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DET 09/04
28 Oct 2009

Eligible relocation expenses

Determination DET 09/04 applies to relocation expenses incurred in the 2002-2003 and subsequent income years and includes a list of eligible relocation expenses.

Eligible relocation expenses

This determination is made pursuant to section 91AAR of the Tax Administration Act 1994. It may be cited as "Determination DET 09/04: Eligible Relocation Expenses". The determination also appears in Tax Information Bulletin Vol 21, No 9 (December 2009). Further commentary is provided in Tax Information Bulletin Vol 21, No 8 (October/November 2009) on the background and key features of the related legislation.


This determination shall apply to relocation expenses incurred in respect of the 2002-2003 and subsequent income years.

In addition to being a listed eligible relocation expense, the other criteria under section CW 17B of the Income Tax Act 2007, (or section CW 13B of the Income Tax Act 2004, or section CB 12(1B) of the Income Tax Act 1994, as required) must also be met for a payment by an employer to cover an employee's relocation expenses to be exempt income of the employee.

This determination may be supplemented or amended from time to time by further determinations pursuant to subsection 91AAR(4) of the Tax Administration Act 1994.

The list of eligible relocation expenses are set out in the schedule to this determination.


In this determination, unless the context otherwise requires, expressions used have the same meaning as those in sections CW 17B of the Income Tax Act 2007, CW 13B of the Income Tax Act 2004, CB 12(1B) of the Income Tax Act 1994, and section 91AAR of the Tax Administration Act 1994.

Amendments to Determination

Amendments to this determination may be made by the Commissioner issuing supplementary determinations pursuant to subsection 91AAR(4) of the Tax Administration Act 1994. This determination provides a process for updating the list of eligible relocation expenses.

Amendments may include adding further expenditure items to those already listed or deleting items from the existing list. The Commissioner must give at least 30 days notice of the implementation date for any change to the determination.

If a taxpayer wishes to put forward a case for an additional expenditure item to be included in the list, they would need to make a written application. Applications for changes should include the following information:

  1. The nature of the amendment to the determination being sought;
  2. The applicant's details - this includes full name, IRD number (if applicable), address, landline telephone number, fax number, cell phone number and the contact person for enquiries; and
  3. Information to support the amendment requested.


Applications for changes to the determination should be sent to:

LTS Manager, Technical Standards
National Office
Inland Revenue
P O Box 2198

This determination is made by me, acting under delegated authority from the Commissioner of Inland Revenue under section 7 of the Tax Administration Act 1994.

This determination is signed on the 28th day of October 2009.


Rob Wells
LTS Manager, Technical Standards


Schedule to Determination DET 09/04:

List of eligible relocation expenses

This list sets out the types of expenditure that may be treated as exempt income when an employee is reimbursed, or the expenditure is paid on an employee's behalf, when the employee (including their immediate family) relocate their accommodation for employment purposes.

"Immediate family" includes the employee's partner, dependent children and any dependent adults that are part of the employee's household. A dependent adult might be a dependent parent of the employee or partner or a disabled relative for whom the employee or the employee's partner is the caregiver.

The costs should be reasonable in the circumstances and, where relevant, should be as if they had been calculated on an arms-length basis between third parties.

Where there is a time limit specified on an item, that limit will be assumed to have been met for payments made prior to the issue of this determination.

Furthermore, the time limit on a specific item is subject to the overall time limit set in the legislation (that is, expenditure must have been incurred by the end of the tax year following that in which the relocation occurred).

List of eligible relocation expenses

Engaging a relocation consultant
A familiarisation trip to the new location immediately prior to relocation, for a maximum of 7 days in the new location (this excludes travelling time between the old and new locations)
Obtaining immigration assistance
Immigration and emigration applications
Health checks, tests and immunisations necessary for immigration or emigration
Any documentation and police and other agency checks required as a result of the relocation
Obtaining advice on the taxation and superannuation implications of relocating and of obtaining assistance in meeting any additional tax reporting/return requirements that arise from relocating
Removal and transport of household effects (including insurance, insurance excesses and taxes)
Moving "tools of trade" (including insurance, insurance excesses and taxes)
Moving other personal items such as cars, boats or trailers (including insurance, insurance excesses and taxes)
Cleaning and fumigation associated with the removal, transportation and storage of household effects
Excess baggage charges arising from the transportation of household and other personal effects and "tools of trade"
Customs' clearance and other costs associated with complying with New Zealand Customs regulations and other regulatory requirements that arise when transferring household and personal effects and "tools of trade" from the old to the new location
Transport to get to the new location (such as, but not limited to, air fares and car rental costs) using a direct route, and meals and accommodation en route
Relocating pets, including quarantining and boarding fees
Hiring a replacement vehicle while awaiting transportation and clearance of the employee's own vehicle to the new location. If the employee does not have a vehicle in transit, the cost is limited to a maximum of one month's hire
A trip to tidy up affairs after relocation
Exiting or breaking existing accommodation leases and similar contracts

Selling an existing home and acquiring a new dwelling:

  • real estate commissions;
  • advertising and auctioning;
  • legal and conveyancing fees and disbursements;
  • loan application fees;
  • mortgage early repayment loan application fees;
  • valuation costs;
  • LIM and building reports (or similar);
  • any stamp duty; and
  • penalty interest charges for breaking a fixed term loan.
    (But not any loss in capital value of the existing home).
Finding accommodation, whether to rent or to purchase, in the new location (but not bonds, refundable or otherwise)
Hiring household and/or personal effects for the new location, while awaiting transportation of related property to the new location
Storage of household or personal effects left at the old location, for (subject to the overall time limit) up to two years
Storage for household or personal effects once they have arrived in the new location, for up to three months, or until the employee finds a permanent home, whichever is sooner
Disposing of household/personal effects and similar assets at the previous location (but not capital losses)
Conversion of any electrical appliances because of voltage differences between the old and new locations
Disconnection and connection fees for, respectively, the old and new residences in relation to utilities (such as power and gas) and telecommunication services (such as telephone, internet and television)
Accommodation or value of employer provided accommodation once the employee has arrived in the new location, for up to three months after arrival
Cleaning and fumigation of old and new residences
Utility, rates, insurance and maintenance for the employee's previous residence for up to one year if, despite reasonable efforts, it cannot be sold or rented, or if the property is rented by the employee, it cannot feasibly be rented to someone else (for example, because the relocation is for a short period)
Individuals, dependants and miscellaneous
Language training for the employee necessary for the relocation (up to 12 months after relocation)
Redirecting mail
Disposal of investments, including superannuation and insurance policies, (but not any reduction in the value thereof), that cannot be held or continued because of the relocation
Charges for currency exchange on actual eligible relocation expenses incurred
Travel/health insurance while relocating
Additional childcare costs that arise as a result of a relocation giving rise to a temporary household rearrangement, for up to three months from the time of relocation
School uniform items that need to be replaced because of the relocation
Private school application fees if an employee's children were enrolled in private schools in the previous location or where there is no alternative to private schools in the new location
Cancelling professional and club memberships
Other costs directly arising from relocation, up to $500 in aggregate