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Individual income tax
Te take whiwhinga mo te takitahi

Donations, childcare and housekeeper tax credits

If you made financial donations to a donee organisation in the last tax year, you may be able to claim part of it back as a tax credit.

Changes made to tax credit claims

  • From 1 April 2012 you can no longer claim tax credit for childcare or housekeeper payments.
  • From 1 April 2014 you can only claim donation tax credits within a period of four years, following the year in which the gift was made.

We will process your claim for a tax credit with the minimum of delay. You can help by attaching receipts for all of your donations and childcare and/or housekeeper payments and sending your Tax credit claim form 2014 (IR526) and income tax return at the same time if you are required to file an IR3 income tax return.

You'll get a refund, unless you have arrears or have asked for it to be transferred to another account or if you made your donation through payroll giving.

 Who can claim a tax credit

You can claim a tax credit if you:

  • earned taxable income (such as salary or wages, benefit, NZ Super, self-employed income, interest and dividends) during the year you're claiming for, and
  • were resident in New Zealand at any time during that tax year, and
  • are an individual (not a company, trust or partnership), and
  • meet the criteria in the "Find out if you qualify for a tax credit" table below.

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 Donation receipts

A valid receipt must contain:

  • the name of the donor(s)
  • the amount and date of the donation
  • a clear statement that it is a donation
  • a clear statement at the top of the page if the donation is a payroll giving donation
  • the signature of an authorised person, and
  • an official stamp with the name of the approved donee organisation.

The word “copy" or “replacement" should be clearly shown on any replacement receipt.

Note:

In response to the Christchurch earthquake we have modified the above requirements. For donations going to donee organisations supporting the Christchurch earthquake relief effort, particularly through third parties, the minimum receipt requirements are:

  • the date of the donation
  • the amount of the donation
  • a statement showing Christchurch Earthquake donation (or something similar), and
  • the receipt must be on the letterhead of the organisation issuing it.

While the receipt requirements for donations have been modified in response to the Christchurch earthquake, the person must still make a donation of $5 or more to qualify. The maximum donation that may be claimed through modified receipts is $1200 per receipt. For donations over $1200 our current criteria (as described above) in respect of receipts apply.

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 Find out if you qualify for a tax credit

You can claim
a tax credit for ...
if ...
donations

you made a gift of money voluntarily to a donee organisation, where there is no identifiable direct benefit to you or your family within a period of four years following the year in which the gift was made.

You need receipts to show that you donated $5 or more to:

  • approved donee organisations
  • approved New Zealand religious organisations
  • medical research schools and universities
  • approved overseas aid funds
  • kindergarten associations (excludes private kindergartens or other early childcare fees - these may be claimed under the childcare tax credit)
  • state and state integrated schools, or their board of trustees (the payments can either be "donations" or payment of "school fees" if they go to the school's general fund.

    Exceptions:
    • payments for classes where there is a take-home component, such as woodwork
    • where attendance or participation in the activity is voluntary
    • transport to or from a school activity, such as a camp or food at the camp
    • tuition fees.
  • other schools who have been approved as donee organisations (the payments must be "donations")
  • parent-teacher associations (the payments must be "donations").

You can't claim for:

  • tuition, exam or tertiary educational institution fees
  • payroll giving donations you made through your salary and wages. You received the tax credits at the time of your donation.

See Donee organisations under "Find out more" below to check whether the organisation you donated to is approved.

childcare

you made childcare payments before 1 April 2012, and

  • your child(ren) was either under 18 or unable to work because of a disability, and:
  • you were a single parent, or
  • you and your spouse/partner were employed or self-employed, (this doesn't apply to couples who are separated), or
  • you or your partner were disabled or physically unable to care for your child(ren).

You also need to have receipts to show that you paid for childcare.

Exceptions:
You can't claim this tax credit if you live in a communal home, such as a resthome or a hospice (unless you or your spouse/partner live in the communal home and are regularly involved in running it).

Note

The childcare tax credit has been removed from 1 April 2012. So the last time you can claim for childcare will be for payments made in the 2012 tax year (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012).

a housekeeper

you have receipts to show that you paid for a housekeeper before 1 April 2012, because you (or your partner) were disabled or physically unable to do housework.

This doesn’t include amounts covered by subsidies and reimbursement.

Exceptions:
You can't claim this tax credit if you live in a communal home, such as a rest home or a hospice (unless you or your spouse/partner live in the communal home and are regularly involved in running it).

Note

The housekeeper tax credit has been removed from 1 April 2012. So the last time you can claim for a housekeeper will be for payments made in the 2012 tax year (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012).

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 Maximum amounts you can claim

The total donations, childcare and/or housekeeper payments you claim cannot exceed your taxable income for the year. If they do, you can only claim donations and payments up to the amount of your taxable income.

