The New Zealand Taxes Visitors Need to Know About
No one wants to hear about the extra fees or taxes they might have to pay anywhere in the world. Unfortunately for tourists, there are quite a few taxes to juggle for visiting New Zealand. As many taxes are included in the price, however, you’ll hardly notice that you’re paying the extra percentage. Additionally, there are a couple of visitor taxes for New Zealand, such as the NZETA and IVL, that you will have to pay an upfront cost for. We go through it all in this New Zealand tax guide for travellers.
5 Taxes You (Might) Have to Pay as a Tourist in New Zealand
These are the taxes you might be expected to pay as a tourist or international visitor to New Zealand, which we will go into more detail about in this New Zealand tax guide for travellers.
- Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZETA)
- International Visitor Levy (IVL)
- Arrival Tax
- Departure Tax
We also go over whether it is necessary to tip in New Zealand, as well as advice for international travellers paying taxes for working in New Zealand.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) in New Zealand
Established in 1986, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on almost anything you purchase in New Zealand. It is an inherent part of your trip here, whether you notice it or not.
What is the New Zealand GST Rate?
The GST rate is 15% which is applied to all goods and services. Some rare services are exempt from GST and duty-free will offer items tax-free when landing in New Zealand from an international flight. More information on those two topics can be found below.
What is GST Applied to in New Zealand?
Because GST is a tax on all goods and services, it will be applied to almost everything you purchase in New Zealand. That includes food, medication, equipment, going to the hairdressers, the doctors and even the activities you are likely to do as a traveller in New Zealand.
The Few Notable Exceptions of GST:
- Bank services, including interest
- Duty-free items (see below)
- Donated goods sold by non-profits
- Wages (but this is subject to other taxes).
How to Calculate GST in New Zealand
The easiest way to calculate the GST is by the following: Multiply a price by 3, then divide it by 23.
Example: Your grocery shopping is NZ$56 so, 56 x 3 = 168 and 168 / 23 = 7.30 There is NZ$7.30 of GST in your NZ$56 grocery shopping.
Is GST Always Included in the Price in New Zealand?
Almost all of the time, businesses will include GST in the price displayed. However, some businesses will write a price and mention “+ GST” which means that you should add the GST to that price to know how much the price is in total. This is pretty rare but still happens in some trade, wholesale retailers and services, so keep an eye out.
Can Tourists Claim GST Back When Leaving New Zealand?
No, as a visitor, you cannot claim GST back once you have paid for it. There are no tax refund schemes on GST for visitors to New Zealand.
Shopping Duty-Free: How to Avoid Paying GST in New Zealand
To save on GST when arriving in New Zealand, stop by the duty-free shops at the airport, as well as in Auckland Central, as long as you have proof that you are leaving the country (flight ticket, for example). But keep in mind the following limitations on the number of duty-free goods you can bring into New Zealand:
- 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars
- 3 bottles of spirits (under 1.125 litres each)
- 4.5 litres of wine or beer
- Up to NZ$700 on other goods.
You can also avoid paying GST on goods in New Zealand if you arrange for the retailer to export your item or arrange for the retailer to deliver your item to an airside location, i.e. a place in an international terminal after Customs, for departing travellers. A limited number of duty-free stores outside of the airports do this, which we outline in our complete guide to Duty-Free Shopping in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZETA) and International Visitor Levy (IVL)
There are two “tourist taxes” that visitors are expected to pay, one is mandatory for all visitors while the other depends on what type of visa you are on.
What is the NZETA Tax?
According to Immigration New Zealand, the NZETA is to “improve the way travellers are assessed before they arrive in New Zealand, and help reduce the time needed for border clearance and strengthen border security.” The NZETA applies to all visitors arriving in New Zealand on a passport from a visa-waiver country. Visa-waiver countries for New Zealand are listed in What You Need to Know About the New Zealand ETA & Visitor Levy.
You must request and pay for an NZeTA before you travel to New Zealand. There are two ways of paying for the NZeTA and IVL, either through an Immigration New Zealand app or their website. The cost is NZ$9 through the mobile app and NZ$12 through the website. Again, see the guide mentioned above for instructions on how to pay.
What is the IVL Tax?
The IVL is said to be “a way for travellers to contribute directly to the tourism infrastructure they use and to help protect and enhance the natural environment”. It is essentially a conservation tax for tourists.
The IVL applies to all visitors with a passport from either a visa-waiver country or a country where you have to apply for a visitor visa to visit New Zealand. The IVL costs NZ$35 and you will pay this either when you request your NZETA or when you apply for your Visitor Visa.
For more information on what the IVL is, check out What You Need to Know About the New Zealand ETA & Visitor Levy (NZeTA & IVL).
New Zealand Arrival and Departure Tax
You may not realise it, but an arrival and departure tax is added to the cost of your flight or cruise ticket to and from New Zealand. The arrival and departure tax for New Zealand, also known as “border processing levies”, is a fee to pay for the Customs and Biosecurity procedures you go through upon arrival and departure. There is no upfront cost to pay for these fees, they are included in the cost of your travel ticket.
Flight Arrival and Departure Tax
Travellers arriving on airlines or private craft are charged a Customs levy of NZ$16.59 and a biosecurity levy of NZ$16.92.
Travellers departing on airlines or private craft are charged a Customs levy of NZ$4.52.
Cruise Arrival and Departure Tax
Travellers arriving on a cruise ship are charged a Customs levy of NZ$11.48 and a biosecurity levy of NZ$10.58.
Travellers departing on a cruise ship are charged a Customs levy of NZ$4.55.
See the New Zealand Customs Service website for more information on the arrival and departure tax.
Tipping in New Zealand
So, after all of these taxes on tourists and visitors to New Zealand, are you also expected to tip?
Tipping is not mandatory or expected in New Zealand, but it will be appreciated if you tip to reward exceptional service.
For more advice on tipping, not tipping, what to tip, etc., check out Tipping in New Zealand: Do You Need to Tip in NZ?
Tax Returns for Working in New Zealand
If you have worked in New Zealand as part of a working holiday visa, student visa, work visa or for whatever reason, you are entitled to a tax return (tax refund) on some of the taxes that were deducted from your wages.
As this is a whole process, we have a complete guide to help you through it over at How to Get Your Tax Refund in New Zealand.
Plus, for more information on work taxes, check out our guide to the New Zealand Work Tax System.
More About Taxes in New Zealand
That’s it for our New Zealand tax guide for travellers, visitors and tourists. For more tax advice, check out the following:
- New Zealand Currency: The New Zealand Dollar
- The Best Way to Pay in New Zealand
- Checklist for Leaving New Zealand
Finally, for more essential advice for your trip, don’t forget to check out the 31 Tips for Travelling in New Zealand.