One way of staying sorted financially is to make sure you don't overpay someone else for something you can easily do yourself for free. Why would you ever?
Case in point: tax refunds. Yep, it's that time of year again, and we can all easily find out if a refund is coming our way. Up to now you may have been hoping; now's the time for checking.
The team at Inland Revenue have made it simple to find out – without even having to file any forms or give them any information.
Turns out if you've been working part time, been on an extended break from work, or had a couple of jobs this past year, you could be due a refund. If you've been earning less than $48,000 a year and don't receive Working for Families tax credits, you may be eligible, too.
Don't bother with a refund company
Sure, you may have reasons why you'd opt for letting a refund company get your tax refund for you:
• You've been doing this for years now.
• It worked the last time around.
• You think they may be able to get you more of a refund.
• Dealing with taxes makes you a bit nervous, and you'd rather let a refund company deal with Inland Revenue.
But here are good reasons why those don't cut it:
• You've been giving away part of your refund! Companies take their cut, as much as 20 per cent, which could be coming to you instead. So instead of say, $750, you end up with just $600.
• A refund company can't get you more of a refund than you're due, and Inland Revenue makes it easy for you to get it yourself. For free!
• It's a myth that tax refund companies can somehow shield you from Inland Revenue – it's actually much simpler to just deal with IR directly.
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, here's how to remove them:
Step 1. Notify the company that you want to de-link. You may want to check whether you've signed any terms and conditions that lock you in.
Step 3. Check that the bank account Inland Revenue holds for you is correct, so you'll receive your refund. This can also be checked and updated in myIR.
Three steps over three months to get your refund
To take care of this yourself, follow these three simple steps now, then in May and in June:
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 the "no-obligation" calculator to figure out if you will have a refund.
If you do, request your 2017/18 Personal Tax Summary (PTS), which will show your refund and account details.
Step 3. In mid-June, your final PTS will be available. Log in to myIR and confirm that it is correct. Once you do, your refund will be paid out within five working days.
Hopefully you've got money coming to you. If you are eligible for a refund, here are some strategies for things you can do with that windfall when it arrives.