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Budget 2024: The Government has announced FamilyBoost, a proposed new childcare payment to help eligible families with the rising costs of Early Childhood Education (ECE). Find out more:

Services to process obligations and entitlementsIt’s important that New Zealanders get the payments they're entitled to at the right times. We keep customers at the centre of our thinking. We focus on helping them get things right from the start by making it simpler and easier for them to access entitlements.

Delivery of Cost of Living Payments

We set up and paid out Cost of Living Payments to help New Zealanders with their day-to-day living costs.

  • We paid $573 million in Cost of Living Payments.

As at 3 July 2023, we made 4.91 million payments totalling $573 million. There were 67,000 customers who have not received a payment as we do not have their bank account information.

Read more about this in the case study here.

For the first time - a cost of living payment

Timeliness of tax refunds

We look at how long it takes us to issue income tax and GST refunds to customers once we receive their returns.

2 out of 2 targets were achieved.

  • Our target for issuing GST refunds is 95% within 4 weeks. We met this target, issuing 96.6% of refunds within the timeframe.
  • Our target for issuing income tax refunds is 85% within 5 weeks. We issued 87.0% in 2022–23, an improvement on 2021–22 where we achieved 84.4%.

Read more about these measures here.

Services to process obligations and entitlements

Accuracy of GST refunds

Our measure of the accuracy of GST refunds is the number of returns that are accepted without any changes.

99.4% of GST refunds were not amended after the initial refund in 2022-23.

Percentage of accurate GST returns over the last 6 years.
Year Percentage of returns accepted without changes
2018 98.8%
2019 98.5%
2020 98.4%
2021 98.7%
2022 98.9%
2023 99.4%

The accuracy of GST refunds has increased each year since 2020 and reached 99.4% in 2023.

Income tax refunds and tax-to-pay amounts get progressively smaller for individuals

This indicator is based on how automatically issued income tax assessments for individuals are making tax simpler for New Zealanders. We use the data we get from employers every payday to increase the number of customers who pay the right amount of tax during the year.

For 2022, over 1.1 million customers paid the right amount of tax or received a small-balance write-off. The average refund and tax to pay amounts increased from 2021. Factors that have influenced these results include; fluctuating income, incorrect tax codes, people being on the wrong prescribed investor rate, and the timing of when banks and financial institutions implemented changes for the 39% marginal tax rate in 2022.

2023 results are preliminary and may change, as customers with a tax agent have until 31 March 2024 to finalise their assessments. The 2023 decrease in the average tax to pay may be partly due to customers becoming more aware of the implications of using the right tax rates and our early intervention to quickly identify and advise customers of potential tax rate concerns.

Average refund and tax to pay for the last 5 years.
Year Average refund Average tax to pay
2019 $430 $378
2020 $394 $458
2021 $354 $471
2022 $376 $562
2023 (Provisional)  $432 $511

Note: 2023 information is at 30 June 2023, 2019 information is as at 31 March 2020, 2020 information is at 31 March 2021, 2021 information is at 31 March 2022 and 2022 information is at 31 March 2023.

Timeliness of social policy payments

We look at how long it takes to pay the following social policy payments, ensuring customers receive the payments they’re entitled to in a timely manner.

3 out of 3 targets were achieved.

We achieved all 3 timeliness targets. 

  • Working for Families Tax Credit payments made on the first regular payment date following an application.
  • Paid parental leave payments made on the first pay day following the agreed date of entitlement.
  • Child support assessments paid by liable parents on time.

Read more about the above measures here.

Services to process obligations and entitlements

Management of debt and unfiled returns

Working for Families Tax Credits overpayments or underpayments get progressively smaller

Working for Families Tax Credits (WFFTC) includes 4 types of payments, each with different eligibility rules. The payments depend on income, the number of dependent children and any shared care arrangements.

We aim to improve the accuracy and give customers more certainty of their WFFTC payments by detecting changes in customers’ incomes and adjusting payments when necessary. Payment accuracy also partly relies on customers giving us timely updates if their circumstances change.

We continue to improve our early interventions to pick up changes to customer income that will affect their entitlements. We’re also assessing what customers need to be aware of, and understand at different points in their lives, to ensure our communications are proactive, timely, relevant and effective. This work has helped to make sure families are getting their payments throughout the year when they need it.

Working for Families accuracy levels for the last 4 years.
Year Te Tari Taake, Inland Revenue customers within 10–20% of their entitlement Te Tari Taake, Inland Revenue customers within 10% of their entitlement
2020 55% 13%
2021 53% 13%
2022 52% 12%
2023 54% 13%

Overall, accuracy levels have remained steady over the last 4 years. For those customers that received their payments during the year, two-thirds received within 20% of what they should have. This is a positive result given the external factors that have increased income variability for customers over this time-COVID-19, the economic environment and adverse weather events. We continue to get large numbers of updates from families advising of changes to their circumstances, making it a challenge to maintain accurate payments. Customers can also opt to receive their entitlement following the finalisation of their income tax assessment.

This year, we have been out in communities to let families know about WFFTC and encourage families to register, especially if they were not aware they were eligible. We’ve also identified the customers who need us most and focused on helping them to get the right payments at the right time.

In February, we contacted each of our lowest-income families with a minimum family tax credit entitlement to make sure they would receive the right entitlement for the new year starting 1 April 2023. A specialised team works on minimum family tax credit as their priority. They ensure we capture customer changes quickly to give families certainty of their ongoing payments and what they will receive.

We continue to look at ways we can improve the delivery of Working for Families to better meet families' expectations. This includes playing an active part in the Government’s Working for Families review, and wider Debt to Government Project work.

Note: Results are for customers who receive WFFTC payments during the year. Results for 2020, 2021 and 2022 are as at 30 June 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. Provisional 2023 results are as at 30 June 2023, noting that a number of 2023 assessments are still to be finalised.

Last updated: 18 Dec 2023
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