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New Zealand

New Zealand tax residents (i.e. individuals who have lived in the country for at least 183 days in any 12-month period, or who have a permanent place of abode in New Zealand) are subject to tax on their worldwide income. To cease tax residency, an individual must be absent for 325 days over a one-year period, and no longer have a permanent place of abode in New Zealand. Nonresidents are liable for tax only on income sourced in New Zealand, unless the income is exempt under general law or a tax treaty.

Taxable income and rates
Tax is deducted at source for wage and salary earners. Most employed individuals are subject to the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) regime, as a result of which (subject to certain thresholds), such employees are generally not required to file annual income returns.

There are four tax rates: 12.5% (for income up to NAD 14,000); 21% (for NZD 14,OOl-NZD 48,000); 33% (for NZD 48,001-NZD 70,000); and 38% (over NZD 70,001).

In addition to income tax, employees pay a levy, known as the earners' levy, collected on behalf of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) by the Inland Revenue to cover the cost of non-work-related injuries. Employers deduct the earners' levy from wages and remit it to the Inland Revenue. The earners' levy for the year ending 31 March 2009 is imposed at a rate of NZD 1.7 (GST inclusive) per NZD 100 of earnings. The maximum income the levy is charged on is NZD 106,473, with the maximum amount payable being NZD 1,810.04.

Income is assessed individually; there is no joint assessment of husband and wife.

Determination of taxable income
Net taxable income for residents is gross taxable worldwide income less deductible expenses incurred to produce income. Wage/salary earners are generally unable to claim deductions against employment income (limited to tax return preparation fees and certain income protection insurance premiums), but may claim tax rebates for charitable contributions, school and childcare payments. The taxable income of an individual may also include attribution of income interests held in FIFs and financial arrangements when thresholds and exemptions do not apply.

For partners of partnerships and sole traders, the same deductions apply as with corporate tax, except that FBT is not payable in relation to benefits provided to the proprietor and the costs of providing the benefits are unlikely to be deductible. The accident insurance employee premium is tax-deductible. The same rules on capital gains also apply. Gains from active share trading are taxable; individuals face the same tests as corporate taxpayers. Losses are deductible only when a gain would have been taxable. The occasional buying and selling of shares by individuals does not constitute trading.

A tax credit is available for certain taxes paid on foreign-source income.

Special expatriate tax regime
Expatriates in New Zealand may qualify for exemptions on foreign investments and for exemptions from valuing offshore debts and cash investments on an unrealised basis, depending on the level of their investments. 

To encourage international recruitment, transitional resident rules apply to allow a four-year exemption from tax for new migrants and returning New Zealanders that have been absent for a period of 10 years or more. This exemption from tax means most foreign-source income derived by a transitional resident will not be subject to tax in New Zealand for a period of up to 48 months from the time he/she acquires a permanent place of abode in New Zealand.

Capital taxes
There is no estate duty. A gift duty is levied on the donor of gifted assets worth more than NZD 27,000 and a gift statement must be filed once the value of gifted assets in any 12-month period reaches NZD 12,000.


Source: Deloitte

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