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Global expatriate tax guide

Expatriate tax - New Zealand

If you’re moving to New Zealand, you will be subject to our comprehensive tax rules and work permit requirements. Liability to tax will be principally determined by your tax residence status and the source of relevant income. This summary of New Zealand tax regimes has been specifically prepared for individuals relocating to New Zealand. It’s a high-level introduction of New Zealand’s tax rules that may apply to individuals coming to New Zealand.

Should you have any queries or require any further information, please feel free to contact our tax specialists.

Click on each of the areas below to expand for more information:

Facts and figures
Pre arrival procedures

Specific prearrival tax procedures do not exist in New Zealand. A visa or permit to work in New Zealand is also not required if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen or hold a New Zealand residence permit; or
  • an Australian citizen, or an Australian resident with a current permanent residence visa or a current resident return visa.

However, work permits may be required in some situations. If you’re unsure about your employment visa status, be sure to seek advice to clarify this.

Tax year

The tax year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

Tax returns and compliance

New Zealand operates a self-assessment regime. Taxpayers file an annual tax return and self-assess the tax liability for the year.

If an individual only receives reportable income (e.g., NZ sourced salary, interest, dividends) then they may be eligible to receive an automatic tax assessment.

Due dates and extensions

The filing date for an individual’s tax return is 7 July following the 31 March year-end balance date. If you use a recognised tax agent (e.g., an accounting firm or tax adviser), the filing due date may be extended to the following 31 March.

New Zealand tax rates

Individuals are taxed at progressive rates according to total taxable income. New Zealand does not have a joint filing regime and individuals are required to file in their own name.

Rates for the 2023/24 income tax year are:

Total income (NZD) Marginal rate
0 to 14,000 10.5%
14,001 to 48,000 17.5%
48,001 to 70,000 30%
70,001 to 180,000 33%
180,001 or more 39%


Sample income tax calculation

Income tax calculation 

Base salary 120,000
Housing allowance 50,000
Schooling costs 25,000
Gross income 195,000
Income protection insurance (4,000)
Tax return preparation fees (1,000)
Total deductions (5,000)
Taxable income 190,000
Tax at 10.5% first 14,000 1,470
Tax at 17.5% next 34,000 5,950
Tax at 30% next 22,000 6,600
Tax at 33% next 110,000 36,300
Tax at 39%, final 10,000 3,900
Total tax 54,220

Note: In this example there will be an additional ACC earner levy of $2,132.57

Basis of taxation
Charge to tax

Tax residents of New Zealand are taxed on worldwide income, whereas tax non-residents are generally taxed on New Zealand source income only. These general rules may be modified by certain domestic concessions and tax treaty provisions depending on your individual circumstances. If you meet the transitional resident criteria, you are also generally eligible for 48 months of relief from New Zealand tax on foreign passive income (following the date that your tax residence is confirmed).


The 183-day test

An individual is deemed to be a New Zealand tax resident if they are present in New Zealand for more than 183 days in any 12-month period. Where this test is met, the individual is treated as being a tax resident from the first of the 183 days.

The permanent place of abode test

An individual is deemed to be a New Zealand tax resident if they have a “permanent place of abode” (PPOA) in New Zealand. The PPOA test generally looks at whether an individual has access to a property (whether rented or owned) in New Zealand that they have lasting connections with.

Transitional residency

While ordinarily residents are subject to tax on their worldwide income, if an individual qualifies as a transitional resident then they will be exempt from New Zealand tax on their foreign-source income apart from any foreign employment income or personal services income for services performed during their transitional resident exemption period. The transitional residence period runs for 48 months from the end of the month in which their residence is confirmed.

Income from employment

Taxable income from employment includes salaries, wages, bonuses, lump sum payments, the benefit of employer provided accommodation, and benefits arising under employment-related share purchase schemes and option schemes. Certain payments to or on behalf of employees may qualify for tax-free treatment - for example, if you receive payments as compensation for certain categories of work related expenditure such as business travel.

Stock options and equity-based compensation

Equity compensation is subject to a complex set of rules that deems a benefit to arise at the time when an employee becomes entitled to legally hold shares and is not entitled to be compensated for any associated risk of the market value of those shares increasing or decreasing. We suggest that specific tax advice be sought if you are intending to receive equity compensation.

Source of employment

New Zealand has very broad sourcing rules which you need to consider carefully. Usually, employment income is deemed to be sourced in the country in which the employment services are performed. For New Zealand tax purposes, factors such as where the employment contract is made and where the payment is made from are relevant in determining the source of the employment income. Where a treaty employment article applies, the source is generally where the services are performed.

Benefit in kind

Employee fringe benefits are subject to fringe benefit tax (FBT). This is imposed on employers and not on employees. Common examples of benefits subject to FBT include the provision of motor vehicles available for private use, low interest loans, health insurance, overseas superannuation contributions and discounted goods.

