Student Loan Scheme Amendment Act 2007
Information-matching will be undertaken between Inland Revenue's student loan information and the border-crossing information held by the New Zealand Customs Service to establish borrowers' entitlement to interest-free student loans.
Inland Revenue will have ad hoc access to any recording system used by Customs to store arrival or departure information.
An amnesty on student loan penalties was introduced by the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Act 2005. The amnesty allowed non-resident borrowers in arrears the chance of a fresh start by having their penalties cancelled.
To simplify the law on which set of repayment rules apply - those for borrowers based in New Zealand or those for borrowers based overseas - annual repayment obligations will be based on whether the borrower is eligible for an interest-free loan, rather than on where they are tax-resident.
New repayment rules have been introduced for borrowers who are based overseas.
The Commissioner has been given the ability to grant borrowers studying full-time overseas at undergraduate level an interest-free loan.
Interest write-offs for borrowers ineligible for interest-free loans have been abolished.
A new provision has been added to the Student Loan Scheme Act to specify the activities which may be engaged in by borrowers seeking an exemption from the requirement that they be New Zealand-based to qualify for an interest-free loan.
The late payment penalty rate has been reduced to 1.5 percent.
The small balance thresholds have been increased to $20 and a new provision has been introduced which allows Inland Revenue to refrain from collecting all or part of an overdue repayment obligation that is less than $333..
The requirement that applications for relief from penalties or payment of a repayment obligation on hardship grounds could only be made in writing has been removed.
The hardship provisions have been amended to allow hardship relief for any amount which has already been paid.
The care and management provisions in the Tax Administration Act have been extended to include student loan interest.
Borrowers who had an interest write-off to which they were not entitled, but had repaid their loans by 13 November 2006, will not have the write-off reversed.
From the 2008-09 tax year separate components of the student loan interest rate will no longer be set.
The borrower has six months from being notified by the Commissioner of the difference in the assessed repayment obligations to claim a refund.
Date published: 31 May 2007
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