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There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting a new business. It’s important you understand your responsibilities to help you get it right from the start and avoid penalties and interest.

We recommend you check out the website, and also get advice from an accountant, lawyer, tax agent or business advisor.

Smart business guide

Our Smart business guide - IR320 has a lot of information that will help you start a new business.


Starting your business

Naming your business

Use ONECheck to check if someone else is already using the name you had in mind for a business or a brand.



Use these handy checklists to make sure you cover your legal obligations including tax, health and safety, licensing and regulation and so on.


Choose a business structure

Self-employed, partnership or company?

There are different ways to set up your business, with different tax obligations for each. It can be expensive to change your business structure, so it’s important to choose the right one.

Read about these and other options in our ‘Setting up a business or organisation’ page. has a tool to help you choose.


Running your business

Tax seminars, workshops and videos

We run free seminars and workshops across New Zealand on topics like getting started in business, GST, and becoming an employer.

We’ve also made a series of seminars covering the most commonly asked questions from our small to medium sized business community.

Running a business or organisation

Requesting a business advisory or social policy visit

Introduction to Business seminar

GST workshop

Employers workshop


Income tax for business

Most businesses and organisations that make an income in New Zealand need to file an income tax return.

Plan and save for your taxes, and you’ll have better control of your cash flow, avoid penalties for late payment, and save yourself stress.


Goods and services tax (GST)

Once you earn over $60,000 a year, you need to register for GST, charge 15% GST on your sales and income, and pay it to us. You can claim GST back on your purchases and expenses.


Employing people

When you start employing people, you need to register as an employer and make deductions from their pay.

Last updated: 25 May 2021
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