New Zealand company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN NEW ZEALAND IN 2020

pay fee by instalmentsbusiness setup without travel

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with registering their new business in New Zealand. Our services include i) New Zealand company registration ii) government license registration iii) business bank account opening iv) employee recruitment v) visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions.

Compare different New Zealand entitiesLLCPublic limited companyLLPFSP Registered CompanyRepresentative officeBranch officeTrust
Also known asLtdPLCLLPFSPROBranchTrust
Best use of company?All products and servicesSecure public fundingProfessional servicesGlobal financial servicesMarketing & researchSpecific projectsTax planning
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?1 week1 week1 week8 monthsCannot2 weeksCannot
How soon can you hire staff?1 week1 week1 week1 week1 week2 weeksCannot
How soon can you sign a lease agreement?ImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediately
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks8 months4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks
How long to supply company registration/tax numbers?2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?28%28%0%28%0%28%0%
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Minimum /recommended paid up share capital?US$1US$1US$2US$200,000NoneNoneUS$10,000
Can bid for Government contracts?YesYesYesYesNoYesNo
Corporate bank account location?ANZ New ZealandHSBC New ZealandBank of New ZealandWestpac New ZealandKiwibankBank of China NZICBC
VAT payable on sales to local customers?15%15%15%15%Cannot trade15%Cannot trade
Average total business set up engagement costs?US$8,740US$8,830US$9,200US$52,760US$18,530US$10,330US$35,750
Average total engagement period?7 weeks8 weeks7 weeks8 months10 weeks10 weeks9 weeks

See full table

Accounting and tax considerationsLLCPublic limited companyLLPFSP Registered CompanyRepresentative officeBranch officeTrust
Statutory corporate tax payable?28%28%0%28%0%28%0%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoNoYesNoYesNoYes
Must file an annual tax return?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Must file annual financial statements?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Monthly VAT reporting to the Government?YesYesYesNoYesYesNo
Must appoint an auditor?NoYesNoNoNoNoNo
Access to double taxation treaties?YesYesYesYesNoYesNo
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders?30%30%30%30%None30%None
Company RegistrationLLCPublic limited companyLLPFSP Registered CompanyRepresentative officeBranch officeTrust
Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Minimum number of shareholders/partners?1121Parent companyParent companyNone
Maximum shareholding for foreigners?100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Minimum / recommended statutory paid up share capital?US$1US$1US$2US$100,000NoneNoneNone
Shelf companies available?YesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?1 week1 week1 week8 months1 week2 weeks1 week
Legal registered office required?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Board meetings held anywhere in NZ?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Must sign an office lease agreement during incorporation?NoNoNoYesNoNoNo
Can easily convert to a PLC?YesYesNoYesNoNoNo
Public register of shareholders and directors?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Can have preference shareholders/partners?YesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Business ConsiderationsLLCPublic limited companyLLPFSP Registered CompanyRepresentative officeBranch officeTrust
Can secure residence visa for business owner?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesNoNoYesNo
Can secure an import and export license?YesYesYesYesNoYesNo

Sponsorship by a local citizen required?No
Our Client needs to travel to New Zealand for business set up?No
Temporary physical office solutions available?Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory?No
Can be wholly foreign owned?Yes
The entity will likely be regulated by?Companies Office
Minimum number of directors/managers?1
Shareholders & directors documents to be attested\translated?Yes
Each foreign director needs a personal income tax number?No
Foreign non resident director needs a residence visa?No
Maximum number of staff allowed?No maximum number for any entity
Expatriate to local staff ratio?None
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice?Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements?Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS?Yes
This country is a member of the ICSID?Yes
Average custom duties suffered?1.4%
Government foreign investment approval required?No
Average monthly office rental? (US$ per sq m)US$478
Minimum statutory monthly salary?US$1,883
Average monthly US$ salary for local skilled employees?US$2,700
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)1.12%
Overseas remittance currency controls?None
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Excellent
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes
Group HQ tax incentives?No
Security deposit to be kept with Government?No
Can secure trade finance?Yes
Government grants available?Yes
Government approval required for foreign owners?No

New Zealand business setup summary

Press the link headings below to read detailed, relevant, up to date information.

