Starting a Business in

New Zealand

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in New Zealand. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare New Zealand to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Apply online for registration with the Companies Office (including IRD number application and registration for GST)

    Agency: New Zealand Companies Office

    To reserve a company name online, entrepreneurs can visit the New Zealand Companies Office Web site (www.companies.govt.nz). A new company’s name must be unique and can be reserved for up to 20 working days with the Companies Office. To be incorporated under the Companies Act 1993, a company must have a name reserved by the Registrar of Companies, at least one share, at least one shareholder, at least one director, a registered office, and an address for service.

    The applicant(s) can then apply for company registration online by completing forms on company details and paying the registration fee. When the application is processed, the founder(s) will receive a notification by email along with the appropriate director and shareholder consent forms, which are generated by the Companies Office. The applicant must then fax the signed director and shareholder consent forms within 20 working days, after which the application will expire. The certificate of incorporation will be issued via email in a few minutes when the last consent form is accepted.

    Promoters can apply online for a company IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number and register for the GST (Good and Service Tax) at the same time as incorporating a company online with the New Zealand Companies Office. The list of the information needed when applying for a company IRD number and registering for GST is as follows:
    - Contact details
    - The date the company will begin employing
    - The number of employees and contractors (including the number of employees that will have a student loan)
    - IRD number – The IRD number of each Director and all individual shareholders that are NZ residents, Main Business Activity, Place of Business and Postal Address, Trading Name of the company (if different from the Business Name), Company Contact details, a Business Industry Description and Code, and whether or not the Fringe Benefit Tax for employees is applicable.
    - GST number – GST accounting method, frequency of filing returns, business activity code, details of how you would like refunds to be paid, whether or not the company will be making tax exempt supplies, Business Industry Description and Code, and whether or not the company will be making imports/exports and ACC uses the business activity code to calculate levies for personal injury cover and residual claims (see www.businessdescription.co.nz for more information).

    Since July 1st, 2008, it is mandatory to file most documents with the Companies Office online. Starting in November 2014, clients now have the ability to pay the incorporation prescribed fees using internet banking.

    Less than one day (online procedure) NZD 10.22 name reservation + NZD 150 company incorporation