myIR, payments and more
From 1 July 2018, financial support for New Zealand families will increase. The changes include:
- the introduction of the Best Start tax credit
- higher payment rates for Working for Families tax credits customers
- widening of the eligible income range for Working for Families tax credits
- extension of paid parental leave (PPL) payments
More information about all these changes will be available by June 2018.
Best Start tax credit is a weekly payment of $60 (up to $3,120 per year) per child for a baby born on or after 1 July 2018. If your baby is due on or after 1 July 2018 but is born earlier than 1 July you are still eligible. Please contact us to let us know if this has happened.
For the first year of the baby's life the family's income is not taken into account. For families earning less than $79,000, Best Start will continue at $60 per week until the child turns 3. If the family income is above $79,000, payments will reduce or stop depending on your income.
When do Best Start payments begin?
We'll start paying Best Start from 1 July 2018 to customers whose babies are born on or after 1 July 2018.
If you're planning to get paid parental leave then your Best Start payments will start once your paid parental leave payments end.
You can't receive Best Start for the weeks you, or your spouse or partner, are entitled to paid parental leave. Best Start payments will start once your paid parental leave payments stop.
If you're an existing Work and Income customer, please contact them to discuss your options.
My baby is due after 1 July 2018, what happens if it comes early?
If your baby's expected due date is on or after 1 July 2018 and is born before this date you're still eligible for Best Start. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for the parental tax credit and you may choose to receive this instead of Best Start.
Parental tax credit is a weekly payment of up to $220 (total of $2,200) paid for the first 10 weeks after your baby was born. It is only available for babies born before 1 July 2018 whose due date was on or after 1 July 2018.
You can't receive the parental tax credit and Best Start payments for the same child.
Am I eligible for Best Start payments?
To be eligible for Best Start:
- you must be the principal caregiver of the child
- you must be a New Zealand resident or citizen and have been in New Zealand for a continuous period of 12 months at any time
- a New Zealand tax resident
- you must have an IRD number for the child you will get Best Start payments for
- the child you are claiming for is both a resident and present in New Zealand.
How do I apply for Best Start?
You can apply for Best Start when you register your baby's birth through "Register your Baby" on the SmartStart website or by completing the Working for Families Tax Credits registration (FS1) form. If your baby is born early but was due on or after 1 July, you'll be able to apply from June but payments won't start until after 1 July.
We need the following information to process your application:
- the full name, address, contact details and IRD number of the principal caregiver
- your living situation including any shared custody
- whether you're an existing Working for Families customer
- whether you're getting or intending to receive paid parental leave payments
- your tax residency status
- your bank account details.
Without this information there will be delays in processing your application.
Paid parental leave is extending from 18 weeks to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018. This also includes an increase in "Keeping in Touch" hours from 40 to 52 hours.
If your baby is due on or after 1 July 2018 but arrives late or early, you may also be eligible for 22 weeks paid parental leave. Please call us and let us know your baby's birth date.
A higher payment rate and widening of the eligible income range is being introduced from 1 July 2018. These changes include:
|Annual rate of family tax credit||1 April 2018||1 July 2018|
|Eldest child 16 to 18||$5,303||$5,878|
|Eldest child 0 to 15||$4,822|
|Next child 16 to 18||$4,745||$4,745|
|Next child 13 to 15||$3,822|
|Next child 0 to 12||$3,351|
|Working for Families abatement rate||22.5%||25%|
|Working for Families eligible income threshold||$36,350||$42,700|
If you're an existing Working for Families customer and affected by the changes, you will receive a Notice of Entitlement in June telling you your new payment amount.
If you think you're eligible from 1 July 2018 due to the changes in the income eligibility range, you'll need to complete a Working for Families Tax Credits registration (FS1) form.
Other Families Package changes
You can find more information on the Work and Income website on:
- the Winter Energy Payment
- Orphan's Benefit
- Unsupported Child's Benefit
- Foster Care Allowance
- the accommodation supplement and benefits.