The scheme is offered through the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) but administered by local Councils across New Zealand. The purpose is to assist ratepayers on a low income meet their rates responsibilities. You can apply once per rating year and have the entire year during which to apply. You will need to reapply each year. The deadline for the current rating year is 30 June 2020.
You can find detailed information and a rebate calculator on the DIA website.
The rates rebate scheme was first introduced in the 1970s. The numbers of eligible applicants had slowly declined as the income limits failed to move in line with inflation and benefit rates. In 2006 the Government announce a substantial update to its Rates Rebate Scheme, increasing the income limit so that more people would be eligible. In July 2018 the law was changed to allow residents of retirement villages to apply for a rates rebate under certain circumstances.
You might be eligible for a rates rebate if:
- You are the ratepayer for the property where you reside (subject to certain conditions) or you live in a qualifying retirement village, and
- You have lived there since the rating year started on 1 July 2019, and
- Your total household income before tax for the tax year ending 31 March 2019 is low
The DIA has a rebate calculator available on their website which will calculate your eligibility and the amount of the rebate. You will need your gross household income, number of dependents and annual rates to use the calculator.
To apply you will need to complete an application form. Forms are available from Council or directly from the DIA website. The completed form should be returned to Council's rates department along with any supporting income documentation. A rates officer will assess your eligibility, witness your legal declaration on the form and forward the application to DIA.
If the application is approved, a lump sum payment will be made to the rates account in the amount of the rebate. The next rates invoice after a successful rebate application will display the amount of the rebate received.