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Applying for Working for Families Tax Credits

You can apply for Working for Families Tax Credits (WfFTC) at any time during the year.

How to apply for Working for Families Tax Credits

There are several ways you can apply for WfFTC:

What you need when you apply

When you apply for WfFTC you need to let us know:

  • the IRD numbers for you, your partner and your children
  • the bank account number you want your payments made to. This must be in the principal caregiver's name or held jointly with their spouse or partner.

You may also need to provide:

  • your estimated family income for the tax year
  • any child support paid or received through us or a private arrangement.
When you need to provide additional information

There are some situations when you'll have to provide additional information to us.

If you have a child in your care who doesn't have an IRD number

If a child in your care doesn't have an IRD number you need to:

If you haven't confirmed their IRD number with us within eight weeks of applying, the WfFTC payments for them will stop. They can be restarted when we get their IRD number.

You or your partner are self-employed

You need to send us evidence to support your income estimate. It can be a:

  • copy of the annual accounts of the business for the previous year
  • set of budgeted accounts of the business for the current year
  • return filed for either of the previous two tax years.

You weren't born in New Zealand or you don't have New Zealand citizenship

To be entitled to Working for Families Tax Credits you need to meet the residency requirements. If you weren't born in New Zealand, or you don't have New Zealand citizenship, you may need to send us a copy of your and/or your children's residence visa.

Your child is in shared care

If your child is in shared care you need to complete and send us a Shared care details (IR836) form.

You have more than six children

If you have more than six children you need to complete and send us a More than six children (IR835) form.

You want to claim WfFTC for previous years and your details are different from the current year

If you want to claim WfFTC for previous years and your income or family details are different from the current year, you need to complete and send us a Working for Families Tax Credits - Family details (IR837) form for the relevant year.

When you don't need to apply

You don't need to complete an application form if you've received:

  • WfFTC after 31 March 2000, or
  • family tax credit payments from Work and Income.

You still need to tell us about any change in your family or income.

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Registering your baby and Best Start tax credit

If you haven't registered your baby's birth yet, you can apply for their IRD number and the Best Start tax credit (BSTC) when you complete the birth registration form online through SmartStart.

Note: If you register for BSTC through SmartStart and want to receive the other Working for Families Tax Credits, you'll need to provide us your income details. You can do this in myIR.

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Choose how often you want to receive your payments

You can choose to receive your payments:

  • weekly
  • fortnightly, or
  • as a lump sum after the end of the tax year (31 March).

We pay directly into the bank or building society account of the principal caregiver.

If you choose weekly or fortnightly payments

You need to estimate your family income for the whole year as accurately as possible. We work out your entitlement on this estimated income.  

Find out more about estimating your family income

After the end of the tax year, we work out how much WfFTC you're entitled to based on your actual income for the year. If you underestimated you may end up having to pay us back. If you overestimated you may receive a refund of the extra entitlement.

If you choose an annual lump sum payment

You could choose to receive WfFTC as a lump sum payment if:

  • your family income changes often, eg, the hours you or your partner work changes
  • you or your partner are unsure of your income, or
  • you find it hard to accurately estimate your family income.

Lump sum payments are based on your actual income for the year.  

Changing when you get paid

You can change between weekly, fortnightly and lump sum payment options at any time during the year. You may want to do this for budgeting reasons, or because you have changes in your family or income. You can update your information in myIR.

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What happens after you've applied

We'll send you a letter to let you know we received your application within 10 working days. This will also include a brochure with more information about WfFTC.

If you choose weekly or fortnightly payments

Within four weeks we'll send you a notice of entitlement which shows you how much you'll receive and the date of your first payment.

If you choose a lump sum annual payment

In April, after the end of the tax year (31 March), we'll send you a change of circumstances letter to confirm your family details.