NZ-Australia DTA One Step Closer

February 18, 2010 International TaxationNew Zealand Taxation

United Future AnnouncementThe upcoming Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between New Zealand and Australia has taken one step towards to coming into effect after a Governmental signing of an Order of Council for the document.

The New Zealand Government has begun to incorporate the DTA into the country’s law system through a signing of an Order in Council on February 17th, according to Peter Dunne, New Zealand Revenue Minister. Once the legal incorporation is complete for both nations the DTA will come into full effect. Australia is yet to commence their respective ratification process. Changes within the DTA are expected to begin in late 2010, two months after the expected conclusion of both countries’ ratification process.

The DTA which was a product of more than a year’s worth of negotiations was signed on June 29th 2009. The main features of the agreement are superannuation portability and several lowered withholding tax rates. On royalties the withholding rate levy will be cut by half to a level of 5 percent. The rate on interest will be lowered to 0 percent for all financial institutions, and remain at 10 percent for all other firms. Dividend payments will be categorized into one of three rates, ranging from 0 percent to the current 15 percent, differentiated by shareholding levels. Further, tax-exempt pension payments from either country will be regarded as tax-free in the corresponding nation.

At the Order of Council announcement, Peter Dunne described the DTA as a recognition and update of the already close business relationship between New Zealand and Australia. He continued on and said, “I expect the new DTA to bring significant benefits to New Zealand and improve certainty for trans-Tasman business.”

Photo by nznationalparty