Get the most out of the IRD

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Justine Glu­cina

Auck­lan­ders are owed more than $200 mil­lion in tax re­funds – and by go­ing on­line you could re­claim your slice of the tax re­fund pie.

A new web­site launched last month is a first for New Zealand and helps work­ers check if they are en­ti­tled to any of the es­ti­mated $700m in un­claimed tax re­funds na­tion­wide.

And there is no fear the In­land Rev­enue Depart­ment will come knock­ing on your door if you owe money.

“With the in­ter­net based sys­tem, peo­ple put in their IRD num­ber and get a free es­ti­mate with no fear they will be sent a bill,” says di­rec­tor of TaxRe­funds.co.nz Ge­off Matthews.

“Ev­ery day we’re find­ing mid­dle to low in­come earn­ers and fam­i­lies get­ting thou­sands of dol­lars worth of re­funds,” he says.

Around 77 per­cent of peo­ple who have ap­plied on­line have re­ceived three years worth of tax re­funds out of a pos­si­ble five years they can claim from.

While the av­er­age re­fund per per­son is $416, there have been some “amaz­ing re­sults” in the last four weeks.

“A Fon­terra worker re­ceived $23,700 over a three­year pe­riod be­cause the worker’s bonus pay­ments were be­ing taxed at toohighMr Matthews says.

One solo mum on $70,000 a year was due $6300 over two years.

Mr Matthews says many tax­pay­ers with de­pen­dent chil­dren are un­aware they can claim a Work­ing For Fam­i­lies tax credit, and says a fam­ily with three chil­dren on $52,000 a year, could get $9672 back.

“We have also picked up a lot of pen­sion­ers who are pay­ing in­ter­est on sav­ings at the high­est rate, and are due a sig­nif­i­cant re­turn,” he says.

“We have seen a num­ber of $1000 re­funds for this group.”

The site has a built-in cal­cu­la­tor where peo­ple can key in the num­ber of chil­dren and re­ceive an in­stant es­ti­ma­tion of how much they are owed.

The process takes about a lunch-time to com­plete, but Mr Matthews says “it’s the best lunch-time you’ll ever spend”.

“Peo­ple who re­mem­ber fill­ing in tax re­forms re­mem­ber how painful it was.

“We’ve found a mech­a­nism that’s fast and easy with no obli­ga­tions,” he says.

It is the only in­ter­net­based sys­tem cer­ti­fied for efi by the IRD.

“We of­fer the low­est rates in the coun­try, 12.5 per­cent for fil­ing tax re­funds, with a min­i­mum fee of $12.50 and a max­i­mum fee of $500 per re­fund,” Mr Matthews says.

“Any fee is au­to­mat­i­cally de­ducted from the re­fund so there’s no money up front, and if there’s no re­fund then we charge no fee,” Mr Matthews says.

“It’s up to you to come and claim it.”

To get your free tax re­fund es­ti­ma­tion visit www.taxre­funds.co.nz. • Res­i­dents in the Auck­land City Har­bour News area make up 2.5 per­cent of New Zealand’s pop­u­la­tion, or 101,890 peo­ple based on the 2006 con­sen­sus, and are owed $17.7 mil­lion in tax re­funds. They are owed about $21.9 mil­lion in tax re­funds.

Photo: FIONA GOODALL

Money to burn: Ge­off Matthews, di­rec­tor of the new web­site tax re­funds.co.nz, says peo­ple are get­ting thou­sands of dol­lars worth of tax re­funds by sim­ply fill­ing in an on­line form.

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