General information - types of securities, deadlines, other market specifics - New Zealand

06.03.2015

This Market Taxation Guide (New Zealand) provides the following details:

  • Reference information about all taxes applied at source, through Clearstream Banking and its local depositories, to securities deposited in Clearstream Banking; and
  • Instructions for obtaining immediate, quick or standard refund of withholding tax, where these are available, through Clearstream Banking.

New and improved tax information and procedures that become available will be included on an ongoing basis.

Important note:

This Market Taxation Guide (including any attachments and other links) is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered to be legal advice on any subject matter. Readers of this Market Taxation Guide, whether customers or otherwise, should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in this Market Taxation Guide without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Types of securities eligible in Clearstream Banking

The Clearstream eligible securities issued in New Zealand are as follows:

Debt securities:

Issuers of government debt securities and certain corporate debt securities can, if the security satisfies certain conditions, elect to pay an Approved Issuer Levy instead of withholding tax. As a consequence, New Zealand debt securities are classified as follows:

  • Standard debt securities subject the Non-Resident Withholding Tax regime (NRWT): all debt securities that are not enrolled in the Approved Issuer Levy regime.
  • Debt securities that are enrolled in the Approved Issuer Levy regime:
    • Government debt securities;
    • Corporate debt securities;
    • “Qualified” corporate debt securities.

Equities:

  • Equities and equity-related instruments.

Approved Issuer Levy regime

The Approved Issuer Levy regime relates to New Zealand debt securities only and applies if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The interest is paid by an “Approved Issuer” (for example, the New Zealand government).
  • The Approved Issuer has registered the issue, or class of issue, with the Commissioner of the New Zealand Inland Revenue. The majority of debt securities fall into this category and all government debt securities are so registered.
  • The Approved Issuer has agreed to pay the 2% levy on behalf of non-residents without requiring reimbursement. The New Zealand government always agrees to pay the levy.
  • The beneficial owner is a non-resident of New Zealand and has elected to apply for the Approved Issuer Levy regime by submitting to Clearstream Banking the appropriate statement (One-Time Certification for New Zealand Government Debt Securities and other New Zealand Domestic Securities governed by the Approved Issuer Levy Regime).

If all of the above conditions are satisfied, interest paid on the securities will be exempt from withholding tax and the Approved Issuer Levy regime will apply instead.

Note:Approved Issuer Levy is a duty, not a withholding tax, and, accordingly, may not be offset against income tax by beneficial owners in some countries.

Approved Issuer Levy rates are as follows:

  • 0% if the registered security is a government debt security or a “qualified” corporate debt security meeting certain conditions; or
  • 2% for other registered corporate debt securities.

If the security does not satisfy these conditions or if the One-Time Certification for New Zealand Government Debt Securities and other New Zealand Domestic Securities governed by the Approved Issuer Levy Regime is not received by Clearstream Banking before its stated deadline, the issue will be considered as a “standard debt security” and the interest payment will be subject to the standard Non-Resident Withholding Tax (NRWT) rate for debt securities not covered by the Approved Issuer Levy regime.

"Qualified" corporate debt securities under the Approved Issuer Levy regime

To be considered a "qualified" corporate debt security, the security must:

  • Comply with existing Approved Issuer Levy registration requirements;
  • Be denominated in New Zealand Dollars (NZD);
  • Have been offered to the public for the purposes of the Securities Act 1978;
  • Not have been issued as a private placement;
  • Not be an asset-backed security (ABS);
  • Have its registry and paying agent activities conducted through one or more fixed establishments in New Zealand;
  • Be listed on an exchange registered under the Securities Market Act 1988.

The security must also satisfy the conditions of a widely held test before or at the time of the payment of interest, as follows:

  • The group of persons who each hold the security consists of 100 or more persons and the issuer has reasonable grounds to expect that each of the shareholders in the group of 100 persons is not associated with the other shareholders.
  • The security is one of a number of identical debt securities (the class of securities) that are registered securities.
  • No person or group of associated persons holds more than 10% by value of the class of securities.

Types of beneficial owner

The types of eligible beneficial owner recognised for tax purposes in New Zealand vary according to security type, as follows:

For debt securities:

  • Residents of Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) countries;
  • Tax-exempt beneficial owners;
  • Non-residents requesting the Approved Issuer Levy regime.

For equities:

  • Residents of DTT countries;
  • Tax-exempt beneficial owners.

Holding restriction

New Zealand securities may not be held in Clearstream Banking on behalf of beneficial owners that are New Zealand residents for tax purposes.

Customers are responsible for ensuring compliance with this restriction.

Statutory deadline for reclaiming withholding tax

The statutory deadline for reclaiming withholding tax using the standard refund procedure is generally four years after the end of the tax year (1 April-31 March) in which the income payment was made.

However, Clearstream Banking's depository will apply extra charges for any refund application received after the 5th business day before the 20th calendar day of the month following the month of deduction.

Clearstream deadline for standard refund applications

The deadline by which Clearstream Banking must receive the documentation for a standard refund application is, at the latest, two months before the statutory deadline.

Clearstream Banking will process all standard refund applications received after this deadline on a "best efforts" basis and, in such cases, will apply an extra charge. Clearstream Banking accepts no responsibility for forms that have not reached the New Zealand Tax Authorities by the date considered as being the statute of limitations deadline.

When are refunds received?

The estimated time for receiving a refund from a standard refund application is generally within three months from the date of receipt by the New Zealand Tax Authorities, although this can vary depending on when the application is filed and the complexity of the information supplied in the reclaim form.

Fees charged for a tax reclaim

In addition to the standard custody fees charged by Clearstream Banking (as detailed in the Clearstream Banking Fee Schedule), the New Zealand Central Securities Depository (NZCSD) charges fees that vary for each reclaim application according to when it was submitted.

Notes on tax reclaims

Customers warrant the completeness and accuracy of the information they supply to Clearstream Banking.

It is the customer's responsibility to determine any entitlement to a refund of tax withheld, to complete the required forms correctly and to calculate the amount due. Clearstream Banking is under no obligation to carry out any investigation in respect of such information.

With respect to tax reclaims in general, customers are reminded that Clearstream Banking accepts no responsibility for their acceptance or non-acceptance by the tax authorities of the respective country.