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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


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 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 if I moved house during the rates year?
You can still get a rates rebate if you move house, as long as you haven't claimed the rebate on your previous house. When you fill out the application form, you'll need to give information about the property you sold, including:

  • the settlement date
  • what rates you paid for the current year.
If the rebate for your previous house was quite small and the rates on your new house are much higher, ask your council if you can have your rebate assessed again.

Am I eligible if I live in a retirement village?
Some councils have special arrangements for people living in retirement villages under a licence-to-occupy agreement. Check with your council to find out if you can claim back some of the rates you paid.

What if I own more than 1 property?
If you own more than 1 property, you can't claim for other properties even if they're in a different council area.

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 $24.790, with an additional $500 allowed per dependant.

My income is over $24,790. 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 $24,790. 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 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 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: