How to file an annual return

Updating your company details each year

An annual return is not a financial document — it's a record of publicly available information about your company that appears on the Companies Register. That information, which includes your address and details of directors and shareholders, must be updated each year through an annual return.

Get an extract of your current information

Before filing your annual return, you may find it useful to review a copy of your current information by downloading an annual return extract.

To do this, log in to your online services account, enter a company name, company number or New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) and follow these steps. 

  1. On the 'Company details' screen select 'My tools'.
  2. Select 'Annual return extract'.
  3. When the 'Document Preview' screen opens, select how you want to receive the extract.
    • View document — open and print a PDF file, or save a copy to your computer.
    • Email the annual return extract — select the check box, and enter and confirm your email address to receive an electronic copy of the extract.

How to file an annual return

To file an annual return, you must have:

  • a RealMe® login
  • an online services account with the Companies Register
  • authority to act for your company.

There are a couple of ways to file your company's annual return. You can either:

  1. select the link in the email or text message reminder we send you, or
  2. log in to your online services account, enter a company name, company number or New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) and select 'File annual return'.
File an annual return

The information you need to confirm or update

There are 6 steps to complete when filing an annual return.

1. Company addresses

If each of the listed addresses is still current, select 'Confirm as correct'.

If not, select 'Edit address details' to update your company's:

  • registered office address
  • address for service — an address for physically receiving documents, and
  • address for communication — the address we use to contact you.

2. Ultimate holding company

Confirm whether or not your company has an ultimate holding company (UHC).

If you answer 'Yes', tell us what date the change took effect, and what type of company or entity the UHC is.

If your UHC is a company registered in New Zealand, enter the UHC's name, company number or New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) into the search field and select the company from the search results.

If your UHC is an Other type of entity registered in New Zealand, or a Company or entity registered in another country, enter the:

  • entity type
  • a registered name
  • registration number or ID
  • country of registration, and
  • registered office address.

3. Directors' details

If the full legal name, residential address and appointment date of each company director is still current, select 'Confirm as correct'.

If not select the 'Edit or cease director' link beneath the director whose details have changed. To add a new director, select the 'Add director' button under the current list of directors.

4. Shareholdings

Update or add any new information about:

  • the total number of shares
  • share allocations, and
  • the full legal name and address for each shareholder.

If all of the listed information is up to date, select the 'Confirm as correct' button.

If not, select the 'Edit shareholdings' button under the current list of shareholders and update the information.

Extensive shareholding

If your company has extensive shareholdings, you need to create and upload a separate document listing details of all share allocations and shareholders. This document should also be held as a record on your own share registry. It must include the full legal name and residential address of each shareholder.

To upload the shareholder document, select the 'Choose file' or 'Browse' option next to *List of shareholders at the bottom of the 'Annual Return Information' screen.

5. Annual return information

You have the option to:

  • change your annual return filing month
  • enter the name and delegation of the person authorising the annual return
  • request an additional text SMS reminder when your next return is due.

Change your filing month

Your current filing month is displayed. Select 'Yes' to choose a new filing month from the drop-down menu.

You can't change your filing month to the current month, or the months of December or January.


Provide the name and title of the person who is authorising the annual return. This must be a company director, or a person — for example a solicitor or chartered accountant — authorised to act on behalf of your company.

Enter the authorising person's name and select either 'Director' or 'Authorised Person' from the drop-down menu.

Receive future reminders by email or text SMS

Enter a mobile phone number if you wish to receive text SMS reminders in the month that your annual return is due.

Check that the email address on your online services account is still current. We send reminders to this email address in the month that your annual return is due.

6. Pay the filing fee

The fee for filing an annual return is $49.74 (plus GST). This includes levies of $21.74 for the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and $6 for the External Reporting Board (XRB) and $1 for the Insolvency Practitioners Regime (IP).

  1. Select a payment option from the drop-down menu:
    • credit or debit card — if you've used a credit or debit card for previous online transactions with us, and elected to save your card details,you can use that card.
    • direct debit — if you've already set up a direct debit payment option on your online services account, you can select this payment option.
    • internet banking — if you choose this method you'll be asked to log in to your bank account via a secure Payment Express webpage.
  2. When your payment transaction is complete, select 'Continue'.
  3. Wait until the confirmation of your payment alert appears before closing the window, or using the browser back button.

Reduced fee if you're using our Application Programming Interface (API)

We offer a range of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow customers to build software that connects directly to our systems. The Companies Office portion of the fee for filing an annual return using our API is $18, instead of $21 if you use our online service.

Additional NZBN details you can provide

When you file your annual return, you can also add or update optional details about your company such as trading name or website address.

You can decide which additional details are kept private on the Companies Register and the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) Register by selecting either the ‘public’ or ‘private’ option. There is one exception — the ‘Trading Details’ section — which will automatically be made visible to the public.

Public information can be viewed by anyone who searches the website. Private information can only be seen by authorised persons and the Registrar.

After you've filed your annual return

After filing your annual return, you can update any of the information in your annual return online at any time.

All help topics

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Shares and shareholders 7 guides

When you incorporate, you must provide details of all company shares and shareholders. As changes occur, you must update this information on your own share register and in your company's annual return.

Company directors 7 guides

Directors have responsibilities to their company and shareholders, and under the Companies Act 1993. You must register all your directors with the Companies Office and they must sign a consent form.​

Filing annual returns 8 guides

Find out about filing an annual return — the information you need to update, how to change your filing month or request a time extension — and what happens if you don't file your annual return by the due date.

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