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Applying for a Refund

What are My Chances of Getting a Refund?

Actually pretty good — especially if you’re a wage earner who’s had gaps in employment, worked over-time, two jobs, part-time or seasonal work.

What If I Have Not Received My Refund Calculation by Email?

80% of New Zealand wage and salary earners will receive their refund calculation by email within 10 minutes of completing the process.

If you have a fairly straightforward tax situation and you haven’t received an email from us within 24 hours, check your “bulk email” or “junk email” folders to make sure you computer hasn’t mistaken us for spam. Add to your safe list so we go straight to your inbox.

If your situation is a bit more complicated, like you’ve worked for part of the year or you’ve applied for Working for Families credits, it might take a bit longer. See How Long Does It Take? for more details.

No matter what your situation, once you’ve appointed us as your agent and completed your application, you’ll receive your refund within 6–10 working days.

Please note that Inland Revenue releases refunds mid-June, so if claiming for the most-recent tax year, you’ll receive your refund 6–10 working days from then.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Refund Calculation Application?

It only takes about 5 minutes to complete the refund calculation application process. If you’ve got dependent kids and want to apply for unclaimed Working for Families credits the online process is pretty much the same, but with a form to complete. It might take you about half an hour but lots of families are owed thousands. Who knows? It could be the most profitable lunch break you’ve ever taken.

When is the Best Time to Apply for a Refund?

Now. We can check if you are owed a refund in any of the past 5 tax years. So if you wait until after 31 March (the start of a new tax year) you might miss out on a refund in the earliest possible year.

What is a Tax Year?

A tax year runs from 1 April until 31 March in the next calendar year. For example, the 2012 tax year started 1 April 2011 and ended 31 March 2012.

How Many Years Should I Apply For?

The more the merrier. We can check if you’re owed a refund in any of the past 5 tax years. Just complete the steps for each year to get a calculation of your full tax refund entitlement.

What is New Zealand Interest?

Interest is money paid to you from a New Zealand bank or financial institution over a financial year. In April of the given year, this institution will supply a summary of interest you’ve earned. This summary, called an Interest Remittance Advice, relates to interest earned during the previous 12 months (1 April to 31 March).

What If I Haven’t Received an Interest Remittance Advice?

If you think you might have earned total gross interest over $200 for the applicable tax year, just contact your bank and get them to send you a copy of your Interest Remittance Advice.

What Happens If I didn’t Earn Any Interest?

If you didn’t earn any interest in the given tax year, then just leave this bit blank.

What Should I Do If I Earned Interest?

If your total gross interest earned for the year was under $200 you don’t need to declare it. If you earn interest over $200, you must declare your Resident Withholding Tax (RWT) in the space provided.

What is Resident Withholding Tax (RWT)?

An amount of tax deducted from investment income. For example, when a bank pays interest they deduct Resident Withholding Tax before paying the recipient. You will find the amount of RWT on the Interest Remittance Advice sent to you from your bank.

What are New Zealand Dividends?

Dividends are payments made by a New Zealand corporation to its shareholder members. Dividends paid to a shareholder member, will be summarised in a “Dividend Advice” supplied to you by the corporation, normally at the time you receive the dividends.

What Happens If I Haven’t Received Any Dividends?

If you did not earn any dividends in the given periods, then just leave this blank.

What Should I Do If I Haven’t Received a Dividend Advice?

If you have not received a Dividend Advice and you know your dividends have exceeded $200, just contact the company who paid your dividend and get them to send you a copy of the Dividend Advice.

What Should I Do If I Received Dividends?

If you earned total gross dividends over $200 please indicate this in the space provided. If your total gross dividend earned for the applicable tax year was less than $200 you don’t need to declare it. Leave the space blank and move on to the next question.

What is a Maori Authority Distribution?

Maori Authority Distributions may be made to a member of a registered Maori Authority. If you received a distribution or credit you should also have received a Distribution Statement for the applicable tax year.

What Should I Do If I Haven’t Received a Maori Authority Distribution Statement?

If you have not received a Maori Authority Distribution statement, but know you have received a distribution or credit, please contact the registered Maori Authority to which you are a member to request a statement directly.

What Should I Do If I Didn’t Receive a Maori Authority Distribution or Credit?

If you’re not a member of a registered Maori Authority you will not have received a distribution or credit from them. Just leave this blank and click “Next” at the bottom-right of the page.

What Should I Do If I Received a Maori Authority Distribution or Credit?

Please indicate in the space provided the total gross value of the distribution or credit paid to you.

What are Expenses Against My Income?

There are limited types of expenses a person earning salary and wages can deduct against their income, including:

  • Income protection insurance premiums.
  • Tax return preparation expenses.
  • Commission on interest or dividend income (but not bank fees).
  • Interest on money borrowed to buy shares or to invest, as long as the investment will produce some income that is taxable.

Why Should I Claim Expenses Against My Income?

Claiming an expense results in your income being reduced and therefore increases your chances of getting a tax refund.

Do I Need Receipts for Any Expenses I Claim For?

Yes, you must be able to prove that you have paid for an item that you intend to claim as an expense. If you have applied online with us, we already hold a taxation receipt for you and will automatically claim this with any tax return preparation fees paid previously.

What If I Made Donations During The Tax Year?

If you made financial donations to a donee organisation, paid for childcare or a housekeeper (in certain situations) in the tax year, you can claim part of it back as a tax credit. Please ask us to file an IR 526 for you.

What If I was Made Redundant?

If you’ve received any redundancy payments you may be entitled to claim a tax credit of 6 cents in the dollar (up to a maximum of $3,600). Anyone made redundant between 1 December 2006 and 1 October 2011 may be eligible for a tax credit.

What is a Partial Tax Year?

A partial tax year is an extended period of time in which you were absent from New Zealand. An example of a partial tax year is if you left New Zealand for a period of time longer than 324 days to work or live overseas.

Why is It Important to Claim a Partial Tax Year, If Applicable?

If you did not work for the full year, excluding holidays and annual leave, a partial tax year may increase your refund entitlement. This might happen if you’ve been taxed as though you worked the full year and have been put in a higher tax bracket than you should have been.

What is Not Considered a Partial Tax Year?

Annual leave or a brief holiday overseas (less than 324 days) isn’t considered a partial tax year as you haven’t met the criteria of a non-resident for tax purposes. If you’re absent from New Zealand for more than 324 days you qualify for a partial tax year.

What’s the “Review” Step For?

This is the final step in the application process before submitting your details to apply for your refund. Have a good read of your summary details because this is your last chance to make sure all the details you’ve given us are correct.

See a mistake? No worries. Just change those details by selecting the appropriate “Modify” link. This will return you to that step in the application process, so you can change those details and select “Next” to progress forward to the submit page.

What If I Have a Question About My Refund Application That’s Not Covered Here?

Once you’ve created your account, just log on and ask a question by submitting a support request through the online support centre. This lets us track and respond to your requests through your account.

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