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New Zealand – Self-Employment

Breakdown of how self-employment works for expats in New Zealand

Self-employment is a popular choice for expats living in New Zealand, especially those who wish to have more control over their work and enjoy a flexible schedule. To become self-employed in New Zealand, expats need to follow a few steps.

As a self-employed person in New Zealand, you are responsible for your own income, taxes, and insurance. You will need to register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to operate legally.

Detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can register as self-employed in New Zealand

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can register as self-employed in New Zealand:

  1. Check if you are eligible: Before registering, make sure you are eligible to work as a self-employed person in New Zealand. You need to have a valid work visa or be a New Zealand resident.

  2. Choose your legal structure: As a self-employed person, you have two legal structures to choose from: sole trader or a company.

  3. Register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD): You must register your business with the IRD before you can start operating. You can register online or by completing a paper form. You will need to provide your personal details, business name, legal structure, and a description of your business activities.

  4. Apply for a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN): A NZBN is a unique identifier that all businesses in New Zealand must have. You can apply for a NZBN online, and it is free.

  5. Open a New Zealand bank account: To receive payments and pay taxes, you will need to open a New Zealand bank account. You can do this online or in person at a bank branch. You will need to provide identification and proof of address.

  6. Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST): If your annual turnover is over NZD 60,000, you must register for GST with the IRD. This allows you to charge GST on your products or services and claim back GST on your business expenses.

  7. Get business insurance: Consider taking out insurance to protect your business and yourself in case of accidents, illnesses, or other unforeseen circumstances. The most common insurances for self-employed people are public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and personal insurance.

Can you work as a digital nomad in New Zealand?

Yes, you can work as a digital nomad in New Zealand. As long as you have a valid work visa or are a New Zealand resident, you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you pay taxes in New Zealand.

However, keep in mind that you may need to meet certain requirements to obtain a New Zealand work visa, such as having a job offer, starting a business, or studying in New Zealand. You should also check with your home country’s tax authorities to ensure you are not double-taxed on your income.

Breakdown of how an expat can start a company in New Zealand

Starting a company in New Zealand is a straightforward process that requires a few steps. The most common legal structure for businesses in New Zealand is a company.


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Detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can set up a company in New Zealand

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can set up a company in New Zealand:

  1. Choose your legal structure: The first step in setting up a company in New Zealand is to choose your legal structure. The most common structure for small and medium-sized businesses is a company. A company offers limited liability protection to the shareholders and requires a minimum of one director and one shareholder.

  2. Reserve a company name: Before registering your company, you must reserve a name with the New Zealand Companies Office. You can check the availability of the name on their website and reserve it for up to 20 working days.

  3. Register your company: Once you have reserved your company name, you can register your company with the New Zealand Companies Office. You can do this online or by completing a paper form. You will need to provide personal and business details, including the name of the company, the legal structure, the purpose of the company, and the names of the directors and shareholders.

  4. Open a New Zealand bank account: You must open a New Zealand bank account for your company to receive payments and pay taxes. You can do this online or in person at a bank branch. You will need to provide identification and proof of address.

  5. Register for tax: You must register your company for tax with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). You can do this online or by completing a paper form. You will need to provide personal and business details, including the name of the company, the legal structure, and an estimate of your annual income.

  6. Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST): If your annual turnover is over NZD 60,000, you must register for GST with the IRD. This allows you to charge GST on your products or services and claim back GST on your business expenses.

  7. Get business insurance: Consider taking out insurance to protect your business and yourself in case of accidents, illnesses, or other unforeseen circumstances. The most common insurances for businesses are public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and personal insurance.

Incentives or Programs for Expats in New Zealand

There are several incentives and programs available to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in New Zealand. Here are some examples:

  1. The Entrepreneur Work Visa: The Entrepreneur Work Visa is a residence permit that allows foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in New Zealand. To be eligible, you must have a business plan that is likely to be successful and be able to invest at least NZD 100,000 in your business.

  2. The Start-up Activation Programme: The Start-up Activation Programme is a government initiative that provides funding and support to start-up businesses in New Zealand. The programme offers mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

  3. The Research and Development Tax Incentive: The Research and Development Tax Incentive is a tax credit that allows businesses to claim back up to 15% of their eligible research and development expenditure. To be eligible, your business must be carrying out research and development activities in New Zealand.

  4. Business Mentors New Zealand: Business Mentors New Zealand is a non-profit organisation that provides free mentoring and support to small businesses in New Zealand. The organisation has a network of experienced business mentors who can provide advice and guidance on a range of topics, including business planning, marketing, and financial management.

In conclusion, self-employment and business start-ups in New Zealand are accessible to expats with a relatively simple process. The New Zealand government provides ample support and incentives to encourage entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in the country. With the right legal and financial advice, expats can take advantage of these opportunities and build successful businesses in New Zealand.


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