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Tax toolbox for tradies

Are you a self-employed tradie or running a construction business? Or maybe you're someone who helps a tradie keep on top of their books? We know you’re good on the tools. Take your tax as seriously as your trade by using our Tax Toolbox.

It’s important for you to keep accurate records. Records make it easier to:

  • work out your income and expenses
  • work out your GST if you’re GST registered
  • meet your employer obligations if you have staff
  • confirm your accounts.

Records must be in English or Māori and you need to keep them for at least 7 years.

Record keeping

Record keeping - checklist - IR1008

Businesses, including self-employed contractors, get taxed on their income minus any business expenses and other claimable deductions. You will need to keep a record of your expenses and income (for example, invoices and receipts).

Watch this helpful video to get an idea of what tradie tools and other expenses can and can’t be claimed.

Tax Time Tips (Bunnings)

Types of business expenses

Like all working New Zealanders, tradies need to pay tax on all income they earn. Keeping on top of your obligations is important. If you have outstanding returns or debt owing, cut the excuses and nail your income tax now.

Tip: You can make this easier by paying income tax on a cycle to suit your cashflow, rather than waiting until the end of the tax year.

Do you or your business own rental property? We can see if you’re under-declaring rental income. Make sure you declare it in your income tax returns.

If you’re self-employed or a sole trader

Individual income tax return – IR3 

Complete my individual income tax return – IR3  

If you’re running a construction business

Income tax for businesses and organisations

Companies income tax return – IR4 

If you’re in partnership with another tradie

Income tax for partnerships 

Partnerships and look-through companies income tax return – IR7 

If you’re operating under a Trust

File a Trust or estate income tax return – IR6  

Additional reporting requirements for NZ domestic trusts

Have any debt owing?

Don’t dig yourself a hole. Pay now before your debt gets out of control.

Tip: If paying off your debt in one go is too much, you can apply for an instalment arrangement which allows you to pay your debt off over time. An instalment arrangement also helps you avoid further late payment penalties. 

Ways of paying 

Apply for an instalment arrangement

Provisional tax

Provisional tax means paying your income tax in instalments, not in a lump sum at the end of the year.  We’ll ask you to pay provisional tax if last year's tax bill was more than $5,000.

Provisional tax 

If you're self-employed or in business, once your turnover is $60,000 or more a year you need to register for GST, charge 15% GST on your sales and income, file GST returns and pay it to us. You can claim GST back on your purchases and expenses.

Tip: Make your life easier by working out your GST per dollar earned, then set this money aside in a dedicated bank account on a regular basis. Remember the GST filing frequency you’ve chosen and pay as you file. 

Have outstanding GST returns or debt? Don’t paint over the cracks, get your GST sorted now.


GST guide - IR375

If you’re running a construction business and employing people you need to make deductions from employees' pay and send the information to us.

Tip: Consider your payroll cycle and whether it needs to be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Set aside payroll deductions every pay run so you have PAYE available.

Deductions from salary and wages

Payday filing

Employer's guide - IR335

Schedular payments

Schedular payments are payments made to independent contractors, with withholding tax deducted. If you're hiring independent contractors you need to deduct withholding tax and pay it to us on behalf of your contractor.

Schedular payments

Learn how to understand your cash flow, price and quote jobs, invoice and manage contracts.

Avoid surprises by reviewing your figures regularly to understand your financial position.

Tips for tradies (

Seminars and business advisory visits

Tune in for an online tradies seminar, or watch a pre-recorded seminar in your own time.

Register for the tradies seminar

We are running ‘tradies’ seminars from the end of June to the end of July.

These are free online seminars that run for 30-45mins and cover the top 5 tax tips for tradies.

Late afternoon and evening sessions are available.

Register online now. Head to our seminars page and search ‘tradies’ in the events search bar.


Recorded seminars

You can also watch our series of pre-recorded seminars which cover the most common topics for small to medium businesses.

Introduction to Business

GST Workshop

Employer obligations

Request a business advisory visit

You can request a business advisory visit to learn more about your tax obligations and one of our people will come to you. We have community compliance officers based at all our offices around New Zealand.

Request a business advisory or social policy visit

Make life easier with a tax agent or accounting software

We understand you’re on the tools during the day and the job can be hard yakka.

A tax agent or accounting software:

  • saves you time, especially at the end of the tax year
  • is efficient and cost-effective
  • lets you focus on your business and making money.

The benefits of getting expert advice and better returns in your business will increase over time. 

Putting past tax returns right - voluntary disclosures

We are increasing our focus on the industry and with our access to data, every transaction leaves a trail. This means we will catch up with those who don’t pay their fair share.

We want to give you a chance to put things right. Forgotten some income off your past tax returns, overinflated your expenses, or perhaps you remember an error you made in the past? It’s never too late to do the right thing - get in touch with us sooner rather than later. By making a voluntary disclosure, you may have penalties reduced by 100% and you’ll keep your good business reputation intact.

Make a voluntary disclosure

Last updated: 05 Jun 2024
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