New Zealand

Over the past 20 years, New Zealand has transformed into an industrialised, free market economy with a strong emphasis on exports and imports.

Recognised by the World Customs Organisation for having effective border management systems, the customs and border security regime is jointly managed by the New Zealand Customs Service which is charged with ensuring the security of New Zealand’s borders and collecting import related taxes, the Ministry of Primary Industries which seeks to manage and keep out biological risks to New Zealand’s significant agricultural and primary industry sector, and the New Zealand Police, which works closely with New Zealand Customs Service to enforce New Zealand’s border security.

Goods imported into New Zealand are subject to customs duty at a rate that is determined by their tariff code. In addition, most goods are also subject to Goods and Services Tax of 15%, with excise duties imposed on motor spirits, alcohol and tobacco. There are no taxes levied on exports.

New Zealand is a member and signatory part of the following international organisations and agreements relevant to the governance and regulation of import and export transactions:

  • World Trade Organisation
  • World Customs Organisation
  • Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS Convention)
  • ASEAN-Austra-New Zealand Free Trade Area
  • The International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention
  • ATA Carnet system
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species


Our services

The PwC New Zealand Customs and International Trade team work closely with the wider PwC team, both in New Zealand and overseas to tailor effective international trade solutions for clients. Our services include:

Import value

  • Assisting with tariff classification and evaluation of preferential tariff rates and other concessions
  • Related party transactions and impact of royalty payments
  • Transfer pricing adjustments
  • Unbundling of costs to reduce duty impact

Free Trade Agreements

  • Assistance in complying with eligibility requirements to take advantage of duty savings
  • Determination of origin where goods are imported to New Zealand via a third country

Risk Management 

  • Customs audit support and dealing with New Zealand Customs
  • Assistance with customs disputes including representing clients at the Customs Tribunal
  • Reviews and “health checks” to reduce risk of non-compliance with Customs requirements
  • Assistance in drafting customs manuals, internal controls and system reviews

Customs Facilitation Schemes 

  • Deferred Payment Scheme applications
  • Temporary imports (without payment of duty or import GST)
  • Duty drawbacks for exports

Case studies

Obtaining a refund of overpaid customs duty for a manufacturer / distributor of consumer products

We assisted an importer and distributor of consumer products obtain a refund of overpaid customs duty by revisiting the customs valuation of the goods at year end.

How we helped

The customs value of the goods was originally calculated based on the estimated transfer price of the goods upon acquisition from a related party overseas to ensure a fixed profit margin for the New Zealand distributor.

The transfer price was subsequently adjusted at year end. We compared the difference between the customs duty actually paid at the time of importation and the revised customs duty that should have been paid after taking into account the fixed profit margin. This exercise found that the amount of customs duty for the year had been overpaid.

Benefit for the client

We successfully approached New Zealand Customs to obtain a refund of the overpaid customs duty. The outcome for the client was a refund of approximately NZ$200,000 of overpaid duty over two years.

Refund of import GST

The New Zealand team recently assisted an importer and distributor of sporting goods to obtain a refund of import GST dating back to 2005.

How we helped

We undertook a Customs and GST “health check” and identified that GST payable to New Zealand Customs was being incorrectly coded in our client’s accounting system. This means that the “import GST” was not been deducted in the client’s GST return.

We assisted in obtaining a refund from Inland Revenue.

Benefit for the client

A refund of approximately NZ$400,000 in relation to historic periods. Ensuring that import GST payable to New Zealand Customs is promptly refunded by Inland Revenue via the client’s GST returns going forward.

Catherine Francis

Partner, New Zealand, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade


Matthew Minnema

Director, New Zealand, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade


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