New Zealand

New Zealand is a mature economy with a good business reputation. For international businesses, it offers a number of important planning opportunities. The jurisdiction enjoys a wide network of tax treaties with countries such as the UK, Japan, Germany, Italy and the USA.

The use of a locally-registered company in conjunction with a locally-registered foreign trust can enhance the value of investments. Pearse Trust has a track record of advising on the formation and management of such structures.

New Zealand Key Facts

1-2 working days

Shelf Companies:


  • Minimum number of directors: 1
  • No restriction on residence or nationality
  • Corporate directors not permitted


  • Not obligatory
  • No restriction on residence or nationality
  • May be corporate or individual


  • Minimum number of shareholders: 1
  • No restriction on residence or nationality
  • Corporate shareholders permitted

Public Filing:

Annual return must be filed every year

Corporation Tax rates:

Double Tax Treaties:

New Zealand Tax

New Zealand companies are taxed on their worldwide incomes. It is possible to reduce the level of taxation by creating and properly managing a structure that involves the use of a locally-registered company, in conjunction with a New Zealand foreign trust.

No tax exposure arises if the income is from a non-New Zealand source and the settlor in the transaction is not a resident.

Other notable features of the local taxation system are:

  • Corporation tax rate of 28%
  • An extensive network of double taxation treaties

Pearse Trust provides access to local taxation expertise to enable clients to plan their tax affairs and ensure compliance with company law.

New Zealand Incorporations

Companies can be formed in New Zealand within two working days. A minimum of one shareholder and one director is needed to establish a company, but there are no restrictions governing residency or nationality.

Reporting requirements are more onerous in New Zealand than in some other jurisdictions. We advise clients to appoint a New Zealand shareholder to avoid filing audited financial statements. Company law stipulates that such accounts must be filed if more than 25% of shares are held by non-nationals.

Pearse Trust offers a full incorporation and advisory service in New Zealand.

New Zealand Corporate Compliance

Under New Zealand company law, annual returns must be filed within six months of the end of the accounting period. Reporting requirements depend on the nature of the company, but extend to financial performance, audit report and accounting policies.

The nature of the filing can also depend on the composition of the shareholding. New Zealand resident companies are required to have their financial statements audited in the following circumstances:

  • If more than 25% of the shares are owned by foreign shareholders
  • If any company issues securities by way of public offering (e.g. debentures, shares)
  • Unless 100% of the shareholders unanimously agree by resolution not to have an audit.

Pearse Trust has experience of advising overseas investors on meeting their compliance obligations in New Zealand.

New Zealand Solutions

Pearse Trust advises clients on the creation of efficient investment vehicles, which utilise New Zealand registered companies and foreign trusts. Correctly established and managed, they can eliminate exposure to New Zealand tax. New Zealand Trusts benefit from being established onshore and within an OECD member country, and the legal system is primarily common law based, deriving much of its laws from the United Kingdom.

Our New Zealand services include the formation of new companies, as well as agency, legal and taxation advisory services.

New Zealand Resources

New Zealand - Blog Posts