This is the top of the main content

Sole traders, partnerships and trusts

Use the search bar above to see if you already have an NZBN. If you don’t have an NZBN, you can apply to get one here.

If you’re a sole trader, partnership or trust, you are only eligible to get an NZBN if you are currently in business in New Zealand. A business can be non-profit and can also be carried out free-of-charge.

You’re in business, as defined by the New Zealand Business Number Act 2016(external link), if you acquire or supply goods or services, or acquire or dispose of land (but not if you do this as a consumer, employee, or as an individual member of an unincorporated entity).

How to apply

You can get an NZBN for your own business, or on behalf of a business you have authority to act for (for example, as a business’ accountant or bookkeeper). You’ll need to know the business type.

Sole trader or self-employed? Get your NZBN here

Tip — If you have already started your online application, log in and continue to your saved application.

Getting started? Here’s what you need

You’ll need a couple of items on-hand to complete your application.

1. IRD number

You need the IRD number used by the business – this may be your personal IRD number. We only use the IRD number to check that you haven’t already been allocated an NZBN.

2. Proof of identity

You’ll also need to provide proof of your identity for verification. Once your identity has been verified, an NZBN is allocated and you can start using your NZBN straightaway.

For faster processing of applications

You can use one of our instant verification options, using either:

  • your New Zealand driver licence, or
  • your New Zealand passport.

Important — Please ensure that the name on the application matches the name on the proof of identity you're providing for instant verification.

If you don't have a New Zealand driver licence or passport

We’ll need you to upload details from one of the following identity documents:

  • New Zealand birth certificate
  • New Zealand citizenship certificate
  • overseas passport.

It will take a little longer to review these details, but no more than 3 days. You can check the status of your application at any time.

If you’re not a New Zealand citizen, but are living in New Zealand and running a business here, you may need to provide additional documentation to show you’re able to work in New Zealand.

You’re almost ready to start

Before you do, there are just a couple of things to note:

  • Your first step will be to log in with RealMe® (use an existing login or create one at this point).   
  • Your second step will be to set up a user account, unless you’ve previously logged in or have a user account on the Companies Register (which will be duplicated on the NZBN website).

Please note — Some of our online tasks are best carried out on a desktop computer. If you have any issues completing your application using a mobile device, we recommend trying a desktop computer.

Start your sole trader NZBN application


Running a partnership? Get your NZBN here

Tip — If you have already started your online application, log in and continue to your saved application.

Getting started? Here’s what you need

You’ll need a couple of items on-hand to complete your application.

1. IRD number

You need the IRD number of the partnership. We only use the IRD number to check that your partnership hasn’t already been allocated an NZBN.

2. Proof of partnership

You’ll also need to provide proof of your partnership, in the form of:

  • Partner details – their full names and the date they were appointed partner. You may also be asked to provide a copy of an identity document for one of the partners – either their New Zealand driver licence or passport, or a copy of a similar ‘identity’ document. 
  • Proof of partnership – either a copy of the partnership agreement or minutes from a partnership meeting. If there’s no agreement or minutes, a letter to the NZBN Registrar will be acceptable. You’ll be asked to upload the proof of partnership document. The proof of partnership you provide will need to include the name of the partnership and the full legal names of each of the partners. It must be signed by each partner.

You’re almost ready to start

Before you do, there are just a couple of things to note:

  • Your first step will be to log in with RealMe® (use an existing login or create one at this point).
  • Your second step will be to set up a user account, unless you’ve previously logged in or have a user account on the Companies Register (which will be duplicated on the NZBN website).

Please note — Some of our online tasks are best carried out on a desktop computer. If you have any issues completing your application using a mobile device, we recommend trying a desktop computer.

Start your partnership's NZBN application


Operating a trust? Get your NZBN here

Tip — If you have already started your online application, log in and continue to your saved application.

Getting started? Here's what you need

An NZBN can be issued to the trustee(s) of a trust. If you’re a trustee of more than one trust, you’ll need a separate NZBN for each trust.

You’ll need a couple of items on-hand to complete your application.

1. IRD number

You need the IRD number of the trust. We only use the IRD number to check that your trust hasn’t already been allocated an NZBN.

2. Proof of trust

You’ll need to provide some additional trustee information, in the form of:

  • Trustee details - their full names and the date they were appointed trustee. You may also be asked to provide a copy of an identity document for one of the trustees – either their New Zealand driver licence or passport, or a copy of a similar ‘identity’ document.
  • Proof of trustee status – you’ll be asked to upload a copy of the trust deed. If the trust deed doesn’t contain the names of all current trustees, you’ll need to also upload a document that lists the current trustees. This document must be signed by each trustee.

You’re almost ready to start

Before you do, there are just a couple of things to note:

  • Your first step will be to log in with RealMe® (use an existing login or create one at this point).
  • Your second step will be to set up a user account, unless you’ve previously logged in or have a user account on the Companies Register (which will be duplicated on the NZBN website).

Please note — Some of our online tasks are best carried out on a desktop computer. If you have any issues completing your application using a mobile device, we recommend trying a desktop computer.

Start your trust's NZBN application


Identifying your business type

If you’re not sure what type of business yours is, or you’re setting up a business, have a look at our page - An NZBN for every business.

Some businesses already have an NZBN

Registered companies and many other organisations have already been assigned an NZBN. These are generally organisations already on government registers (including the Companies Register).

See which business types have been assigned NZBNs

Please give us your feedback

Your feedback helps us to ensure we have the most useful information on our website. If you need an answer to a question, please contact us instead.

Back to top