How to register a company in New Zealand

How to register a company in New Zealand

Our services to guide foreign investor how to register a company in New Zealand (Limited Liability Company), branch office open, income tax, audit, and financial advisory;

We shall discuss in detail how to register a company in New Zealand as foreign shareholders? New Zealand is a county consisting of 2 main islands, the North and South Islands. There a many other smaller islands that make up this country. It was made popular by director Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy, ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Located in the South Pacific Ocean southeast of Australia, the country is a natural beauty that has rugged mountains, rolling pasture land, pristine lakes filled with trout, and raging rivers. The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

The population of New Zealand is rather low at 4.7 million people only in 2016. It was also jokingly said that there were more sheep in the country than people. In actual fact, there are more sheep than people. According to New Zealand’s (NZ) agricultural production statistics, the number of sheep was 29.5 million in 2015. This number actually dropped drastically from a high of 70.3 million sheep in 1982. Interestingly the number of cattle is also on the rise with NZ having 10 million cattle in 2015 with 6.4 million bred for dairy while 3.6 million is bred for the meat. This has led dairy farming to contribute NZD7.8 billion or 3.5% to NZ’s GDP. The economy of NZ depends on exports of food products, wool, and tourism.

Types of companies in New Zealand

If you are planning to start a company in NZ, you must know what choices on the types of companies and how to register a company in New Zealand that is available. Some of them are –

  • Sole trader – You can start a business as a sole trader in NZ without incorporating a company. The sole trader has all the responsibilities of running the company and is liable for all the debts of the company.
  • Partnerships – A partnership is when two or more people or organizations come together to start a business. The liability of the business is shared between the partners. There is no company tax for this structure as when the profits of the company are shared between the partners; the partners are taxed on a personal basis.
  • Companies – A business owner can choose to form either a private company or a public company. A private company is not allowed to transfer its shares freely while for a public company there is no restriction for this. The following are the features of a limited liability company –
1. There must be a minimum 1 director
2. There must be at least 1 shareholder
3. There is no minimum share capital required upon incorporation
4. There must be a NZ address as its registered office
5. The constitution of the company is not required
  • Trust companies – A trust type of company is formed when someone puts their assets in the hands of someone who will take care of the administration of these assets. People who look after the trust are called trustees. You can start a trading trust where your company acts as the trustee. However, this is quite complicated.
  • Branch office – A foreign company can also operate in NZ by either establishing a branch office or a subsidiary company. The application to register this type of company must the name of the overseas company, full details of the directors of the overseas company, the full addresses of the place of business of the overseas company, and the name and address of one resident of New Zealand who is authorized to accept service of documents in NZ together with the proof of the overseas company incorporation.

How to register a limited liability company in New Zealand

The process to registering a limited liability company in New Zealand is really easy. This has allowed it to be honored with the number 1 ranking in the Ease of Doing Business report by the World Bank. The following is the process.

The agency that does the registration of companies in the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO). The applicant must first reserve a company name and this can also be done online. The company name must be distinctive and can be reserved for up to 20 working days. For a company to be incorporated the applicant must have a reserved name with the Registrar of Companies, together with at least 1 share, 1 shareholder, 1 director, a registered office, and an address for service. The applicant will need to pay NZD10.22 for the name reservation.

The applicant must then fill up the necessary forms. This can also be done online. After the application has been processed, the applicant will receive an email with the director and shareholder consent forms. The applicant must then get the forms signed and faxed back to the NZCO office within 20 days failing which the application will expire. The certificate of incorporation will be issued within minutes after the last consent form has been sent.

Investors have to obtain income tax and GST license or certificate as completion of the company registration procedure in New Zealand. The documents needed to do so are –

a) Contact details
b) Date of the company started employing
c) The number of employees and contractors.

For the IRD number, the applicant must also provide –

a) All of the directors IRD number
b) Main business activity
c) Place of business and postal address
d) Trading name of the company if it differs from the company name
e) Company contact details

For the GST number –

  GST accounting method
  Frequency of filing returns
  Business Activity Code
  Details of how the refunds will be paid

This whole process takes less than a day and the fees for the incorporation of the company are NZD150 and this is how to register a company in New Zealand.


Company Registration Expert Since 2012