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Rates Rebates and You

Rates Rebates and You

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The rates rebates scheme was initially established in 1973. The scheme was designed to provide a subsidy to low income homeowners on the cost of their rates and this scheme will continue, but with a few noticeable changes. The scheme has been around for some time now with very few changes, but the new changes that we are implementing will make the scheme of real value and more effective in assisting low-income homeowners.

>From 1 July of this year, changes will come into effect that will increase the subsidies that homeowners are entitled to. The following changes will come into effect from 1 July:

· The maximum rebate will be increased from $200 to $500 · The income threshold will be increased from $7,400 to $20,000 · Additional income allowance for dependants will be increased from $156 to $500 per dependant

This means that the income threshold for a full rates rebate for the 2006/07 year is $20,000 and increases by $500 for ever dependant in your home.

You can apply for your rebate from 1 July of this year, this will cover you for the 2006/2007 rating year. The old rates for rebates can still be claimed for rates that you have paid in the years prior to 2006/2007.

Even if your income is greater than $20,000 per year, you may still be entitled to a rates rebate depending on what your rates are and how many dependants live in your home. If you want to check out the numbers, you should visit the Department of Internal Affairs website at www.dia.govt.nz/ratesrebates

To apply for a rebate, you will need to speak to your local council. The government pays the money to the local councils and that money is passed on as the rebate to your rates.

When you get your rates notice for the 2006/2007-year, take it along to the council so that you can discuss any rebate you may be entitled to. When you go to the council, you will need to take a couple of documents with you to make sure it can be completed easily and quickly.

Obviously, you will need to take your rates notice with you, but along with this, you should take some proof of your total before-tax income for the previous year. This will be the first piece of documentation the council will need to support your application. Secondly, if you have a partner earning an income or a part-owner of the property, you will need to take similar proof of their income for the same period. If you can't get this easily from your employer, contact the Inland Revenue and they will be able to issue you with a document called a Summary of Earnings for the previous year.

Having all this documentation with you when you arrive will make the process much easier and much faster. If yours is not the name on the rates notice, make sure you take a letter from the person who does have their name on the bill which says how much the rates are and how much you pay towards them.

When you are granted your rebate, the council will reduce your rates by the amount of the rebate you're entitled to. If you have already paid your rates bill, you can have your rebate paid to you as a cash payment.

ENDS

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