  • Benefits and problems

    Benefits of New Zealand company registration

    Advantages of business registration in New Zealand

    1. Setting up a New Zealand company is straightforward because:
      • A New Zealand LLC can be setup within a week with only one director and one shareholder;
      • The minimum paid up share capital for a new company is NZ$1;
      • Our Client does not need to travel to New Zealand to complete the engagement.
    2. New Zealand is business-friendly because:
      • It is ranked as the world’s easiest jurisdiction for doing business;
      • It is considered one of the world’s least corrupt countries;
      • While all tax-resident New Zealand companies must pay tax on their worldwide and New Zealand sourced income at a standard rate of 28%, there are no capital gains, inheritance or wealth tax.
    3. The New Zealand Government offers generous business set up incentives to multinationals:
      • The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Agency offers i) tax credits for Research and Development (R&D) expenses for start-ups of up to NZ$255,000 per year and ii) provides credit insurance which can cover up to 80% of the value of goods and services exported abroad;
      • The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority offers loans and funding for energy- efficient projects including i) fuel efficiency programmes for transportation companies ii) company energy management tools and iii) energy audits for manufacturing companies, among many others;
      • The New Zealand Film Commission offers film production grants for i) large budget screen production and ii) post digital & visual effects. These grants are worth an average of US$20,000 per subsidised production, but can reach US$3,000,000;
      • Securing loans in New Zealand is easy, thanks to an efficient banking sector. New Zealand is ranked as the world’s best country in which to secure a loan by the World Bank. Local banks are, in particular, supportive of SMEs;
      • The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund was established by the government in 2002 to assist the country’s venture capital market. Consequently, there are a large network of venture capital firms and angel investors ready to finance entrepreneurial ideas. The country is ranked by the World Economic Forum as the world’s 18th best place to access venture capital.
    4. New Zealand has a lower cost base than Australia:
      • Average wages, at US$3,425 per month, are 40% lower than Australia’s US$5,680. New Zealand employers also pay social security contributions representing only 3% of their employees’ gross salaries, against 19% in Australia;
      • New Zealand businesses pay total effective taxes averaging 34.6% of their earnings, against 47.4% in Australia. These effective rates include corporation tax, payroll contributions and GST;
      • Average rental of warehouse space in New Zealand was US$124 per square meter in 2019. Office space in Auckland’s CBD was US$450 per square metre in 2019, while suburban areas can be as low as US$290 per square metre;
      • Living costs are over 10% lower in New Zealand than Australia, including i) housing ii) restaurants and iii) transportation. Melbourne and Sydney are ranked as the world’s 50th and 79th most expensive cities respectively, while Auckland is 81st.
    5. New Zealand is a favourable trading base:

    Problems with New Zealand company registration

    1. All New Zealand companies must appoint a director resident in either New Zealand or Australia. Healy Consultants offers professional New Zealand passive resident director services to comply with this requirement;
    2. A New Zealand company is subject to a relatively high corporate income tax rate of 28% and value added tax (VAT) of 15%;
    3. Foreign-owned companies must file audited financial statements every year, if their annual sales are expected to exceed US$24,000. Healy Consultants will negotiate with the New Zealand government for exemption from this annual administrative requirement;
    4. Every New Zealand company must file an annual return and tax return;
    5. New Zealand is a small domestic market with a population of only 4.8 million. As such, it is not a desirable destination to expand small businesses or launch and test new products in an unknown market;
    6. New Zealand Financial Services Providers (FSPs) are finding it increasingly difficult to open local corporate bank accounts, due to stricter requirements on having i) local employees ii) a local office iii) a local active resident director and iv) local customers;
    7. There is a lack of financial support from banks for small businesses and start-ups. Consequently, these ventures often have a high failure rate.
  • Best uses for a New Zealand company

    1. New Zealand companies are amazingly attractive vehicles for our international Clients’ to conduct their global business, including:
      • The “Look Through” company is a New Zealand resident company. Look Through Companies can be formed by individuals, such company can enjoy under some conditions the network of New Zealand’s double taxation avoidance treaties;
      • New Zealand companies can be used as a holding companies or as trading companies if all its operations are done outside of New Zealand. The corporate bank account can be opened outside of New Zealand in a country like Singapore, Germany or the United States;
      • New Zealand companies can also apply for a Financial Service Provider license, granted by the New Zealand Financial Services Authority. Licensed companies can then provide financial services from a trusted jurisdiction with excellent regulatory oversight;
      • Fortunately, New Zealand is not blacklisted by any jurisdiction or authority in the world and has no connotations as a tax haven. New Zealand is a fully committed member of the OECD, FATF and World Trade Organization.
    2. New Zealand is the best jurisdiction in the world to set up a financial services company because:
      • Within 8 months, Healy Consultants can register a financial services company in New Zealand for our Client with limited regulatory oversight. Financial entities include banks, hedge funds, asset management;
      • New Zealand is a reputable financial center, neither considered an offshore tax haven nor blacklisted by any Government in the world.
      • Obtaining a financial service provider license in New Zealand is i) much easier and ii) much cheaper than London, New York, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong;
    3. New Zealand is an attractive place for the formation of a foreign trust because:
      • The country has an impecable reputation for its AML/CFT regulations and is stable politically;
      • Foreign trusts are legally exempt from all taxes in New Zealand as long as their income is retained by the trust. Once distributed, income sourced from outside New Zealand can also be exempt from income tax and withholding tax if i) the beneficiaries are residing abroad and ii) the income is categorized as passive income (click link for further details);
      • There is no public registrar of trusts in New Zealand, hence guaranteeing the confidentiality of our Clients.
  • Similar low tax jurisdictions

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Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in New Zealand, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Simon Guidecoq, directly:
client relationship officer - Simon