Paying the Export Education Levy – SDR providers

This guidance informs Single Data Return (SDR) providers about paying the Export Education Levy. SDR providers are tertiary providers that receive funding from the Government and need to provide a statistical return.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Tertiary Education Organisations
  • International Students
  • Administrators

Most education providers who enrol international fee-paying students are required to pay an Export Education Levy (EEL).

The Export Education Levy (EEL)

Most education providers who enrol international fee-paying students are required to pay an Export Education Levy (EEL).

The levy is used to support a range of activities and projects relating to the export education industry, including promotion and marketing, and quality assurance. The levy is also used to fund administration of the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice, and the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS).

Providers do not pay the EEL for:

  • overseas students with domestic student status (for example, New Zealand residence visa holders or exchange students),
  • students studying offshore
  • students sponsored by New Zealand Agency for International Development NZAID

Amount of the levy

The levy consists of:

  1. a variable component based on the tuition fees paid by international students. The variable levy component is currently set at 0.89% of total tuition fees (excl GST)
  2. GST will be charged on the levy.

Calculation of levy liability

The levy will be calculated using the data you submit in the Single Data Return (SDR). You have the choice of loading the tuition fee information into either the student file or the course register file. The choice will depend on whether you enrol large numbers of foreign students and or whether you offer discounts.

Tuition fees

The Foreign Tuition Fee charged to an international student must cover the full costs of the student’s education, and should always exceed the tuition fee charged to a domestic student.

In addition to all the normal domestic tuition costs, it must also include the costs of sale such as agents' fees and marketing costs, costs of additional services such as pastoral care, as well as recovering the cost of the Export Education Levy. Additional compulsory course costs are not included in the tuition fee. The Foreign Tuition Fee excludes GST

Generation of tax invoice

When you submit your SDR, a tax invoice will be generated. This will indicate on the left-hand side the cumulative amount of the levy and on the right-hand side the amount that is owed for the current trimester.

Payment method

Pay the levy by direct debit.  

Payment periods

The direct debits will be processed 15 days after the due dates for the SDRs:

  • 30 May
  • 30 September
  • 16 February (of the following year).

Non-payment of levy

Paying the levy is a statutory obligation. Providers who do not pay by the due date or providers who default on a Direct Debit will be given 30 days in which to pay any outstanding levy amounts. Failure to comply within the 30 days will result in debt recovery action being taken.

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