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If you are sent overseas to work

You may be able to keep your student loan interest-free if you are sent overseas to work for the New Zealand government, or if you work overseas temporarily for a New Zealand business. 

Apply to keep my student loan interest-free overseas 

Tax residency status for individuals

Working overseas with a student loan
If you need to be overseas for your work

You may be able to keep your student loan interest free if you are only working overseas temporarily.

You will need to be a New Zealand tax resident. You will need to show that you get either:

  • salary or wages from a New Zealand source
  • income from a business permanently established in New Zealand.

You can only have a ‘permanent place of abode’ in New Zealand while you’re overseas.

You’ll need to provide a letter from your employer on the company letterhead, this can be you if you own the business or are self-employed, that includes:

  • your name
  • your IRD number
  • the dates that you need to be overseas for your job
  • confirmation that you will be receiving PAYE payments with a New Zealand source, or income from a New Zealand-based business
  • confirmation that the principal reason you’re overseas is for your job.

You’ll also need to provide:

  • a completed New Zealand tax residence questionnaire - IR886 if you’ll be away for more than 10 months (325 days)
  • information on how you’re maintaining accommodation in New Zealand while you’re overseas
  • information on your accommodation overseas.

You may be able to keep your student loan interest free. This may apply to people in the armed forces, the police, diplomats and others. You must meet the following criteria.

  • Your main reason for leaving New Zealand must be to take up a New Zealand Government job overseas.
  • You must be a New Zealand tax resident and present in New Zealand at the time you leave to take up the job.
  • You'll need to pay tax in New Zealand, and use the 'SL' tax code (for example M SL) so the correct student loan deductions are made from your pay.

You’ll need to provide a letter from the government agency you work on their letterhead that includes this information:

  • your name
  • your IRD number
  • the dates that you are required to be overseas, and
  • confirmation that your time overseas is for work for the New Zealand government.

Apply to keep my student loan interest-free

Last updated: 01 May 2020
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