GST changes to NZ imports – what you need to know

GST Changes for NZ Imports November 19 November 19 (1)

If you’re shipping low-value goods to customers in New Zealand, you’ll need to know about changes to GST on imported goods. The new GST rules come into effect on 1 December 2019.


What you need to know

From 1 December 2019, new goods and services tax (GST) rules will come into effect.

Overseas businesses that sell low-value goods to consumers in New Zealand may need to register for, collect, and return GST of 15%.

Before 1 December 2019, New Zealand Customs will continue to collect GST and tariff duty at the border on goods brought from overseas when the amount due is more than $60. This excludes most alcohol and tobacco products.

What’s a low-value good?

A low-value good is a physical good valued at NZ$1,000 or less (excluding GST). Examples of low-value goods may include books, clothing, cosmetics, shoes, sporting items and small electronic items.

Goods imported into New Zealand valued over NZ$1,000 will continue to have GST and customs duties applied at the border. Note that you can collect the GST directly on goods greater than NZ$1000 to save customs collecting it. If you populate the NZ IRD number in Starshipit (DHL Express settings), we’re assuming you collect GST on all goods (not just NZ$1000 or below), and the customs document will reflect this.

Who is affected by the changes?

These changes apply to:

  • Overseas businesses that sell directly to New Zealand consumers online, by phone or mail order
  • Online marketplaces other people or businesses sell items through

If the value of goods sold to New Zealand customers exceeds NZ$60,000 over a 12-month period, you’ll need to register for, collect, and return New Zealand GST on those sales.

The GST charged at the point of sale is based on the customs value of the goods plus any shipping and insurance charges.

If the changes apply to your business, the legislation requires overseas businesses to:

  1. Update their business systems so they can collect and return GST.
  2. Register for GST in New Zealand, and collect GST on each good valued at NZ$1,000 or less that is sold to customers and delivered to addresses in New Zealand.

Are there exceptions?

These changes do not apply to:

  • Supplies of fine metal
  • Alcohol and tobacco products – GST, excise taxes and customs
    duties are applied at the border regardless of value.

Low-value goods sold to GST-registered New Zealand businesses (for use in their business) are also generally excluded.

What do the changes mean for Starshipit users?

If you ship internationally to New Zealand, you’ll need to make sure you comply with the new GST rules.

DHL Express is compliant with this change and Starshipit has been updated to support this. If you ship with DHL Express and the new GST changes apply to you, see our support article.

Australia Post has announced that their customs declaration forms (CN22 or CN23 labels) don’t need to include any additional information, as the postal channel is not required to make changes to labels at this time.

New Zealand Post has announced that you aren’t required to display your IRD number on your shipping label. This must be included in, and be captured as part of your electronic manifest for clearance. If you have any questions around how this applies to you, please speak with your New Zealand Post account manager.

As of 29 November 2019, the following international courier’s that ship from overseas to New Zealand haven’t implemented changes in response to the new legislation: Deutsche Post, DHL eCommerce Asia Pacific, DHL Parcel Europe, DHL Parcel UK, DPD Local, DPD NL, DPD UK, Fastway, Quantium Solutions, Royal Mail, Seko, or Singapore Post.


Visit the New Zealand IRD website for more information on Changes to GST on low-value imported goods and How to calculate GST on goods.