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chapter two of six

Registering for GST

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Small business guides > Quick guide to GST > Registering for GST

Registering for GST

Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics, find out if your business needs to register for GST and, if so, how to do it and what happens next.

Who needs to register for GST?

Businesses with a turnover of $60,000 or more are required to register. You may be an exception if you sell GST-exempt goods and services. You can get into legal difficulty if you don’t register for (and collect) GST when you should.

Learn more about who needs to register for GST on this IRD page.

Benefits of registering

If you’re GST registered, you don’t end up paying GST on business expenses. You’ll still get charged the GST-inclusive price when you make the purchase, but you can claim that money back when you file your return with the IRD.

What do I need to register?

To register, you’ll need:

  • an IRD number (and a myIR online account)

  • a business industry classification code (which you can get here)

  • your business bank account details

Before you register for GST

During the registration process, you’ll be asked how often you plan to file a GST return, and how you account for GST.

Choosing your filing frequency

There are three options, but they may not all be available to you.

  • Monthly
    Businesses with more than $24 million in yearly turnover must file monthly.

  • Two-monthly
    Most small businesses are expected to file every couple of months.  

  • Six-monthly
    You can drop to twice-a-year returns if your annual turnover is less than $500,000.

Choosing and changing your filing frequency
The IRD will put you on two-monthly filing unless you choose otherwise. You can also change your filing frequency at any time (assuming you qualify for more than one).

Choosing your accounting basis

Accounting basis types

Your accounting basis determines when you owe GST on sales (and when you can claim it on expenses). There are three options, but they may not all be available to you.

  • Payments basis
    You owe GST on a sale when you receive payment from a customer.
  • Invoice basis
    You owe GST on a sale when you raise an invoice or when you get paid, whichever comes first.
  • Hybrid basis
    You follow the invoice basis when working out what GST you owe, and the payments basis when working out what you can claim back. It can get complicated so only a few businesses use the hybrid basis.

Registering for GST online

It’s simple to register for GST yourself and it costs nothing. Just head over to the IRD website. 

Once you’re registered for GST

Once you’ve registered for GST you’ll need to:

  • add GST to your prices

  • issue tax invoices to your customers

  • keep receipts and invoices to claim back GST on business expenses

  • file GST returns with the IRD

  • pay any GST due

Chapter 3: Calculating GST and issuing tax invoices

Working out the amount of GST to add to your goods or services is easier than you think. We’ll show you how to calculate GST and how to add GST to tax invoices.

Read next chapter

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Everything you need to know about GST in New Zealand.

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