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Who is eligible for Working for Families Tax Credits

Find out more about the eligibility criteria and who pays your Working for Families Tax Credits payment.

Who is eligible?

You must meet all four of the eligibility criteria to be entitled to Working for Families Tax Credits.

1. You must have a dependent child or children in your care

Dependent children are all children in your care who are:

  • 15 years of age or younger
  • 16 or 17 years of age who are not financially independent
  • 18 years of age and still at secondary school or a tertiary institution and not financially independent.
  • not in a marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship

Financially independent is when the child(ren):

  • work 30 hours or more a week, or
  • receive a student allowance, a benefit or other government assistance.

Children who are 18 and not financially independent are treated as dependent children until the earlier of the end of the calendar year (31 December) in which the child turns 18, the date the child becomes financially independent or the date they leave secondary school or the tertiary institution they attend.

2. You must be the principal caregiver

You must be the person responsible for the day-to-day care of the child(ren).

If you have shared care of any children you may still qualify. Find out more about shared care.

3. You must be aged 16 or older

4. You or the child(ren) must meet the residency requirements

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
  • all the children you’re claiming for are both resident(s) and present in New Zealand.

Who is a resident?

Children born in New Zealand before 1 January 2006 are considered residents of New Zealand.

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

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

Who pays Working for Families Tax Credits?

If you receive a benefit, Work and Income generally pay your Working for Families Tax Credits. But you can choose to receive your entitlement from Work and Income or Inland Revenue.

If your main income is from working, a student allowance, NZ Superannuation or ACC, Inland Revenue pays your Working for Families Tax Credits.

Applying for Working for Families Tax Credits

To find out more about applying for Working for Families Tax Credits and the information you will need, go to Applying for Working for Families Tax Credits.

Next steps

Check whether you're entitled to any other Working for Families Tax Credits