Special purpose financial reporting in New Zealand

Learn more about how the financial reporting requirements of many New Zealand companies have changed due to the Financial Reporting Act 2013

In brief

  • Most New Zealand companies no longer have to prepare general purpose financial reports (GPFRs).
  • Most companies do need to prepare special purpose financial reports (SPFRs).
  • Inland Revenue has set minimum requirements that SPFRs must meet.

Changes to financial reporting in New Zealand

The financial reporting obligations of a variety of entities in New Zealand changed when the Financial Reporting Act 2013 replaced the Financial Reporting Act 1993, and amended the Companies Act 1993.

Many small to medium-sized companies (SMEs) are no longer required to prepare general purpose financial reports (GPFR). However, most still need to prepare special purpose financial reports (SPFR) for tax purposes.

What is a General Purpose Financial Report?

General purpose financial reports cater to users who are unable to demand financial reports tailored to their specific information needs.

They are prepared in accordance with accounting standards issued by the External Reporting Board (XRB) or the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board (NZASB). The standards consist of generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP) and non-GAAP standards.

SPFR requirements and frameworks

  • Inland revenue minimum financial reporting requirements

    Sections 21B and 21C of the Tax Administration Act 1994 require all non-exempt companies to prepare SPFRs in accordance with minimum requirements set by Inland Revenue (IR).

    Companies are exempt if they are not required to file income tax returns:

    • small companies, defined as having less than $30,000 of income and $30,000 of expenditure
    • inactive companies.

    Minimum financial reporting requirements for companies for tax purposes are specified by Tax Administration (Financial Statements) Order 2014.


    Check minimum requirements for tax purposes

    Read more
  • Optional SPFR framework

    Because financial statements prepared in accordance with Inland Revenue’s minimum requirements might not satisfy all users’ needs, the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) developed an optional SPFR package: Special Purpose Financial Reporting Framework for For-Profit Entities.

    It comprises an accounting framework and three sets of illustrative financial statements that can help in the preparation of financial statements for small and medium-sized for-profit entities (SMEs).

    The framework provides guidance on preparing SPFRs to meet the needs of a variety of users, such as financial institutions and those charged with governance. It assists entities with revenue of between $30,000 and $30m, and it contains useful and reader-friendly information about transactions typically encountered by SMEs.

    The illustrative financial statements are targeted at companies in the products, services and agricultural sectors. For the agricultural industry, the Rural Advisory Committee (RAC) has created an additional set of illustrative financial statements.

    The framework and illustrative financial statements can be downloaded below.

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