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Running and operating a charity is both fulfilling and hard work. One of the things that may be of use, to ease your time constraints and aid in the operation of your charity, is a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). This article will outline:

  • what a New Zealand Business Number is;
  • the benefits of having an NZBN; and 
  • how your charity can register for an NZBN.

What is a New Zealand Business Number?

A New Zealand Business Number or an NZBN is a globally unique number that identifies a New Zealand:

  • sole trader;
  • business;
  • company; or
  • charity.

An NZBN links to a business’s core information or Primary Business Data. This data is the information that you will most likely be asked to share by other:

  • charities;
  • businesses;
  • or government agencies who wish to work with you.

This Primary Business Data includes your:

  • charity’s legal name; 
  • email address or email addresses;
  • phone number; 
  • physical address; and
  • website.

You can access all of this core information by entering your NZBN into the NZBN register.

What Are the Benefits of a New Zealand Business Number?

There are two key benefits to having a New Zealand Business Number. These are:

  • certainty; and 
  • efficiency.


An NZBN is a sign of credibility. It is an indicator that your charity is real and tangible.

The businesses, government agencies and suppliers who wish to work with you or donate funds to your charity have a sense of certainty regarding who you are.


Communicating and updating information between different bodies, such as a charity and a government agency, can be complicated and time-consuming. An NZBN allows this process to become far more streamlined and efficient.

For example, a business or government agency wishes to work with your charity or use your services. Here, it can get access to your primary data by typing your New Zealand Business Number into the NZBN register. If you need to update this information when your charity gets a new website or changes your phone number, you can do this all in one place. This means that you do not have to update this information in multiple places or get in touch with all of the organisations you have a relationship with to notify them of the changes.

To ensure that the businesses or suppliers you work with are notified when you do update your core information, you can create a ‘watch list’ on the NZBN website. All members of your watch list will receive an email notification whenever you change any of your charity’s key information. If a business you interact with does not have your most up-to-date information, this could lead to unnecessary losses in donations or delays in receiving information. 

How Do I Register for a New Zealand Business Number?

Whether you can register for a New Zealand Business Number and how you go about doing so will depend on your charity’s legal status.

Legally Incorporated Charitable Trust or Society

If you are a legally incorporated charitable trust, you will have automatically been allocated an NZBN when you registered with the Companies Office. If you need to find your New Zealand Business Number, you can do so by searching for it on the NZBN website or on the Companies Register.

Registered Charity

If your charity is registered, but are not legally incorporated, you can still qualify for an NZBN. However, there is no legal requirement to do so. 

If you do wish to get an NZBN, you can get in touch with NZBN and provide your:

  • charity’s legal name; and
  • your registration number. You can find your charity’s registration number on the Charities Register

Unincorporated Group

If you are an unincorporated group or society, you may still qualify to get an NZBN. You may wish to get in touch with NZBN to see whether your charity qualifies. 

Key Takeaways

A New Zealand Business Number, or an NZBN, is a number that is unique to your charity. An NZBN allows for any businesses or organisations that wish to work with you to easily access your core information or Primary Business Data. 

As a registered charity or unincorporated group, you are not obliged to register for an NZBN. However, there is a utility in doing so. A New Zealand Business Number provides any potential partners or donors with certainty as to your identity and credibility as a charity and ensures that your core information is accessible and up-to-date. If you need assistance in registering for an NZBN, our regulatory and compliance lawyers can help. Get in contact with us on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.


What is an NZBN?

A New Zealand Business Number or an NZBN is a globally unique number that identifies a New Zealand business or charity. An NZBN allows for other businesses that wish to work with you to easily access your core information, such as a phone number or email address.

Do charities need to have an NZBN?

Charities are not required to have an NZBN. Legally incorporated charitable trusts will automatically have been allocated an NZBN through registering with the Companies Register. Registered charities or unincorporated groups can register to get an NZBN.

What is the difference between a charity’s registration number and an NZBN?

A charity’s registration number is a unique number given to charities that are registered with the Charities Register. The Register is a database of all of the registered charities in New Zealand. An NZBN is a unique number that is given to all businesses in New Zealand, not just charities.

What are the benefits of an NZBN?

Having an NZBN is beneficial as it accompanies certainty as to your credibility as a charity and efficiency in providing and updating your core information.

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