Here's a do-it-yourself job that literally pays: claiming your tax refund. Instead of using a company to do this for you, the DIY approach means all of your refund reaches your pocket.

How much of a difference might this make? Well if you use a tax refund company, a cut goes to them, perhaps as high as 20 per cent. The other day a friend of ours was celebrating $750 coming his way, not realising he'd never see $150 of that.

There are a couple of myths to bust here: that refund companies shield you if you owe tax (they don't) or that they'll get you a bigger refund (they won't).

Some folks get nervous about tax matters and dealing with Inland Revenue directly. But using this "non-obligation" online calculator, and checking if you're due a refund or not, does not go on Inland Revenue records. All you need to do is see if you've got money coming to you.


Most of us who have been paying taxes as we receive our regular income throughout the year won't get a refund. But for those who worked part of the year, received a lump sum, had more than one employer or have expenses to claim, there could be a windfall. It's easy to check.
How to easily check if you're eligible and get your refund

Step 1. Tick the boxes that apply to you on this Inland Revenue page. How's it looking?

Step 2. If it's looking good, in mid-May register or log in to myIR. Use their calculator to figure out how much of a refund it will be. Then request your 2016/17 Personal tax summary, which confirms your refund and account details.

Step 3. In mid-June, confirm that your PTS is correct in myIR. Once you do, your refund will be paid out within five working days!

But will it go to you, or your tax refund company? Read on if you've already signed up and need to disentangle yourself.

How to remove your tax refund company from your account

If you've already given authority over your account to a tax refund company, allowing them to act on your behalf, it's time to consider removing them. Here's how:

Step 1. Notify the company that you want to de-link. (There can be terms and conditions you've signed that lock you in - so you'll need to check that.)


Step 2. Contact Inland Revenue and request to be "de-linked from your PTSI" (your personal tax summary intermediary).

Step 3. Check that the bank account Inland Revenue have for you is correct, so you receive your refund.

So sure, getting a refund is a "woohoo" moment. But isn't getting the entire refund even better? Here are some ideas on what to do with that windfall.