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Tax obligations: ceasing to operate a business

Find out what to do if you're ceasing to operate a business, for any reason.

If you stop employing staff

If you stop employing staff, whether it's due to ceasing your business or not, you need to show each employee's finish date on your Employer monthly schedule (IR348) or Employment information form. 

You can cease your employer registration in myIR

When a company or limited partnership is no longer trading

If you're winding up your company or limited partnership, you'll need to:

  • file all your tax returns
  • pay all tax owed, and
  • apply for a letter from us confirming we have no objections to the company or limited partnership being removed from the register.

In the letter you'll need to tell us:

  • the date you intend to wind up the company or limited partnership
  • the reason for winding up
  • the year the final returns will be for and when they'll be filed, if not already filed
  • whether the company or limited partnership still has any assets and what will happen to them
  • whether any assets have been distributed to shareholders or directors (general or limited partners for limited partnerships) or any other person or entity for less than market value (including debt forgiveness) and if so, provide relevant details
  • a copy of the profit and loss account and the balance sheet up to date of winding up
  • if there are any outstanding returns or debts, and what is being done about paying them
  • the contact person (eg, director or agent) for any future enquiries
  • any other relevant information.

Send the letter to us at:

Inland Revenue
PO Box 39010
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045

Getting a company or limited partnership removed from the register

To remove a company or limited partnership from the register, you'll need to apply to the Companies Office.

Find out how to remove a company from the register on the Companies Office website

Find out how to deregister a limited partnership on the Companies Office website

When a company or limited partnership is no longer trading but isn't winding up

In some cases, a company or limited partnership may have ceased trading, but you don't want to remove it from the register.

For companies, apply to us for non-active status with a Non-active company declaration (IR433). If we accept your application, you're no longer required to file tax returns until your company is reactivated.

For limited partnerships, continue filing income tax returns, even if they're nil returns.

Keeping your business records

When you cease operating your business, you must keep your business records for 7 years from the year when they were created.

Filing a final tax return

After you've ceased operating a business, you must file a final tax return that includes your business accounts up to the date your business ceased to operate. Until you've filed your final tax return, you haven't completed your business tax obligations.


You can't file your final tax return early. It's due at the same time as your previous income tax returns, ie after the end of the financial year your business ceased to operate in.

Video: Closing down your business

This video explains how easy it is for a business owner to take care of their tax when they close down their business. It also explains what to do if your business is registered with the Companies Office.

HTML5 video | 2.16 mins | Closing down your business video transcript