Services › Rates Rebate Scheme › Questions and Answers
Below are the answers to questions we are commonly asked about rates rebates. If you require further information please contact your local council.
What is the Rates Rebate Scheme?
The Rates Rebates Scheme provides assistance in the form of a rebate (ie a deduction in your rates bill) to those on low incomes to assist them in meeting the cost of their rates.
Can I apply for a rates rebate?
You can apply for a rates rebate if you were the legal ratepayer for the property where you were usually living on 1 July 2016. As a ratepayer your name should be on the rates bill.
Can I apply for a rates rebate if I pay the rates but my name is not on the rates bill?
You have to be the legal ratepayer to apply for a rates rebate. In other words, you must be the person directly liable for the payment of local authority rates for the property that is your home. To be the legal ratepayer, and have your name on the rates bill, you must either be the owner of the property or have a specific type of lease. You will need to contact your local council to see if you qualify as a ratepayer and can be entered in the council’s rating information database and district valuation roll. The only exception is for the occupiers of owner/occupier flats (often referred to as company share flats or apartments).
What is the maximum rates rebate value?
The maximum rebate for the current rating year (1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017) is $610.
What is the level of the income threshold?
The income threshold for the current rating year (1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017) is $24,470. The income threshold is increased by $500 for each dependant living with the ratepayer, for example, if two children who are dependants are living with a ratepayer then the income threshold would be $25,470.
How is the rebate calculated?
The rebate covers up to two-thirds of a rates bill less a minimum contribution of $160. The rebate is further abated by $1 for every $8 by which the income of the ratepayer (and their spouse/partner) exceeds the income abatement threshold of $24,470, with an additional $500 allowed per dependant.
What income do I need to declare?
You need to declare the income that you, and any spouse, partner or joint home owner living with you on 1 July 2016, received for the tax year ended 31 March 2016. Income must be the amount received before tax and also includes some types of non-taxable income, such as certain Work and Income allowances. See the section “What constitutes income?” for further information.
My income is over $24,470. Will I be eligible for a rates rebate?
You might be eligible, even if you and your spouse/partner’s income is over the income threshold of $24,470. Eligibility is based on your income level as well as the rates you pay and the number of dependants living with you. If you are not sure if you are eligible, ask your council.
How do I apply for a rates rebate?
Rates rebate applications are processed by local councils. Contact your local council, which will provide you with an application form to fill out and will process your completed application.
How is a rates rebate paid?
The amount of any rates rebate to which a ratepayer is entitled is usually paid as a credit to that person’s rates account. In effect the amount of rates owed by the ratepayer for the rating year will be reduced by the amount of the rebate. If a ratepayer has paid the whole rates bill for the rating year then that person is entitled to a cash refund.
Can I still apply for a rebate for the current rating year?
Yes, you may apply for a rebate for the current rating year right up until 30 June 2017. Rebates for this current rating year are based on the current settings, including a maximum rebate of $610. To apply, contact your local council.
How many households are claiming rebates?
Since the updated scheme came into effect on 1 July 2006, an average of approximately 110,500 households claimed a rates rebate for each complete rating year. The Department of Internal Affairs continues to work with councils to promote the Scheme, and is working with community and budget advice groups so that more people can take advantage of the rebate.
Can I get any other government assistance to help me with rates?
Besides rates rebates, you might be eligible for an Accommodation Supplement – contact Work and Income for more information. To find out if you are eligible, call Work and Income on freephone 0800 559 009 or 0800 552 002 if you are 65 or over. For further information, go to: http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/accommodation-supplement.html