Company registration

How do I legally incorporate my company?

Company registration

The process for incorporating a company in New Zealand is fairly straightforward and done completely online.

You must reserve a company name before applying to incorporate your company. Here are the steps to reserve your company name:

  • Check the name is available by searching the Companies Register 
  • Apply for your name
  • Your request will be processed in 2 hours (during working days).  Also, the name must be used to incorporate a company within 20 working days.

Then you must register an account to use the Companies Office  website. You can set up a new Companies Office account or re-activate your previous account. Below is an outline of the information categories you will be required to enter online, including payment of the NZ$153.33.

Address. Mandatory addresses a company must have:

  • a registered office
  • an address for service
  • an address for communication

Director. Every incorporated company must have at least one director. For each director you need to provide their full legal name and residential address.  You also need to advise whether they are a New Zealand resident. A person cannot be a director of a company if they are:

  • under 18 years of age
  • an undischarged bankruptcy
  • otherwise prohibited from directing, promoting, participating in the management of a company under any statutory provisions.

Shares & shareholders. Each company (other than a sole trader) must have at least one share and one shareholder. First you will need to provide details for each shareholder - for example, their full name and address. Other details will depend on the type of shareholders your company will have.  If one or more of the shareholders are also directors you can choose them from the list of available directors. Otherwise, you can choose to add another person or entity as a shareholder.
You need to provide the following information regarding shareholders:

  • The full name and address of each shareholder.
  • The total number of shares for the company.
  • The number of shares held by each shareholder (share allocation).

Constitution (optional). You can incorporate a company in New Zealand with or without a constitution.  A constitution essentially sets out the rights, powers and duties of:

  • the company
  • the board
  • each director and
  • each shareholder.

Tax registration (recommended). You can apply for a company Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number and register for Good and Services Tax (GST) when you incorporate your company online with the Companies Office. Once the incorporation process is complete, you will will be sent the company's certificate of incorporation and tax details at the same time.

Business industry code (BIC). The primary activity of a business is classified using a Business Industry Description and a corresponding Business Industry Code (BIC).

IRD registration. You will be required to enter several pieces of information to apply for a company IRD number.

GST registration. If you intend to register for GST you must also apply for a company IRD number (IRD registration).

Registered Inland Revenue Tax Agents (optional).  This option is for Tax Agents completing the application on behalf of a client.

Inland Revenue nominee details (optional). A director is able to nominate another person to act on behalf of the company when dealing with Inland Revenue.

Payment. To submit your application to incorporate your company you must pay the application fee of NZ$153.33. You can pay this fee either by charging it to your direct debit account, credit card, or debit card.

You can also follow instructions in this demonstration video . Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about starting a company . Follow the link for complete information about incorporating your company .

Further reading

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