Stretching your charity dollar even further – BusinessDesk article

By Frances Cook – 5 May 2022


If you care enough to donate to charity, you probably also care enough to want your money to go as far as possible.

So the good news is that you can use the tax system to boost your donations, at no extra cost to yourself.

Donations, including school donations, can have tax claimed back on them. A third of your donation can be claimed back, or 33.33 cents for every dollar.

Inland Revenue Department (IRD) figures show that in 2019, the average person claimed back $746.90 in donation rebates. That’s a hefty sum and one that you can continue to put to work by donating it yet again if you choose to.

A 33% boost to your charitable giving, without having to spend your own cash? Yes, please.

How it works

Here’s the fine print: you have to be claiming as an individual, and you need to have earned taxed income in New Zealand over the course of the year.

That’s what the refund is for, it’s giving back some of the tax you’ve paid over the course of the year to reward your charitable efforts.

You’ll also need proof of your donation. Most charities will automatically issue a receipt that has everything you need on it, but make sure it includes your full name, amount and date that you donated, the organisation’s name, registration and IRD number, and a receipt number.

And yes, you heard right, school donations count.

Voluntary school donations – whether it’s a general donation or for a specific purpose such as textbooks, school trips, or equipment – can all be claimed back.

Who to claim through

There’s more than one way to do it, but the simplest way seems to be going directly through the IRD’s online portal, myIR.

If you do it this way, you can submit at any time through the year, whenever you’ve made a donation and received your receipt.

It’s a pretty good benefit to claim back as you go; no need to wait for the end of the tax year, then forget in the rush of last-minute filings.

There is a four year limit on being able to claim back, so getting it done and dusted is a good way to stop it from building up to become a big task that’s never done.

An IRD spokesperson said it also means you should receive your refund sooner.

Or you could try an organisation like SuperGenerous, a platform that claims to make the whole process a lot easier.

A spokesperson said that you can sign up and nominate every organisation that you’ve donated to, and SuperGenerous will track down the receipts for you, and submit everything from the last four years all at once.

Using SuperGenerous also means that you can choose to regift your tax credit automatically, to the organisations of your choice. They will then keep submitting your tax claim each year automatically.

The fine print is they clip the ticket, taking 10% of any rebate you qualify for.

So if you’ve let it build up for a while, and are dreading hunting down the receipts, maybe SuperGenerous could be a good choice.

Otherwise, it seems easier to just file as you go through myIR.