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Julia Johnston

Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1469
Mobile: + 64 22 513 2160
E-mail: Julia.Johnston@saunders.co.nz
Office: CBD

I lead the tax team at Saunders & Co and also specialise in relationship property, immigration, and commercial matters.


After finishing top of advanced tax at the University of Canterbury in 2008, I completed my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Bachelor of Laws, and started my career in the tax team at a large international accounting firm in 2009. I then spent time working in a large corporate recovery team. This combination of law, commerce, and accounting has given me a broad skill base to bring to my clients, whether they are seeking commercial or tax advice. This well-rounded approach is crucial to giving the most accurate and helpful advice possible.


In 2012, I started to work within a nationally recognised tax advisory law firm where I advised individuals, corporates, trusts, and other professional advisors and assisted with all areas of tax law. There, I assisted in a broad range of cases, from IRD audits to advising on the implications of land transactions. I further developed my passion for migrant tax issues, advising both inbound and outbound residents on their New Zealand tax obligations. This has given me a strong background to bring to my work in immigration law. 


In 2017, I moved to be a manager in the tax team with a “big 4” international accounting firm where I provided tax services to a wide range of businesses of various sizes, as well as individuals and other professional advisors. I was also able to focus more on my passion for migrant tax issues as the leader of the Christchurch based team.


I joined Saunders & Co in 2018, where I assist clients and their advisors with all of their tax advisory requirements. I spend a lot of time working with our immigration team, advising migrants on their tax obligations in the complex area of international tax. This provides me with a solid background into my client’s affairs which enables me to continue to advise on the many other areas of tax laws once they are established in New Zealand, be it commercial or otherwise.


I have expanded my skill-set to include relationship property, where I assist clients with contracting-out agreements, separation agreements, property divisions, and the various negotiations and other related aspects of such work. Relationship separations are a distressing time in a client’s life. I take a friendly, supportive approach while focused on reaching a practical solution and aim to simplify and clarify these often complex matters.


I pride myself on working effectively to reach the best outcomes for my client, no matter the area of concern, while making the process as simple and stress-free as possible. 

27 July 2020

Inland Revenue signals their attention to offshore employers with New Zealand-based employees

With the current global pandemic more and more kiwis are returning home and continuing to work for their offshore employer.

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23 June 2020

Guidance on COVID-19 Tax Legislation

Various tax measures have been introduced which are intended to provide tax relief to those affected by COVID-19.

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8 April 2020

Tax Considerations for Returning Kiwis

When returning to New Zealand tax is most likely one of the last things people consider (if they consider it at all).

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5 February 2020

The Unknown Tax Cost of Foreign Property

Are you migrating or returning to New Zealand?  Are you aware of the tax implications of such a move?  Many people move to New Zealand having kept overseas properties.

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30 January 2020

Don’t relax on tax

The following article was written for a UK publication but the topics are relevant for all migrants to New Zealand.   Don’t let tax spoil your new life in New Zealand.   International tax is a minefield.

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12 July 2019

Expanding overseas? Make sure you understand the tax implications.

With the world becoming a much smaller place, it is easy for businesses to find themselves trading overseas without too much consideration.

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9 March 2019

Don’t get caught with a NZ tax bill while you are living overseas

Are you leaving NZ permanently, or going on an extended overseas trip? Make sure you know your tax obligations and how to ensure you break your tax residency in New Zealand so you are not welcomed back to New Zealand...

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12 February 2019

Key staff can cause New Zealand tax headaches for international companies

Are you a director or a key staff member of an offshore business? Did you know that your presence in New Zealand might cause your company to be subject to tax in New Zealand? A company is deemed to be...

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20 November 2018

International Tax is a Minefield

International tax is a minefield.

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