Julia rectangle e1551080700198

Julia Johnston

Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1469
Mobile: 022 513 2160
E-mail: julia.johnston@saunders.co.nz
Office: CBD

I lead the tax team at Saunders & Co and also specialise in relationship property, immigration, and commercial matters.


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 time working in a large corporate recovery team. This combination of law, commerce, and accounting has given me a broad skill base to bring to my clients, whether they are seeking commercial or tax advice. This well-rounded approach is crucial to giving the most accurate and helpful advice possible.


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. There, I assisted in a broad range of cases, from IRD audits to advising on the implications of land transactions. I further developed my passion for migrant tax issues, advising both inbound and outbound residents on their New Zealand tax obligations. This has given me a strong background to bring to my work in immigration law. 


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 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 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 on their tax obligations in the complex area of international tax. 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, be it commercial or otherwise.


I have expanded my skill-set to include relationship property, where I assist clients with contracting-out agreements, separation agreements, property divisions, and the various negotiations and other related aspects of such work. Relationship separations are a distressing time in a client’s life. I take a friendly, supportive approach while focused on reaching a practical solution and aim to simplify and clarify these often complex matters.


I pride myself on working effectively to reach the best outcomes for my client, no matter the area of concern, while making the process as simple and stress-free as possible. 

I specialise in the following areas:

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

27 July 2020

Inland Revenue signals their attention to offshore employers with New Zealand-based employees

With the current global pandemic more and more kiwis are returning home and continuing to work for their offshore employer.

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15 July 2020

Is the Sale of Your Property Subject to Tax?

New Zealanders love property. Buying and selling property in New Zealand is common. What is less commonly known are the tax implications of these transactions. For many years, people have used property as a way to increase their wealth.

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18 September 2019

Inland Revenue to Escalate Investigations into Land Sales

While no comprehensive capital gains tax is being considered in New Zealand at present, there is already a full body of tax law relating to land.

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28 July 2019

You could get caught out by GST when buying a property – even if you are not GST registered

I am frequently asked by clients to assist with the GST implications of a proposed property purchase.

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12 July 2019

Expanding overseas? Make sure you understand the tax implications.

With the world becoming a much smaller place, it is easy for businesses to find themselves trading overseas without too much consideration.

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28 May 2019

GST on Property Transactions – Compulsory Complexity

GST is easy – it’s 15%, 0%, or wrong.   GST is the most common thing that goes wrong in property transactions, due to a widespread lack of understanding by registered parties and professional advisers.

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19 March 2019

Confusion still reigns over Capital Gains

With no comprehensive capital gains tax to be implemented and letters from armchair experts filling the local papers, it is timely to familiarise ourselves with the current laws in relation to capital gains on the sale of land.

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9 March 2019

Don’t get caught with a NZ tax bill while you are living overseas

Are you leaving NZ permanently, or going on an extended overseas trip? Make sure you know your tax obligations and how to ensure you break your tax residency in New Zealand so you are not welcomed back to New Zealand...

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