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Starting a Business in New Zealand


New Zealand is a safe and stable country with a strong economic outlook and thus appeals to foreign investors. Entrepreneurs and business people who can contribute to the commercial growth are always welcome in New Zealand.


Starting a business in New Zealand is straightforward, but when doing it for the first time certain things might feel new and unfamiliar. Here is an introduction to help you start a business in New Zealand:


Select a name for your business:  In New Zealand, sole traders and partnerships are allowed to use any business name they choose because, unless you are forming a company, no central register for business names exist; however, it is better to choose a business name that isn't already in use by some other company or business to avoid unnecessary confusion. You can know about existing names by going through the Companies Register and New Zealand Trading Names. You can also do a trademark search for free on the web site of Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).


When you operate as a sole trader or a partnership, someone else can use the same business name and there isn't much you can do to prevent it. However, after your name is registered through Intellectual Property Office, you get a better legal protection for your trade name and trademark.


Go through the Basics: This deals with opening bank accounts, loans, getting a tax agent for yourself, and learning about goods and services tax (whether you need to register or not).


Tax obligations: Before you decide whether you want to work as a sole trader, partnership or company, you must understand the tax requirements for each type.


You must consider the structure that you want to follow so that you can claim the correct business deductions and expenses that you are entitled to. Doing this will also help you understand the records and forms you'll need to maintain and whether you need to register as an employer or for GST.


Register the company online: All limited liability companies have to be registered with the Companies Office. First, you need to apply and get your company incorporated. This can be done inexpensively online (NZ$ 160). You can also apply for a company IRD number and register for GST simultaneously. You can also create a constitution for your business.


Have a shareholder's agreement: A shareholder's agreement proves helpful in running a private company. It'll provide clarity in methods related to raising finances and business successions. Not having a shareholder's agreement can result in disputes about funding and running of a mid-sized company.


Prepare a legal checklist: Hire a lawyer to assist you with all the legal dealings. You must comply with all the legal requirements of setting up a business in New Zealand. Doing this will help you finance your business plan, employ people and protect your business ideas.


Innovation is highly valued in New Zealand. The government offers full support to entrepreneurs. If you are planning to start a business in New Zealand, there are a number of places where you can get advice regarding employment law, planning, financing, grants and mentoring.

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