residency status may affect what tax you'll pay on different types of income. Our section about international tax for individuals has lists of advice for different types of income, depending on whether you're a:
- non-resident taxpayer
- New Zealand tax resident.
You'll need to do this before you file or approve your end-of-year tax return.
If you've set up a formal company or you're doing business internationally, make sure you check out our international section for business.
Filing or approving your end-of-year tax return
Some of these types of income mean you'll be paying tax during the tax year. You'll still need to do a final check at the end of the tax year to see if you have:
- a refund
- tax to pay
- no tax to pay.
Social policy programmes
You may be interested in the social policy programmes available. For example, New Zealand has a voluntary savings scheme to help set you up for retirement. Even if you're not yet eligible for this or other programmes like Working for Families or student loans, you may want to use them in the future.
More information about coming to New Zealand
For more information about moving to New Zealand, visit Immigration New Zealand's websites.