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Improvements to tax treatment for volunteers

Media Release

17 May 2007

Planned improvements to tax treatment of volunteers’ reimbursements welcomed

The announcement that the Government is to undertake work to clarify and streamline the tax treatment of volunteers’ reimbursement payments and honoraria is welcomed by Volunteering New Zealand.

Many of the more than million plus volunteers in New Zealand also meet a range of expenses from their own funds. Some may receive reimbursement payments or honoraria from their host organisations as recompense for this.

“However this is an area of confusion and uncertainty in terms of taxation,” said Tim Burns, Executive Director of Volunteering New Zealand.

“By the letter of the law, even reimbursements of documented expenses should be declared in an annual tax return to Inland Revenue, even if not then taxed.

“Other payments such as honoraria and petrol payments without supporting documentation may be taxable.”

These are the areas which the Government has stated it will be working on. That is positive news, as is the National Party statement that volunteer’s reimbursement expenses should not be taxed.

“Reimbursement payments to volunteers should be treated in the same manner as those received by paid workers and this should include payments such as reasonable honoraria”, Mr Burns said.


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