Income Tax Act 2007, s CW41
It’s not necessary to apply to Inland Revenue to obtain tax exempt status. The Charities Services section of the Department of Internal Affairs automatically notifies Inland Revenue when a group has registered with them and when a group has de-registered. A charity only needs to contact Inland Revenue for other tax matters such as GST or PAYE.
A group can also apply directly with Inland Revenue for donee status without registering with Charities Services (visit www.ird.govt.nz). To be eligible for donee status, an organisation’s purpose must either be charitable, benevolent, philanthropic or cultural. The funds of the organisation must apply mainly in New Zealand and Inland Revenue will consider who will benefit from the funds.
Donee status is wider than charitable purpose. However, Inland Revenue will consider whether the organisation has charitable status, or if they have applied to and been turned down by Charities Services. IRD and Charities Services work closely together.