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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

Illustration of a house, blue sky and green gardenThe Rates Rebate Scheme was established in 1973 to provide a subsidy to low-income homeowners on the cost of their rates (see The Rates Rebate Act 1973 for more information).

Applications for the 2017/18 rating year are now open, and close on 30 June 2018.

How to apply

You need to apply to your local council, by filling out a Rates Rebate Application Form and getting it signed by an authorised witness. You can:
  • ask your council for a paper form, or
  • download the form.
Rates Rebate Application Form for 2017/18 (PDF, 264K)*

Who can apply

If you have a low income and pay the rates on your home, you could get a rebate or reduction of up to $620. Rates rebates are administered by local councils and paid for by central government.

To apply, you MUST be:
  • the person who pays the rates on the property that's your home
  • living in your home on 1 July 2017
  • listed as the ratepayer in the council's Rating Information Database (RID) — this has all the information about rates and ratepayers for every property in your council's area.
You can't apply if:
  • you're not the legal rate payer
  • your property is mainly used for commercial activities, for example farming or business
  • your property is a rental property or holiday home.
If you move during the year, check with your local council to find out if you can still get a rates rebate.

If you're an owner-occupier or live in a company share
If you live in an owner-occupier flat, such as a company share flat or apartment, your name may not be on the rates bill even though you pay rates.

To apply for a rebate you'll need to get the person whose name is on the rates bill to complete a declaration form saying what your total rates are and how much your share is.

Owner-occupier declaration form (PDF, 38K)*

What you get

The most you can get is $620 for the current year.

Your council deducts the amount of your rebate from your rates bill. If you've already paid your rates in full they'll give you a refund.

How much you can claim depends on:
  • how much your rates are — this includes local, regional and water rates
  • your income, and
  • whether you have any dependants, such as children, living with you.
If your gross (before tax) income is $24,790 or less you can often claim the full amount. If your income is higher you may still be able to get all or part of the rebate depending on:
  • how much your rates are, and
  • how many children or other dependants are in your household.
If you have dependants, your income can be $500 more for each one. For example, if you have 2 children, then you would still be able to get the full rebate of $620 if your income is less than or equal to $25,790.

If you receive a benefit from Work and Income you may also like to take a look at this Schedule of Work and Income Benefits (PDF, 289K*). This table details the benefit rates for the tax year 2016/17 and the minimum rates payable in order to receive any or the full rebate.

When to apply

You need to apply every year to your local council after you receive your annual rates bill.

Applications for the 2017/18 rating year are now open, and close on 30 June 2018.

If you applied the year before, your council might send a new application form with your annual rates bill.

Find your local council by region.

Getting your application witnessed

You need to confirm on the form that the information you've provided is true. You do this by signing it in front of an authorised witness. People who can authorise your signature include:
  • an authorised council officer
  • a Justice of the Peace (JP)
  • a chartered accountant, or
  • a minister of religion.
Persons authorised to witness rates rebate declarations (PDF, 38K)*

*This document is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.