If you're required to file an IR3 income tax return for the year in which you made donations and/or childcare/housekeeper payments, we will need to check your taxable income in your tax return when we process your claim. Remember the last time you can claim the childcare/housekeeper tax credit is for payments made in the 2012 tax year (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012) and donation tax credit within a period of four years following the year in which the gift was made.

If we don’t have your tax return we will need to ask you for it.

Your tax return may not yet be due to be filed, however until it is your refund will be delayed.

You may avoid delays by sending your tax credit claim and your IR3 tax return at the same time.

The maximum tax credits you can claim are set out below under “Donations", “Childcare and housekeeper payments".

Donations within a period of four years following the year in which the gift was made

You can claim the lesser of:

  • 33.3333% of the total donations you've made, or
  • 33.3333% of your taxable income.

See Greater tax incentives for charitable donations for the new thresholds.

Childcare and housekeeper payments (for tax years from 2000 to 2012)

You can claim the lesser of:

  • 33% of the total payments you have made, or
  • $310 ($940 x 33%), or
  • 33% of your taxable income.
Note

Your claim is worked out on the cost of childcare for all children that are eligible, not per child. Remember you can't claim the tax credit from 1 April 2012.

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 Sharing receipts - married couples, civil unions and de facto relationships

If you have a spouse, a civil union partner, or a de facto partner who is eligible to make a claim, they can claim the balance of your donation, childcare and housekeeper payments, up to the relevant maximum. This applies whether the receipt is in one person's name or in joint names. If you do share your receipts with your spouse/partner you will need to advise us of their details when you make your claim.

Donations tax credit

The maximum donation tax credits are based on individual claims. If one partner has donated more than the maximum amount, their partner can claim the balance (up to their maximum amount).

Example

Mary and John have donated $50,000 to their child's school for the tax year ending 31 March 2013. The receipt was issued in both names.

Mary's taxable income is $40,000 so she can only claim a maximum of $40,000. The remainder of the donation can be claimed by John.

His taxable income is more than $10,000, so he can claim the donation tax credit for the remaining $10,000.

Childcare and housekeeper tax credit

Either partner can claim the maximum amount in full, or both partners can file separate tax credit claim forms, as long as the combined claim isn't more than the maximum amount. For example, if you paid $940 or more, you can split the claim with your partner, provided the combined total of both claims doesn't exceed $310.

Note

There are different rules for the tax year ending 31 March 2007 and previous years. If you were in a de facto relationship, both you and your de facto partner are each able to claim up to $310. This tax credit has been removed from 1 April 2012.

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 Claiming your tax credit

If you're claiming a donation, childcare or housekeeper tax credit, find out first if you can claim these tax credits.

You can claim a tax credit for the previous tax year (1 April to 31 March) from the following April. We'll only accept an early tax credit claim form (prior to April) if you're:

  • completing the claim on behalf of a deceased person, or
  • going overseas permanently or for a significant amount of time.

From the 2015 tax year (1 April 2014) tax credit claims for donations can only be made within a period of four years following the year in which the gift was made. This means you can no longer claim a tax credit for a donation tax credit outside this filing time period.

You can still claim the childcare/housekeeper tax credits for the 2000 to 2012 income years.

Note

You can't claim for payroll giving donations you made through your salary and wages. You received the tax credits at the time of your donation.

You can use the IR526 to claim tax credits for donations not made through payroll giving.

What you need to complete the claim form

What you need to do

    Tell me how...
1 Get a tax credit claim form
 

If you claimed one of these tax credits (formerly rebates) last year:

  • we'll automatically send you a Tax credit claim form (IR526), or
  • you can download a tax credit claim form under "Forms and guides".

If you don’t file an IR3 income tax return we’ll send you a form in April.

If you do file an IR3 income tax return we’ll send you a form in May.

2 Complete the form
 
Fill in only the questions on the form that apply to you. You don't have to do any calculations. We'll do them for you.
3 Send the form to the address below
 

Remember to attach all your receipts for donations, childcare and housekeeper payments.

If you are required to file an IR3 income tax return for the year in which you made the donations or childcare/housekeeper payments, we will need to check your taxable income in your tax return when we process your claim.

If we don’t have your tax return we will need to ask you for it.

Your tax return may not yet be due to be filed, however until it is your refund will be delayed.

You may avoid delays by sending your tax credit claim and your IR3 tax return at the same time.

Postal address:

Inland Revenue
PO Box 39090
Wellington mail centre
Lower Hutt 5045

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 Notification of your refund

We'll send you notification of your refund amount within six weeks if we don’t need to wait for your IR3 income tax return to be filed. Your refund will be direct credited to the bank account you nominated on your form, unless you have a debt with us, or ask for it to be transferred to another account.

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 Updating your claim for the same tax year

If you send in your form and later want to make another tax credit claim for the same tax year, just send us your receipts with your name, address and IRD number and we'll update your claim.

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Find out more

 

 


Date published: 31 Mar 2014

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