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Government assistance for families

In many cases some financial assistance is available while raising our children. This all seems great until you actually try to find out what you’re entitled to and how to claim your fair share. Many of us give up the search in sheer frustration.

We’ve put together some information on the most common payments that will hopefully make the process easier for you and will alleviate you having to stand in a queue with a crying baby for what seems like hours just to find out that you’re in the wrong department of a government office. Of course, this information is only of a general nature, for more detailed information visit the Inland Revenue Department website.

New Zealand Family Assistance

The Working For Families website provides detailed information about the payments available to you for your family. Working for Families is delivered by Work and Income and Inland Revenue.

Working for Families Tax Credits are made up of four types of payments:

  • family tax credit
  • in-work tax credit
  • minimum family tax credit
  • parental tax credit

You can contact Working For Families regarding tax credits by calling the Inland Revenue on 0800 227 773 (remember to have your IRD number handy).

The amount you receive will depend on your total family income, and its source, and how many dependent children under 18 years of age are living with you. There’s plenty of great information in the Working for Families Tax Credits section of the IRD website including tools to work out whether you are entitled to these tax credits, and how much you can get. There is also detailed information on how you go about applying. Each family situation is different and you should seek advice from IRD about your particular circumstances.

The information you provide in your Working For Families Tax Credit Registration pack (IR200) will be used to assess your entitlement. You can get a copy of an IR200 registration pack by calling the automated stationery line on 0800 257 773 or alternatively you can register online from the IRD website.

If you are applying for Working For Families Tax Credits for the first time you will need to provide the following information:

  • your IRD number
  • your bank account number
  • the amount of income before tax you expect to receive for the whole tax year
  • your spouse or partner’s full name, IRD number and details of their income earned (before tax and for the whole tax year), if applicable.
  • the details of the children in your care – full names, date of birth, date the child started living with you (if different from date of birth) and the children’s IRD numbers.

If you are registering a newborn child you will need to provide a birth certificate and a completed IR595 application form (you can get this from the website or call 0800 257 773.)

Paid Parental Leave may also be an option for some families. An Accommodation Supplement and Childcare Assistance may also be an option and you can find out if you are eligible for this by visiting the Work and Income website or contacting them on 0800 774 004.

In the 2014 Budget the Government has announced a package of extra support for families to take effect from the 2014/2015 tax year.
This extra support includes;

  • an extension of paid parental leave of an additional four weeks, starting with a two-week extension from 1 April 2015, and another two weeks from 1 April 2016.
  • extending eligibility of paid parental leave to caregivers other than parents and to extend parental leave payments to people in less-regular jobs or who recently changed jobs.
  • for babies born on or after 1 April 2015 the Government will increase the parental tax credit from $150 a week to $220 a week, and extend the payment period from 8 weeks to 10 weeks.

For more details, see the release Government to boost parental leave provisions by Minster of Labour, Hon Simon Bridges.

To stay up to date as the proposed parental leave changes come into effect visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

For more information see Parenting advice or Parenting.

Last updated May 2014