What is the correct ACC classification for your sign business?

Have you found that when looking into assigning your business with the correct ACC classification there is no definite categories for signage, but instead many for tiny obscure industries, and while one can argue that one sign company may be largely design and printing yet another largely manufacturing the end product is the same – signage. 

Many within the signage industry have recently incurred an increase in ACC levies ………

……  however careful consideration of the variables that could affect such significant increases in levies needs to be noted.  One individual business reason could be an increase in payroll/number of employees and/or situations where the business owner has previously taken drawings and not been part of the business payroll, but has since changed to being on wages/salary.   Another variable to consider would be offering a new/or extra service, like installation, which would clearly indicate that more health and safety regulations and processes are required, therefore this signage role becomes high risk, which automatically sets the levy higher than a desk role.

When ACC classifies a business, they look at the activity the employer is engaged in, not the tasks of individual shareholders, directors, or employees within the business. Activity means the external service rendered or product produced or sold. It is important to note that ancillary or subservient functions such as installation, design, and administration are not classified separately and form part of the overall business activity.  So whichever activity holds the higher levy will be the levy the business will be charged at.

So, knowing that there is no way around your levy classification, the best advice is to look into ensuring that the business installation costs are charged out at a higher rate to compensate for the levy increase.  Another option could be to contract out all installation services to specialist install businesses that are fit for purpose and have all the processes and procedures in place to accommodate for Health and Safety and a higher levy rate.  Most importantly, considerations need to be made on the purpose or outcome of your business activities.  For example, if the only services or activity you provide is designing and printing, then ensure your classification is correctly suited for your output – this is key if you want to avoid a hike in Levy fees.

We have a guide to assist with setting up correct levy classifications.  This was put together by ACC consultants on our behalf, as they believe that these codes are best suited to our industry.

If your business has been affected by the rise in levy fees, get in touch with us as we can assist with a guided process to follow for ACC to accept submissions.  If you seek further information about the levy consultation process, it can be found here via the ACC website at https://www.acc.co.nz/about-us/how-levies-work/the-levy-setting-process/, and here https://www.shapeyouracc.co.nz/.


Classification Activities Levy Rate
78520 Specialised design services (not elsewhere classified) Sign Writing: Designing and applying writing or graphics to an object (e.g. vinyl wraps, hand painting)


Ticket Writing: This includes producing display and price boards, for-sale signs, and price tickets


47990 Wholesaling (not elsewhere classified) Designing and contracting out the manufacture of signage (apart from vinyl and electrical signs) including the handling of goods. $0.42
28540 Electric lighting equipment manufacturing Manufacture of components of an electrical sign (does not need to include the electrical components) $0.30
46150 Electrical and electronic goods wholesaling (not

elsewhere classified)

Designing and contracting out the manufacture of electrical signs $0.14
29490 Manufacturing (not elsewhere classified):


Manufacturing of any components of signs (apart from electrical signs)


42590 Construction services (not elsewhere classified): Non-electric traffic signal or control installation


Billboard construction or erection


Sign installation