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Storing business records

Customs-related business records can be stored outside New Zealand.

You may store your Customs-related business records (electronic and paper) outside New Zealand, including in the cloud, if:

  • Customs authorises you to do so
  • you use a third party storage provider (PDF 76 KB) who is authorised by Customs for storage outside New Zealand. 

This service is intended to enable New Zealand businesses to use modern business practices, while maintaining compliance with Customs legislation. Customs-related business records must be stored for seven years.

Getting authorisation

To apply for authorisation to store business records outside New Zealand you must complete NZCS 254: Application to store business records outside New Zealand (DOC 275 KB).

If you record on the application form that you are currently authorised by the Inland Revenue Department to store tax-related records outside of New Zealand, then this will speed up your authorisation.

Authorisation may be amended or withdrawn - for example, if there is a change in your circumstances or that of your third party storage provider, or there are instances of non-compliance.

Authorisation is not needed if you:

  • retain backup business records in New Zealand
  • store a backup of records held in New Zealand, outside New Zealand
  • are using an authorised third party storage provider to store their records.

Customs access to your records

You must make your Customs-related records available to Customs on request, regardless of where they are stored. Records must be provided to Customs within a reasonable timeframe, in a usable format, and at no cost to Customs. You must also answer any questions about the records, if required.

Customs considers that a reasonable timeframe for accessing records stored outside New Zealand is within:

  • 24 hours for a transaction less than three months old
  • five days for a transaction which occurred three months ago or more.

You must be able to provide Customs with access to your records in the event that a contractual relationship ends, or a third party ceases to operate.  Failure to provide access to your records when required is an offence under the Customs and Excise Act.

Electronic records

Electronic records must meet the requirements of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 including that:

  • the integrity of the information is maintained
  • the information is readily accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference.

Further information:

You can read Customs operational policy about the storage of business records outside New Zealand.