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General Determination DEP90: Depreciation Rate for drones and integrated accessories including remote controllers and software, used for photography, surveillance and video/movie production

Note to Determination DEP 90

The Commissioner has recently been asked to consider what depreciation rate should apply for drones when used for photography, surveillance and video/movie production.  

The Commissioner considers that the asset includes the remote controller, software and carrying case – and where the asset also includes a camera which is built into and fully integrated into the drone, the camera will be part of the asset.

On the other hand, where the drone merely provides an aerial platform onto which a camera may be mounted, the drone and the camera will be regarded as separate assets which should be depreciated separately.

Similarly, the asset does not include items such as computers or laptops where these are used in conjunction with the drone.


General Determination DEP90: Depreciation Rate for drones and integrated accessories including remote controllers and software, used for photography, surveillance and video/movie production.

This determination may be cited as "Determination DEP90: Drones and integrated accessories including remote controllers and software, used for photography, surveillance and video/movie production".

1. Application

This determination applies to taxpayers who own items of depreciable property of the kind listed in the tables below:

This determination applies for the 2013/14 and subsequent income years.

2. Determination

Pursuant to section 91AAF of the Tax Administration Act 1994 I set in this determination the provisional rate to apply to the kind of items of depreciable property listed in the table below by:

  • adding into the "Audio and Video Recording Studios and Professional Photography" asset category, the new asset class, estimated useful life, and general diminishing value and straight-line depreciation rates listed below:
Asset class Estimated useful life
(years)
DV rate (%) SL rate (%)
Drones and integrated accessories including remote controllers and software, used for photography, surveillance and video/movie production 4 50 40
  • adding into the "Leisure" industry category, the new asset class, estimated useful life, and general diminishing value and straight-line depreciation rates listed below:
Asset class Estimated useful life
(years)
DV rate (%) SL rate (%)
Drones and integrated accessories including remote controllers and software, used for photography, surveillance and video/movie production 4 50 40

3. Interpretation

In this determination, unless the context otherwise requires, words and terms have the same meaning as in the Income Tax Act 2007 and the Tax Administration Act 1994.

This determination is signed by me on the 10th day of February 2015.

Rob Wells
LTS Manager, Technical Standards