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How to Register as a Sole Trader in New Zealand

February 20, 2021
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Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is a country adorned with Maori culture. This country ranked seventh in 2019. global prosperity ranking and it is the 51st-largest national economy in the world measured by GDP. In the following article, we have delivered the necessary information and requirements for the future sole traders.

Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action

Who are sole traders in New Zealand?

If you are the person who wants to have full control over your business, without too many reporting requirements, then you want to become a sole trader! Sole traders have more advantages, and those would be full ownership over profit, easy registration, and easy change of business structure. Being a sole trader can be a flexible way to work. First, you should create your business plan, to be sure that you’re on the right track with your idea. 

Apply for registration as a sole trader

As soon as you decide what business you want to do, you need to accredit it. A perk of being a sole trader is this process. The first thing would be to notify IRD (Inland Revenue Department ) that you’ve become a sole trader since you’ll be using your IRD number for paying income tax and Goods and Services Tax (for this you will also need registration). Sole traders register for GST for earning over NZ$60000 a year. If you want to speed up your interactions with the government, suppliers, and customers, and other businesses use NZ Business Number. For registration you will need:

  • Your IRD number 
  • Proof of identity: New Zealand drivers license or a passport

The application process starts by logging into your RealMe account, followed by setting up a user account.

Choose your business name

When you register as a sole trader, you’ll need to decide on your business name. Under a sole trader business structure, you can trade under your legal name, or under a business name. For example, you may trade under the name ‘Martha Smith’ or ‘Martha Smith Copywriting’. By choosing another name, you can brand your business and separate it form your own. Here you can check if the name is available. Creating your brand logo would be a good idea as well that will contribute to building the professional authority.


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Registration for Taxes

Taxation in New Zealand is collected at a national level by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) on behalf of the Government of New Zealand.

While using your IRD number, you will have all your income tax calculated. Anyhow, for this, you could use a hand of an accountant. When you as a sole trader sell assets or the business, any monetary gain is taxed. 

Keep in mind: If you do not have an IRD number when you start earning income, you'll pay a higher tax rate of 45%.

Aside from GST, one more thing that you should take into account is the Value Added Tax (VAT). The current New Zealand VAT is 13.00%, which you must submit to the applicable New Zealand revenue department in a periodical VAT tax return.

You pay tax on net profit by filing an individual income return.