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Registering with government agencies

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:

  • 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

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

The easiest way to interact with Inland Revenue is to set up an online myIR account. This allows you to:

  • keep your personal and business details up to date
  • check your tax, KiwiSaver and other Inland Revenue accounts
  • work out your income tax return filing requirements
  • file business returns, including employer returns and GST
  • work out tax payment options.

Tax

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.

Sole trader

Partnerships

Companies

  • A company will need its own IRD number.
  • Apply for your company IRD number through the Companies Office when you register your company.

Choosing your business structure (external link) — Inland Revenue

GST

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 your business earns $60,000 or less a year — but you’ll have to complete regular GST returns.

How to register

Register online through MyIR or download a GST registration form (external link) (IR360) from the Inland Revenue website.

To register, you’ll need:

Becoming an employer

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.

You’ll also be asked if you need to register for fringe benefit tax (FBT) and the employer superannuation contribution tax (ESCT).

Are you an employer (external link) — Inland Revenue

Tax on scheduler payments (external link)  — 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

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, 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.

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