If you’ve started a business or become self-employed, you’ll need to register with a number of government agencies to use their services and meet legal and tax obligations. Here’s what you need to know and do.
RealMe is a secure login that uses the same username and password for a range of online government services, including:
You’ll still need a separate login for Inland Revenue’s online service myIR.
Where to use RealMe (external link) — Department of Internal Affairs
NZBN is a unique ID that — over time — will let businesses update and share key information and interact with government and each other.
All companies registered in New Zealand already have NZBNs. In 2017 all other businesses in New Zealand will get one, including sole traders
The easiest way to interact with Inland Revenue is to set up an online myIR account. This allows you to:
How your income is taxed will depend on the business structure you choose — sole trader, partnership or company. See our tips on choosing which is right for you, including a video on business structures.
Choosing your business structure (external link) — Inland Revenue
You need to register for GST if your turnover was more than $60,000 in the last 12 months, or if you think you’ll earn more than $60,000 in the next 12 months. You can register voluntarily if you or your business earns $60,000 or less a year — but you’ll have to complete regular GST returns.
Register online through MyIR or download a GST registration form (external link) (IR360) from the Inland Revenue website.
To register, you’ll need:
When you start employing staff, or contractors who receive schedular payments, you must register as an employer with Inland Revenue — even if you employ your spouse or partner.
Are you an employer (external link) — Inland Revenue
Tax on scheduler payments (external link) — Inland Revenue
Register for myIR (external link) — Inland Revenue
Find out about Registering as an employer (external link) on the Inland Revenue website.
You don’t need to register with ACC — Inland Revenue forwards your income figures to ACC, which calculates if you need to pay ACC levies, and how much you’ll need to pay.
Your first levy invoice will usually arrive after the end of your first year in business. After that, you’ll be invoiced once a year, usually in July for businesses or August for the self-employed.
If you decide to set up a limited liability company — rather than operate as a sole trader or partnership — you must reserve the company name and apply to be listed on the Companies Register.
To apply for registration, you’ll need a RealMe login to access the Companies Office website where you can:
For businesses at any stage — including if you’re self-employed — it’s important to protect your intellectual property (IP), eg your logo, brand or inventions.
You can register the following on the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ) website
Some types of IP are best protected by being kept secret. See our guide to simple ways to protect IP assets.
We want to know if you have more confidence to take action after reading the information on this page.