The Taxation (Land Information and Offshore Persons Information) Bill passed on 10 September 2015, creating the Tax Administration Amendment Act 2015 and the Land Transfer Amendment Act 2015. This page contains answers to questions about what to do when buying, selling or transferring property.

On this page:

Who is considered to be my "immediate family"?

For questions 10, 12 & 13, “immediate family” is considered to be a person:

Who is your

  • spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner;
  • parent, sister, or brother, or
  • child, or a child’s spouse or partner

Who is the parent, child, sister, or brother of your spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner

 

Read more about the information that sellers and buyers need to provide on the Inland Revenue website.

Which is the main home if I own – or have an interest in – more than one?

The one you have the greatest connection to. Think about: where personal property was kept; the time you occupied each dwelling; where immediate family lived; where your social ties were strongest; and what other ties – employment, business, economic, etc – you had with the area where each dwelling is located.

Who decides if it’s the main home?

The person transferring the property – but knowingly providing false or misleading tax information is an offence. This can result in a fine, if convicted, of up to $25,000 for a first offence or $50,000 for a repeat offence.

Can a transferee (buyer) claim a main home non-notifiable reason where the main home is yet to be built on the affected land?

Yes, providing:

The transferee (buyer) is not an offshore person (see s 156A(2)(b)(iv) of the Land Transfer Act 1952); and

  • The transferee (buyer) intends to use the land predominantly for a dwelling that will be the transferee’s (buyer’s) main home (see s 156A(2)(a)(i) of the Land Transfer Act 1952); and
  • The transferee (buyer) has the intention at the time of signing the tax statement to build a house on the land and use it as their main home. For example, if the transferee (buyer) intends to build a house to sell or rent, or is not sure whether they will build a house at all, then they would not be able to claim the main home non-notifiable reason.

Note that the answer to Question 3 should always be “No” if the land does not currently have a home on it (“Home” means a dwelling mainly used as a residence e.g. house, apartment, unit, whether tenanted, occupied or not).

Is the family home held in trust able to access the main home exemption?

No. Only individuals (ie natural persons) can use the main home exemption.

If an offshore person buys or sells their main home, are they exempt?

No. Offshore persons are not exempt from providing tax information. A definition of an offshore person is provided in Section 3 of the Tax Administration Act 1994.

Is my overseas Tax Identification Number (TIN) needed if I live in New Zealand?

If you file a tax return overseas, you’ll need to provide the TIN for that jurisdiction – even if you live in New Zealand – unless you’re buying or selling your main home.

What if I have more than one TIN?

If you’re a tax resident overseas, you must provide all relevant TINs from each jurisdiction where you’re a tax resident.

Only provide the numbers where you pay tax, not historic numbers – eg if you have a TIN from your OE, but are no longer tax resident in that country, don’t provide it.

Are you an offshore person if you’ve only visited New Zealand for a short time?

  • If you’re a New Zealand citizen living overseas, but have visited New Zealand in the past three years (even just for a day), you’re not an offshore person.
  • If you’re a New Zealand resident living overseas, and have visited in the past year, you’re not an offshore person.

In both cases, you don’t have to provide a bank account to apply for an IRD number, and can claim the main home exemption.

When do trusts have to provide an IRD number?

Trusts are allocated IRD numbers independently of the trustees in their personal capacity. When a trust transfers property, it is the trust’s IRD number that’s needed.

Some trusts have no taxable income and may not have an IRD number. These trusts will need to obtain an IRD number to complete a purchase, sale or transfer of property.

This tax information will not form part of the land transfer register. Non-disclosure of trusts on the register is a separate issue governed by other provisions of the Land Transfer Act 1952, which are not changing under this regime.

What tax information do family trusts need to provide?

Where a family trust is purchasing or selling a property or individual trustees are changing, whether they claim it to be a main home or not, they are still required to provide tax details including the tax number for that trust. While the bright line test requirements for paying tax does not apply to trusts, a tax statement for trusts which includes tax numbers is still needed. 

How do you get a tax number?

Apply in writing to Inland Revenue. If you apply on behalf of a trust, you must provide all trustees’ names and a copy of the trust deed.

Find out more about applying for an IRD number on the Inland Revenue website

What tax information is required for a relationship property settlement?

Even if someone is exempt from paying tax under the bright light test, they usually still need to provide a tax statement and, unless they have a non-notifiable/exemption reason not to, a tax number. 

If the property was, or will be, a main home then an IRD number isn't needed.

See how property tax applies to a relationship property settlement example

What happens with estates?

Where property is transferred from an estate to a beneficiary under the will or the rules governing intestacy, executors/administrators do not have to provide an IRD number. Beneficiaries, or anyone who purchases from an estate, are required to provide an IRD number. Where executors/administrators are transferring estate property to someone other than a beneficiary or not in terms of the will, the executor/administrator would need to provide an IRD number as the Transfer does not fall within Reg 5(1)(b).

What happens with forced sales – such as mortgagee sales or sales as a result of court order?

If property is sold by mortgagee sale, the transferor is the mortgagee/bank and does not need an IRD number – however the purchaser does, unless it is their main home.

