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New Zealand meeting leaders call for end of registration tax

The 15 per cent tax on registration fees is hurting New Zealand’s competitiveness

Pictured: Sue Sullivan

Meetings industry leaders in New Zealand are calling for the abolition of a 15 per cent tax on conference registration fees which, they say, is damaging the country’s competitiveness.

The industry association for New Zealand, Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ), is seeking the removal of the GST (Goods and Services Tax), which is added to registration fees, regardless of whether the delegates are residents or non-residents. This, the groups argues, is putting New Zealand conferences at a GST disadvantage compared to Australia, in particular.

Speaking at the annual business events showcase MEETINGS 2018 in Auckland, CINZ chief executive Sue Sullivan said discussions with Inland Revenue were ongoing. 

“This will have wider economic consequences if New Zealand cannot provide a workable and straightforward scheme for GST refunds to overseas businesses attending conferences in New Zealand,” she said. “New Zealand needs to be competitive on the world stage. Australia now has an edge on us in a number of ways including zero-rated GST for international delegates, state bureaux funding in various forms for conference bid support, and the recent Federal Government announcement of a AUS$12m Bid Fund Program over three years.”

Allan Bullot, Tax Partner with Deloitte has been liaising with Inland Revenue on behalf of CINZ to look at a proposed solution to the GST disadvantage New Zealand faces.

He said: “While opportunities exist for non-resident businesses sending staff to New Zealand to attend conferences to technically claim GST refunds, in practice it is difficult, if not impossible, to recover the GST on New Zealand conference costs. The 2014 GST legislative changes have in practice not been effective for the New Zealand conference industry and the GST problem has remained.”

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