This page describes the Rates Rebates low income ratepayers may qualify for, outlines the criteria and eligibility, and explains how to apply for a rates rebate.
What is the purpose of a Rates Rebate?
The purpose of a Rates Rebate is to assist ratepayers on low incomes to pay their residential rates.
How do I know if I am eligible?
Eligibility is determined by your income; the level of rates you pay, whether you are the sole ratepayer for the property, and the number of dependants you have.
How much is the Rebate?
The maximum rebate is $590 per annum. The income threshold is $23,650. However if you earn more than this you may be entitled to a lesser amount.
If you are a ratepayer, our website Rebate Calculator from the link below allows you to estimate the rebate you may be eligible for. You need to search for your property, then enter your gross income and number of dependants. The exact amount of the rebate will be worked out when your application has been accepted.
How Do I Apply for the Rebate?
There is a standard application form that you must complete. Your application must be witnessed by one of the following:
- A Justice of the Peace;
- A barrister or solicitor;
- An authorised council officer;
- Another person authorised to witness declarations under the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957
- Chartered Accountants
- Minister of Religion
For most people this means that they will have to personally bring their application to the Council offices at 16 Cobham Court, so that it can be witnessed. Please make an appointment by phoning the Council Contact Centre on (04) 237 5089.
Can I apply for prior years?
No – this rebate only applies from the 1st July 2012 onwards.
I need to discuss my application.
You will need to phone our Contact Centre on (04) 237 5089 to make an appointment with one of our customer service staff.
How can I get an Application Form?
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post one out to you;
- Telephone us at (04) 237 5089 and we will post one out to you;
- Call in to the Council offices at 16 Cobham Court and we will give you a form
- Download and print an Application Form (see link below)
Once you have completed the form you can either post it to:
Porirua City Council
PO Box 50 218
Bring it in to
16 Cobham Court
Is There Any Other Supporting Information I Need?
Yes. Proof of income for the tax year ending March 2012 or a IRD tax summary for the tax year ending March 2012. If you received interest or dividends in this tax year you must supply your withholding tax certificate.
Is There A Deadline To Apply?
All Councils work on a financial year that goes from 1 July to 30 June. To obtain a rebate for the rates charged in the year from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, you must apply by 30 June 2013, so there is no rush to be in early!
How Do I Get The Rebate?
The rebate is credited to your rate account in full. If you have a fixed automatic payment you may need to adjust it or in the case of a direct debit arrangement Council will adjust the payments. If you apply late in the year in a way that takes your account into a credit balance, we will refund you any surplus you have paid on request.
How Long Will It Take To Approve the Application?
Council expects to make an initial decision on your application within 20 working days. We are worried though, that we will be swamped with applications at the start, and won’t be able to meet that target. If we approve the application, the rebate is credited to your account straight away.
All applications are sent to the Department of Internal Affairs. If their checking reveals that the application does not meet the scheme's criteria, then any rebate we have credited to your account will be reversed and we will contact you to explain what the problem is. We expect this to be very rare.
Do I Need To Reapply Each Year?
Yes you do. We intend to set up a process where people who have successfully obtained a rebate one year will automatically be sent an application form the following year. You have to submit the same type of information each year and complete a new declaration each year.
What Happens if I Sell and Buy Another Property During the Year?
The original rebate stays with the property for which it was granted, and it will be up to you and your solicitor to make sure that the benefit of the rebate to you is taken into account in the settlement of the sale. If the rates on your new property are higher than the rates on your old property, and you did not get the maximum rebate, you can apply to have the rebate recalculated and a further rebate granted.
What is the maximum income I can earn before I no longer qualify for a Rate rebate?
This will depend on the annual amount of your rates. The table below indicates the maximum income amounts where you do not have dependants living with you. Visit our Property and Rating Database to work out your entitlement, after searching on your property address.
There is an additional income allowance of $500 for each dependant living with you.
What Counts as Income?
For people not self employed:
Income is all money you and your spouse (if they are resident at the property) have received during the income tax year ended 31 March except
Any capital money you have received; e.g. inheritance, prizes and winnings, sale of personal assets;
Any war widows pension or war disability pension;
Disability Allowance, Child Disability Allowance, Orphans and Unsupported Childs Benefit, Home Schooling Allowance;
Any grant to funeral expenses;
Any money received by the recipient of a military decoration in respect of any military decoration;
Any family support paid to you;
Any salary or wages paid to a beneficiary before they commenced receiving that benefit except for New Zealand Superannuation, ACC earnings compensation, or sickness and unemployment benefits.
Therefore if you were granted a benefit or pension (but not New Zealand Superannuation, ACC earnings compensation, or sickness and unemployment benefits) during the last income tax year:
You do need to declare:
This applies to:
- Widow's and domestic purposes benefit;
- Invalid's benefit;
- Domestic purposes benefit for caregivers;
- Related emergency benefits;
- War veterans pension;
- Veterans pension;
- New Zealand superannuation;
For People Self-Employed:
Income is your income for tax purposes for the preceding year, plus any income you have received from any other source, plus your spouse's income if they are resident at the property.
My spouse doesn't live at this property – do I still have to count their income?
Only if they were originally residing at the property on the 1st of July. If the ratepayer separated from their spouse or partner, or if their spouse or partner died before 1 July, then the ratepayer doesn't need to include the partner or spouse's income in the application.
Who Is the Ratepayer?
The ratepayer is the person as defined under the Local Government Rating Act. This is almost always the legal owner (or owners) of the property. However a ratepayer can also include:
- any person who lives on a property according to the terms of a will or trust. If a person occupies a property and has a life interest in that property in terms of the will or trust that requires that person to pay the rates then he/she may qualify for a rates rebate;
- who is classified as a beneficial owner in principle but who is not registered in the rating information database may apply for a rates rebate. The applicant will need to provide evidence that he/she comes into this category as a beneficial owner. It should be noted that a trust as a separate entity may not apply for a rate rebate. For example "The John Smith Family Trust" may not apply for a rate rebate but John Smith if a named ratepayer or beneficial owner may apply. John Smith may also be a trustee There are some situations that may appear unfair where we may be unable to approve a rebate.
An example is:
- Where the applicant lives in a retirement village and technically the retirement village company is the ratepayer, even though they are passing the rates on to the residents to pay.
Who Qualifies as a dependant?
A dependant has to be normally living at the property at 1 July in the year for which you are claiming a rebate.
There are two types of dependant the law provides for.
- A child is under 18 years old at 1 July, and is neither married, nor in a civil union, nor a de facto relationship:
- The child’s care is the responsibility of the applicant or their spouse;
- Is maintained as a member of the ratepayer's family;
- Is financially dependant on the ratepayer or their spouse;
- Does not receive payments under Children Youth & Family Act.
(2) Dependant Relative
- A relative by blood, marriage, or adoption who is normally living at the property on 1 July and at that date receives a social security benefit excluding NZ Superannuation.
Links to more rating information