Expatriate concessions

Depending on the length and terms of the assignment, tax relief may be available under the provisions of a double tax agreement between New Zealand and the home country. Generally, treaty relief for compensation is only available if the individual is not present in New Zealand for more than 183 days during that year and the compensation is paid and borne by an offshore, (ie a non-NZ) entity. It is important that the treaty provisions of each country be examined.
Various tax exemptions may apply in relation to expenditure incurred as part of a relocation or secondment.

Relief from double taxation

Under certain circumstances expatriates will become tax resident in New Zealand as well as in their home country under prevailing domestic tax laws. As a dual tax resident, where there is a double tax treaty in place, the taxing rights of each country will be determined by reference to the treaty.

New Zealand currently has a network of 40 Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) in force with its main trading and investment partners.

Relief for foreign taxes

Credit is available to New Zealand tax residents for foreign tax paid on foreign-sourced income. In general terms, the tax credit recognised in New Zealand will be limited to the lesser of the foreign tax paid or the New Zealand tax applicable on the foreign income. Double tax treaties may limit the amount of overseas tax paid on some sources of income.

Deductions from taxable income

General tax deductions against employment income are limited to the cost of preparing the annual tax return and income protection insurance premiums. Deductions for other costs incurred by employees in deriving employment income are specifically prohibited. Employers may compensate employees on a tax-free basis for certain types of expenditure incurred by employees in undertaking their employment duties. Common examples of expenditure that might be reimbursed include travel and entertainment for business purposes, or business telephone costs.

Self-employed individuals are entitled to a wider range of deductions for costs incurred as part of their business activity.

Other taxes
Capital gains tax

New Zealand does not have a capital gains tax regime as such, although some capital receipts may be treated as taxable income. Certain accrued/unrealised gains may also be taxable. Specific taxing regimes apply to tax gains from particular property disposals, and gains arising from financial instruments such as deposits and bonds, and gains on certain foreign shareholdings, retirement schemes and life insurance investments.

Sale of a principal residence

While in certain situations, sales of property will be subject to income tax, an exemption will generally be available if the property has been used by a taxpayer as their main home. Specific tax advice should however be sought to confirm the applicability of any exemptions.

Inheritance, estate, and gift taxes

New Zealand does not impose inheritance tax, estate duties, gift duties or death duties. 

Investment income

Passive income flows such as interest and dividends are taxable at the individual’s marginal income tax rate. Special rules may apply to foreign shareholdings where the aggregate value of these exceed NZ$50,000 or if an individual holds a shareholding of 10% or more in a company. Special rules may also apply to debt instruments held in foreign currencies.

Local taxes

There are no local taxes imposed on the income of individuals in New Zealand.

Real estate tax

There are no real estate taxes in New Zealand. Property rates are levied by regional governments to cover local infrastructure, logistical and management costs.

Currently, only New Zealand citizens or permanent residents are eligible to buy properties in New Zealand. Additional concessions can apply in the case of Australian and Singaporean citizens. Special exemptions can be applied for if certain criteria are met.

Social security taxes

New Zealand does not operate a social security payment system as such, however both employers and employees contribute to the Accident and Compensation Corporation (ACC). ACC is a no-fault Government run accident insurance scheme. ACC covers employees who have an accident (whether at work or home) and allows for both medical assistance and compensation for up to 80% of an employee’s usual earnings while they are incapacitated. The individual earner contributions are collected from the employee through New Zealand’s pay as you earn (PAYE) system.

The rate and threshold for ACC is reviewed each year. For the 2024 income tax year, the ACC individual earner’s levy rate is 1.53% of income, with the contribution capped at $2,132.57. For the 2025 income tax year the ACC earner’s levy rate is 1.60% of income, with the contribution capped at $2,276.52.

Wealth tax

There is no wealth tax in New Zealand

Other specific taxes

Non-resident withholding tax (NRWT) may be payable if interest payments are being made to a foreign party (e.g., on a mortgage) where that foreign party is not a registered bank in New Zealand.

Foreign asset reporting

In certain situations, New Zealand tax residents may be required to provide information relating to financial accounts held by them under FATCA and CRS regimes. These rules generally apply where assets are held via trust, although may also apply to other entity types.

Tax planning opportunities

Primary planning opportunities exist around the transitional residency exemption.

The transitional resident exemption gives you significant tax planning opportunities and is intended to give you time to organise your affairs before becoming subject to tax on your worldwide income. We encourage expatriates to get advice in advance to ensure planning opportunities are maximised and calculated correctly during this period. Transitional residents who have offshore losses can elect out of the foreign income exemption - however, this means they are then no longer able to benefit from the concession in the future. Again, if you’re considering this, be sure to seek specialist advice.

For further information on expatriate tax services in New Zealand please contact:


Murray Brewer
T +64 9 922 1386


Anthony Morgan
T +64 27 203 7375