Tax And Social Security New Zealand

Tax And Social Security New Zealand
The rules and regulations of the New Zealand Inland Revenue service (IRD) may be very similar to those in a number of Western countries but, as with all other aspects of migration, good tax planning can make a difference to the immigration procedure. The first rule for arrivals is the obtaining of a tax number (IRD number), allowing any interest on your bank deposits to be taxed at normal rather than emergency tax rates.

For those planning on buying or starting up a business in New Zealand, a tax advisor is an important asset as, in fairness, IRD employees are not expected to give advice here, any more than in the UK and other countries. Rules change frequently and are complex, requiring expert advice to avoid initial, potentially expensive mistakes.

For example, if a new migrant is receiving rental income from an overseas property, a four-year temporary exemption on taxation of overseas income is granted to new immigrants. A similar exemption apples to income from stocks and shares and may apply for longer than four years. If you have substantial assets, a family trust is treated favourably by the IRD.

New Zealand's income tax system operates on a self-assessment basis, with employers deducting payments under the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) scheme. Those getting income from a business, investments or property rentals pay three estimated instalments per year, with the fourth instalment calculated via a tax return.

There are no personal allowances to set against tax here, nor are there Social Security contributions, but the ACC Earners' Levy, set at around two per cent of earnings, is used to cover healthcare costs for non work-related accidental injuries. The New Zealand tax year begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March.

Tax rates for those earning under NZ$14,000 are 10.5 per cent; on earnings between NZ$14,000 and NZ$48,000, it's 17.5 per cent; between NZ$48,000 and NZ$70,000 the rate is 32.4 per cent and, for earnings above NZ$70,000, the top rate of tax is 33 per cent. Business tax rates are set at 28 per cent.

Migrants of pensionable age who receive a pension from their country of origin are required to include the annual amount on their self-assessment tax return if it exceeds the level of the New Zealand State pension. Lump sums may be taken from private or occupational pensions without attracting income tax as they are regarded as capital repayments, but regular pension payments will be taxed after the expiry of the four-year temporary tax exemption.