Christchurch: CBD – (03) 379 7690 | Ferrymead – (03) 940 2435 | Hornby – (03) 349 5111

IRD Tax Law

Our Inland Revenue Department (IRD) New Zealand tax specialist has extensive experience covering all aspects of NZ tax law and NZ tax advice.

Our dedicated NZ tax specialists have the ability to assist you with income tax, capital gains tax, PAYE and all your IRD NZ tax requirements.  We can provide specialist tax advisory services including: personal tax advice, business tax advice and trust-related tax issues.  We strive for solutions that are not only innovative and flexible but also commercially effective in achieving your goals.

While we work on all things tax related, we have a particular interest in Immigration Tax /International Tax, Property Tax/Land Taxes and all things relating to IRD investigations and tax audits.

Immigration Tax Advisor /International Tax Advisor

Are you coming to, or leaving, New Zealand?

People often migrate to New Zealand to join family members or simply to enjoy a change in lifestyle.  What can be overlooked are the financial and tax aspects of such a move.

Julia has 10 years’ experience providing specialist tax advice and services to migrant taxpayers with New Zealand and overseas tax obligations, employers who are moving people into, or out of, New Zealand, and professional advisors seeking specialist advice on behalf of migrating clients.

Migrants moving to New Zealand will usually retain overseas financial assets and investments and will need advice regarding how New Zealand tax laws apply to these, and how they might utilise New Zealand tax laws to best structure their affairs after their move.

Companies looking to expand into New Zealand or offshore will need to understand how best to structure any new venture in order to remain fully compliant and to maximise any tax (or other) benefits available to them under the applicable laws.

We work closely with other professional advisors, such as other lawyers, accountants, financial planners or immigration consultants to make sure our clients receive the best possible all-encompassing advice.

While we are a full service law firm and can offer immigration and legal support at the same time we provide the tax advice, we are also happy to work in with other advisors such as accountants, financial advisors, bankers and other professionals.  In these areas, it is critical to ensure you get the best possible advice in order to maximise any benefits available under New Zealand law.

Read Julia’s articles covering various aspects of international tax here or contact us today for more information on how we can make your move to or from New Zealand easier.

Property Tax Lawyers / Land Tax Lawyers

While New Zealand doesn’t have a comprehensive capital gains tax, the sale of land is one area which has specific capital gains tax laws.

Most people are aware of the “bright-line test” which will tax properties purchased and sold within certain periods of time.  However, there is an entire body of tax law which was enacted to tax a wide range of other transactions involving the sale of land.  GST on the sale of properties is also a highly complicated area of law, and contribute to many professional indemnity insurance claims for conveyancing lawyers, hence the need for specialist tax advice.

Inland Revenue has a “property compliance team” which is dedicated to investigating whether the correct tax (both GST and income tax) has been paid in relation to land and property transactions.  With the new requirement to provide an IRD number at settlement, IRD knows about every property transaction in New Zealand.

These are all very common transactions, but if not dealt with correctly, can have very nasty tax consequences.  Our New Zealand tax expert is able to assist you with specialist tax advice in relation to all aspects relating to the sale of land.  Julia has extensive experience working with large corporate property groups, developers, construction companies, property investors and individuals to ensure this complex area of tax law is dealt with correctly and tax efficiently.  For more information see Julia’s articles covering various aspects of land tax here or contact us to find out how we can help you.

IRD Investigations and Tax Audits Advisors

IRD has teams across the country whose job it is to investigate taxpayers’ affairs and confirm they are compliant with their tax obligations.   These reviews are known as risk reviews, investigations and audits.  Dealing with IRD during these reviews can be time-consuming and stressful.  Our specialist tax lawyer does this on a daily basis and takes the stress out of the situation for you.  The investigations are very process- driven.  Our intricate knowledge of the IRD’s policies and procedures assist us to assist you.  It is our aim to clear up any issues with IRD as soon as possible in order for them to finalise their investigation.  A proactive approach is always recommended.  In our experience, the longer a tax investigation drags on, the harder it can be to resolve the issues.  As tax lawyers we also benefit from Legal professional privilege which is only available to lawyers.  For more information download our information sheet above “a Guide to Disputes with IRD” or contact us to discuss your needs.

