What is a NZBN (New Zealand Business Number)?

6 December, 2021 | Kristal Rogers

A NZBN or New Zealand Business Number, is a unique identifier for your business.  A NZBN is used to identify your business as a legitimate business in New Zealand, it also makes things easier in terms of details when transacting with suppliers and/or clients.

Who qualifies for a NZBN?

A New Zealand Business Number is globally recognised and is available to all businesses in New Zealand regardless of what kind of business structure you use e.g., whether you’re a sole trader or a larger company. Some business structures, for example a limited liability company, are given a New Zealand Business Number automatically upon incorporation, however, if you are a sole trader, self-employed, in a partnership or trust, you will need to sign up for one.

Why have a NZBN?

New Zealand Business Numbers will save you time and money by making the process of updating details, exchanging details and completing certain business-related forms easier.

How to apply for an NZBN

To get an New Zealand Business Number you will need to apply to www.nzbn.govt.nz — registered companies are also able to find their automatically-created NZBN there too. Firstly, the applicant will need to know the business structure they are applying on behalf of, a sole trader, self-employed, partnership or a trust.

Applying as a sole trader

For a sole trader or if you’re self-employed you will need your IRD number and proof of identity. Someone other than the business owner is able to apply on behalf of a business if they have the proper authority, for example, people such as the business bookkeeper or accountant etc.

For instant verification of your identity, it is helpful to use the same identification name as used in the application, if you chose not to it will take up to 3 days for verification to be processed. If you’re applying with a New Zealand birth certificate, New Zealand citizenship certificate or an overseas passport, verification will also take up to 3 days.

Once verification is completed you will need to create a RealMe account or log into an already existing Real Me account (read more about RealMe here). Once logged in or the account has been created, the applicant will be prompted to choose which type of account they wish to set up, an Individual Account, or an Organisation Account and then asked to fill in a page of individual details to then create the account.

Applying as a partnership

If the applicant is running a partnership the same steps apply, although the applicant must have proof of the partnership such as partner details and either a copy of the partnership agreement or minutes from the partnership meeting. If the applicant does not have this information a letter to the NZBN registrar may be acceptable.

Applying as a trust

If the applicant is operating a trust the same steps apply although they will need to provide proof of the trust, this includes trustee details and proof of the trustee status, the applicant will be asked to upload a copy of the trust deed which contains the names of all the current trustees, if the trust deed does not list all the trustees’ names then the applicant will need to upload a document that lists the current trustees with their signatures.

How long does it take to get an NZBN?

The processing time for applications for a New Zealand Business Number can vary. Some applications can be instantly approved but others may take more time for reviewing. This reviewing time may take up to 3 working days, applicants are able to keep up to date with their application status online at any time.

For assistance with applying for an NZBN or any type of commercial law assistance for your business, contact expert small business lawyer,  Kristal Rogers, to set up an appointment by emailing kristal.rogers@smithpartners.co.nz or phoning +64 9 837 6896

Do you need assistance applying for an NZBN?
Contact our Commercial Law experts today to set up an appointment.

email Kristal
+64 9 837 6896

About the author

Kristal is a commercial lawyer, who specialises in providing practical advice to small to medium sized business. Kristal assists clients with buying and selling businesses, commercial property, contract drafting and advice, and intellectual property. Kristal’s previous career before the law
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