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Eligibility criteria

You must meet all four of the eligibility criteria to be entitled to Working for Families Tax Credits. The table below explains each of the criteria in detail.

Criteria Description
Dependent child

You can receive Working for Families Tax Credits payments for each "dependent child". Dependent children are all children in your care who are:

  • 18 years or younger, and
  • financially dependent. This means children you support financially who don't:
    • work more than 30 hours a week, or
    • receive a student allowance, a benefit or other government assistance.

Children aged 18 years of age must be attending either secondary school or tertiary education and not financially independent. You will receive payments up to the end of the calendar year (31 December) in which the child turns 18, or the date the child becomes financially independent, whichever is the earlier.


All children for whom you are applying for Working for Families Tax Credits must have an IRD number. If any of your children do not have an IRD number, you must apply for one. Simply download an IRD number application - resident individual (IR595) form, or call our 0800 self-service line on 0800 257 773 to request a copy. Please have your IRD number handy.

Principal child carer

The principal child carer is the eligible parent or the person responsible for the day to day care of the children. It is not someone who cares for the children part-time or who works as the child minder.


If you're not sure whether you are the principal child carer, please call us on 0800 227 773. You can call us:

  • Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and
  • Saturday from 9am to 1pm.
Your age You must be aged 16 or older.

You must meet at least one of the following residency requirements:

  • you’re a New Zealand resident and have been in New Zealand continuously for at least 12 months at any time. You must be both a tax resident and resident in New Zealand when you apply for your payments, or
  • the child(ren) you’re claiming for are both resident(s) and present in New Zealand.


Children born in New Zealand before 1 January 2006 are considered residents. From 1 January 2006 onwards children born in New Zealand, (or in the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue) are only considered residents if at least one of their parents:

  • is a New Zealand citizen, or
  • has permanent residency (ie they’re entitled to be in New Zealand or Australia indefinitely), or
  • is entitled to reside indefinitely in the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue.

If you and your children are in New Zealand unlawfully or hold only a temporary permit or visa, you’re not a New Zealand resident for Working for Families Tax Credits purposes. If you're unsure if you meet the residency requirements, please call us on 0800 227 773. You can call us:

  • Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and
  • Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

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