Pat Pilcher: Tax refund app makes it easy to get money

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You'd be forgiven for mistaking this for a belated April fool's joke. An app has launched that makes getting money from the Government a painless online process, although there is a gotcha you may want to weigh up before registering the app.

Called the "Woohoo tax app", it is likely to be an instant hit for anyone who's endured the pain of filling out a tax return. Taxation might be about as fun as a DIY cranial lobotomy or root canal surgery, but getting a refund is a pleasant surprise.

For those wanting some motivation to test the app, consider this. According to Cilla Hegarty, CEO and founder of NZ Tax Refunds, the average tax refund in works out at about $464 - the price of a smartphone or entry level tablet.

There is also said to be a big pile of unclaimed tax cash that many don't realise they're entitled to. Because of miscalculated deductions, missed exemptions/rebates, or even just using the wrong tax code, Inland Revenue are sitting on a growing pile of unclaimed tax dollars.

The Woohoo tax app is available as a free download from the Apple App store or Google Play from 1 April.

According to Hegarty, The app came about because of customer feedback.

"Our customers are generally phone/technology savvy and busy people. Our app makes it easier and quicker for them to get their tax refunds from literally anywhere they have access to the web."

Hegarty also says that The WooHoo app is the only app in New Zealand that allows tax refunds to be processed in real time. This means that customers can receive their tax refund faster than if they'd used a tax agent.

Refunds are deposited into a customer's bank account within two days.

Using the Woohoo app was pretty straightforward. Even this accountancy ignorant and tax phobic writer got it working. This involved downloading the app to from either the Apple App store or Google Play. After entering my name, address and mobile phone number, Inland Revenue number and bank account details I answered a series of simple income related questions. I was able to see if I had any tax refund money coming.

Turns out that I didn't, but the entire process took minutes to finish.

Although the app is free to download, there are costs involved. If you don't receive a tax refund, there's no fee. For those lucky enough to grab a handful of lolly back off the Government, NZ Tax Refunds takes 14 per cent off the refund.

A potential gotcha however is that registering the app also see's NZ Refunds potentially becoming your default tax agent. Although NZ Tax Refunds say you can easily de-register, they're likely to be counting on a people not reading the apps fine print and potentially forgetting to de-register. This sadly undermines the convenience of the app, making it difficult to recommend.

- NZ Herald

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