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Responsibilities of a Māori Land Trust

Trustees of Māori land trusts will have tax obligations if you receive income from the use of the trust’s land and other investments.

The first obligation will be to obtain an IRD number. This number is the trust’s unique identifier that is used to facilitate your interactions with Inland Revenue. The trust’s IRD number is often a requirement to opening a bank account for the trust.

The Māori Land Court may vest land in the trustees of one of the following land trusts:

  • Ahu whenua trust.
  • Whenua topu trust.
  • Whānau trust.
  • Putea trust.
  • Kaitiaki trust.

A Māori land trust will be taxed as a trust unless the trustees elect to be taxed as a Māori authority. Some of the tax factors the trustees of a Māori land trust will need to consider in deciding whether to be taxed as a trust or a Māori authority are:


  • Income taxed at a rate of 33%.
  • May allocate the trust’s income directly to the beneficiaries.
  • If a beneficiary defaults on paying their share of tax, the trust remains liable.

Māori authority

  • Income taxed at a rate of 17.5%.
  • Must maintain a Māori authority credit account (MACA).
  • Register as a payer of RWT and file investment income returns if you are allocating income to beneficiaries.
  • May attach Māori authority tax credits (MACA) to income allocated to beneficiaries.

You can find out more about the taxing of trusts and electing to be taxed as a Māori authority here:

Trusts and estates

Elect to become a Māori authority

For more information on what payments may have to be included as income in a land trust’s income tax or GST returns, request an advisory visit from our Kaitakawaenga Māori:

Arrange a business advisory

Last updated: 19 Oct 2020
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