Download Our Factsheets Here:

Check Your NZ Tax Position NZ Migrant Tax Traps Factsheet NZ Tax Overview Factsheet A Guide to Disputes with IRD


Our Tax Services Include:

  • Assisting accountants and other professional advisors with tax issues
  • Tax opinions and interpretation of tax law
  • International tax issues
  • Tax advice and structuring for migrants and expats
  • GST advice
  • Property tax advice and structuring
  • Assistance when negotiating with IRD
  • Representation throughout IRD risk reviews and tax audits
  • Negotiating instalment arrangements for the payment of tax to IRD
  • Negotiating remission of penalties and interest with IRD
  • Presenting tax based trainings

Examples of our recent work

  • Assisting expats with their New Zealand tax residency obligations post-leaving New Zealand to ensure they are not paying additional tax in New Zealand.
  • Assisting new migrants with the structuring of their assets to ensure tax efficiency
  • Assisting with the structuring of investor migrant’s affairs to ensure foreign companies do not become subject to New Zealand tax.
  • Advising on the GST implications of property purchases and appropriate structuring.
  • Advising on the land tax rules in relation to the sale of property.
  • Negotiating instalment arrangements with Inland Revenue.
  • Advising a tech firm on the tax considerations when expanding overseas.

Get further advice from

Julia Johnston

Senior Associate

Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1469
Mobile: 022 513 2160
Office: CBD

I lead the tax team at Saunders & Co, providing businesses and individuals with a full range of tax services.

After finishing top of advanced tax at the University of Canterbury in 2008, I completed my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Bachelor of Laws and started my career in the tax team at a large international accounting firm in 2009. I then spent some time working in a large corporate recovery team, which provided me with the commercial experience to support my tax work.

In 2012, I moved to work within a nationally recognised tax advisory law firm where I advised individuals, corporates, trusts and other professional advisors, and assisted with all areas of tax law. During this time, I assisted multiple clients through the IRD audit and dispute resolution process, as well as negotiated settlements and requests for remission with IRD. I regularly advised on the tax implications of land transactions and I also further developed my passion for migrant tax issues, advising both inbound and outbound residents on their New Zealand tax obligations.

In 2017, I moved to be a manager in the tax team with a “big 4” international accounting firm where I provided tax services to a wide range of businesses of various sizes, as well as individuals and other professional advisors. I worked on a wide range of issues including GST, land tax, and Inland Revenue risk reviews and tax audits. I was also able to focus more on my passion for migrant tax issues as the leader of the Christchurch based team.

I joined Saunders & Co in late 2018, where I assist clients and their advisors with all of their tax advisory requirements. I spend a lot of time working with our immigration team, advising migrants and employers of migrants, of their tax obligations in the complex area of international tax. I enjoy assisting new migrants and corporates to structure their affairs, and ensure they are compliant with the New Zealand tax laws, without paying more tax than they need to. This provides me with a solid background into my client’s affairs which enables me to continue to advise on the many other areas of tax laws once they are established in New Zealand. This enables my client to have continuity of care, no matter what the tax issue might be.

I pride myself in my ability to work with my client’s current advisory team when assisting with all tax work. While I can work independently, where you have an active advisor with background knowledge of your affairs it is my preference to work with them. I strongly believe that a collaborative approach between advisor and tax specialist can lead to a quicker and more favourable outcome.

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What My Clients Say

“Julia Johnston has been great to deal with. She was very professional and explained everything clearly – both in person and via email.” Oct 2019

Catherine and Josh

“Julia Johnston’s empathy for our situation, coupled with her sound subject knowledge and passion for what she does, was priceless… this made all the difference to us.” Dec 2019

Janice Wickes

“Julia Johnston, thanks, I really appreciate everything you have done for me. I don’t believe I would be trading today without you.” Sep 2019

Name withheld for commercial reasons


CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

Ferrymead: Unit 2, 987 Ferry Road, Christchurch, NZ

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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