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Frequently Asked Questions


What happens if I can’t pay my duty on time?

Customs may allow a duty-payer to enter into a payment plan for those unable to pay their duty on time in the short-term.

What changes with the new Regulations?

The Regulations extend previous COVID-19-related Regulations that were in place from 25 March 2020, for a further two years to 25 March 2024. If you agree to a payment plan with Customs as your ability to pay your duty on time has been significantly adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, the interest and late payment penalties that would normally apply will be remitted or refunded.

The Regulations also allow for the remission or refund of interest or penalties if you are a duty payer whose ability to pay duty is (or was) affected by the effects of the reduction in excise duty or excise-equivalent duty rates relating to motor spirits that came into effect on 15 March 2022, and the payment date for the duty relates to fuel stocks held in New Zealand immediately before the close of 14 March 2022, the interest and late payment penalties that would normally apply will be remitted or refunded.

If I already have a payment plan can I get this support?

If you have already agreed on a payment plan with Customs as your ability to pay you duty on time has been significantly affected by COVID-19, then Customs will automatically apply the new Regulations to your payment plan.

How long will this support last?

Regarding duty payers significantly adversely affected by COVID-19, the support applies to duty payments due between 25 March 2022 and 25 March 2024. However, the duration of a payment plan depends on the hardship being suffered by the duty payer and would be negotiated with Customs.

Regarding duty payers affected by the recent reduction in duty on motor spirits, the support applies to duty payments due on stock on hand when the duty rate reduction came into effect on 15 March 2022. The duration of a payment plan depends on the hardship being suffered by the duty payer and would be negotiated with Customs.

How do I organise the support?

If you think you might have a problem paying your duty on time contact Customs ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. Generally, if a duty payer contacts Customs within seven days after the due date for the duty payment this will be accepted as meeting the ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ criteria. Customs may request supporting evidence if a duty payer notifies Customs more than seven days after the due date.

When will Customs remit the interest and penalties?

The interest and late payment penalties continue to accrue for those who enter into a payment plan with Customs but you will not be billed. When the duty is paid in full, Customs will remit the interest and penalties, subject to compliance with the payment plan, and advise the duty payer accordingly.

What happens if I don’t make my payments?

If you do not make your instalment payments on time you may be liable to pay interest and penalties.

Why are these changes being made?

The new Regulations support duty payers to more easily manage cash flows and pay core duty. Those that negotiate a payment plan with Customs due to reduced cash flows caused by COVID-19 or the reduction in fuel excise will not be penalised if they are unable to pay their duty on time. The core duty still needs to be paid as agreed with Customs.

How do I contact Customs?

Duty payers whose ability to pay duty on time has been significantly affected by COVID-19 or the reduction in fuel excise on 15 March 2022 and who do not have a payment plan, should contact revenue@customs.govt.nz to discuss payment options. When you contact Customs please quote your client code as reference.