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Registering with government agencies

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 service that uses the same username and password for a range of online government services, including:

  • checking if a jobseeker can legally work in New Zealand
  • filing a Companies Office annual return
  • registering a trade mark.

You’ll still need a separate login for Inland Revenue’s online service myIR. 

Where to use RealMe (external link) — Department of Internal Affairs

*RealMe® is a registered trademark of the New Zealand government and New Zealand Post.

New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)

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

NZBN website (external link)

If you want to recruit staff, eg permanent, fixed-term or casual employees, you may need to register as an employer with Inland Revenue

If you want to recruit staff, eg permanent, fixed-term or casual employees, you may need to register as an employer with 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.

Setting up a company

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:

  • search the Companies Register to see if your business name is available
  • reserve your company name
  • register your company
  • file annual returns setting out contact details for the company and its directors.

Intellectual property

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.