Gift Duty Abolition: Not As Straightforward As It Seems (17 March 2011) (New Zealand)


Last year the Government announced that it proposed to abolish gift duty from 1 October 2011. The abolition proposal was included in a bill introduced to Parliament in early December last year.


The abolition of gift duty will have far-reaching consequences for the many New Zealanders who have established trusts. The law change will provide an opportunity to consider existing structures and assess how gifting can be utilised as part of an overall estate planning exercise. We recommend that careful consideration be given to any decisions relating to gifting, including taking independent advice before existing debt balances are forgiven.


The bill as introduced is very simple but the change will have ramifications in other areas of law, for example relationship property, creditor protection, insolvency and inheritance law. It is anticipated that the Parliamentary select committee will receive a number of submissions on the proposed abolition. Until the legislation is passed, planned for July 2011, no steps should be taken to fast track gifting programmes or make any decisions in anticipation.

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