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Update on change in depreciation rates for used motor vehicles

08.09am 21 February 2020

The depreciation rates applied by Customs for the valuation of used vehicles which have been owned and used overseas by importers is going to change.

This change is that from 1 March 2020, Customs will follow the straight line rate used by Inland Revenue where depreciation is applicable when valuing imported used vehicles.

As a result of advertising this change a submission was received advising that a number of importers would be adversely affected by the change. These importers include those that have pre-purchased vehicles overseas under a “Tourist Delivery” scheme, whereby they can buy vehicles on a VAT free basis subject to the vehicles being owned and used overseas prior to export within a given period (normally a year).

To assist such importers it has been decided that importers who can supply proof that the vehicles were purchased prior to 1 March 2020, and that the vehicles are imported into New Zealand prior to 1 March 2021, will be allowed to use the old depreciation rates for Customs purposes.

This includes importers who have made a deposit on a vehicle.

To use the old rate, importers must:

  • provide proof that they have a signed “contract of sale” to purchase before 1 March 2020; and
  • the vehicle must be imported into New Zealand prior to 1 March 2021.

Correction: the original email address for further information was modified on 17 September 2020.

If you have a query about the depreciation of imported motor vehicles, please contact

For queries specifically related to the change in the rate of depreciation, please contact

This information has now been superceded, visit the Vehicles, Boats and Planes webpage for up-to-date information.