Will transfers to local authorities or Government agencies be exempt?

Tax-exempt public authorities or local authorities, as defined in the Income Tax Act 2007, do not need an IRD number when transferring land.  This includes departments and departmental agencies – but not wider Crown entities or Council Controlled Organisations.

For example: if the Ministry of Education sells school buildings and land to an individual developer, it doesn’t need to provide its IRD number – but the developer would.

Why are changes like these needed, and who decided what should be exempted and what shouldn’t?

Find out more about the Bill on the Inland Revenue website

Is it the nominee or nominator who must provide tax information?

When completing the tax statement, be aware that the terminology used in respect to 'nominee' differs to that normally used in conveyancing.

For the tax statement, the 'nominee' is defined in section YB21 of the Income Tax Act 2007 and is the person who does, or holds, on behalf of someone else (the 'nominator').  The person who has decision-making power, or who takes the profit from the sale, is the 'nominator'.  It is the 'nominator' who must provide tax details.

See the case study 'Nominators and nominees' for more information

How is nominator tax information entered in Landonline?

The Landonline Prepare Tax Statements screen provides for entry of a nominator name using the following steps: 

  1. Prepare the transfer as usual and the Transferor and Transferee names will display in the Prepare Tax Statements screen.
  2. The nominee’s name as transferor or transferee will populate automatically in question 5  while the name of one of the nominators should be entered at question 7. The remaining questions should be completed using the nominator’s information.
  3. The paper statement must be signed by the transferor or transferee who is acting as nominee.

How is tax information entered in Landonline for multiple nominators?

If a transferor or transferee is acting on behalf of multiple nominators, a tax statement is required for each nominator, however only one set of information can be recorded in Landonline against the transferor or transferee who is acting as nominee.

Prepare the required statements and have them signed by the nominee as described in step 3 of the above FAQ “How is nominator tax information entered in Landonline?.”  You should then choose one for entry to Landonline. Lawyers and Conveyancers are  required to retain a copy of every tax statement they receive, so information on the other nominators will still be accessible on request from Land Information New Zealand or Inland Revenue.

How is tax information entered in Landonline when there is a Deed of Nomination?

For this discussion the Deed of Nomination will result in the nominee taking possession of property in their own right and they will not be acting on behalf of the nominator so are not considered a ‘nominee’ for the purposes of completing the tax statement (refer to the definition of a nominee in our FAQ "Is it the nominee or nominator who must provide tax information?"). For example:

There is an agreement for sale and purchase between Person A to Person B.  B also has a Deed of Nomination to C.  One transfer is prepared for registration from A to C.   In this case, the following steps should be used:

  1. Prepare the transfer as usual and the Transferor (A) and Transferee (C) names will display in the Prepare Tax Statements screen.
  2. Enter tax information for A and C being their own tax details -  do not enter any tax information for B nor make reference to B in the tax statement

How does a company answer the questions in the Land Transfer Tax Statement?

A person completing a tax statement on behalf of a company should record the company’s full name at question 5, then select “entity” in question 6 and proceed to question 14. The company’s tax information should then be recorded in the relevant spaces.

How does a Trust answer the questions in the Land Transfer Tax Statement?

A person acting as a trustee of a trust must complete a tax statement for themselves in their capacity as a trustee. Each other trustee must complete a separate tax statement. A trustee cannot submit one tax statement for the trust.

At question 5, the trustee must record their full name, not the name of the trust. This is because the Land Transfer Act 1952 prohibits any reference to trusts on the register.

The trustee should complete questions 9 and 10 with reference to their own and their immediate family’s citizenship and visa details.

When acting as a trustee the Main Home exemption cannot be claimed at question 15

The trustee will need to insert the trust’s IRD number in question 17. Trusts are allocated IRD numbers independently of the trustees in their personal capacity. When a trust transfers property, it is the trust’s IRD number that is needed.

How is tax information entered in Landonline for a single transfer of multiple titles?

Each buyer and seller will need to provide a tax statement with full tax details unless they can claim an exemption or non-notifiable reason that is applicable to all titles in the transfer. For example, a seller may not claim a main home non-notifiable reason if the total land area being transferred has not been predominantly used as their main home.

This means, for each individual buyer and seller:

  • if a single exemption is claimable for the combined title area, this may be recorded against the individual to which it applies and no tax statement is required
  • if a single non-notifiable reason is claimable for the combined title area, a tax statement is required, but no tax details are required
  • if an exemption or non-notifiable reason is claimable for one title, but not the others, a tax statement with full tax details is required
  • if a different exemption or non-notifiable reason can be claimed for each of the titles being transferred, but no single exemption or non-notifiable reason can be applied to all titles, the buyer or seller must provide a tax statement with full tax details.

Alternatively the transaction could be split into multiple transfers, however this would result in additional registration fees. 

Got a question?

For registered Landonline users, submit a 'Titles Information' request in Landonline.

For other users, send an email to customersupport@linz.govt.nz

Before you submit an enquiry, read the notes section of the Tax Statement form. Further information can also be found under ‘Property tax compliance: how the requirements apply’

Last Updated: 2 August 2017