School and Charity Donations Tax Refunds: What You Can Claim and How to Apply

Canstar explains how much you can claim on a donation to a school or charity, plus how to apply.

Which donations can I claim a tax refund for?

In New Zealand, you can claim a tax credit for donations made to eligible charities and some schools. You can claim a tax refund for donations of at least $5, as long as the donation meets the following criteria:

  • Was to an approved charity or organisation
  • Did not provide any direct benefit to yourself or your family
  • Was not bequeathed through a will or made by way of full/partial debt forgiveness

What about school donations?

You can claim for donations to most schools and parent-teacher associations. However, you are unable to claim a tax refund for:

  • Public or private school tuition fees
  • Tertiary school fees
  • Attendance dues
  • Parent-teacher association membership fees
  • Costs associated with a student partaking in a voluntary activity which is not part of the school curriculum
  • Costs of materials for something a student made at school and took home (e.g. an item made in a woodwork class)

Who can claim donation tax credits?

You are eligible to receive tax credits for your donations if you meet the conditions outlined below:

  • You are making a claim as an individual and not representing a trust, partnership, or company
  • You received taxable income in the tax year for which you are seeking a donation claim
  • You were a tax resident of New Zealand at any point within the tax year, spanning from April 1 to March 31

How much can I claim?

The maximum amount you can claim in a tax year is determined by the lesser of:

  • 33.33% of your overall donations
  • 33.33% of your taxable income

If your total donations exceed your taxable income, you have the option to divide your donations with your spouse or partner. In this case, you would claim up to your taxable income amount, and your spouse or partner would claim the remainder, up to their taxable income.

How long do I have to claim a donation tax refund?

For a donation, you can submit the receipt at any time within four years of:

  • 1 April, following the end of the tax year in which you made the donation, if you have an early or standard balance date
  • The day after the end of your income year, corresponding to the tax year in which you made the donation, if you have a late balance date

How do I apply for a donation tax refund?

What you’ll need

To apply for a tax refund on your donation, you’ll need a receipt. Your receipt needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Be in your, or your partner’s name
  • State the amount and date of the donation
  • Show that it’s for a donation
  • Be signed by an authorised person
  • Be on the organisation’s letterhead or show its name and official stamp
  • Show the organisation’s IRD number or registration number with Charities Services
  • Show the word ‘copy’ or ‘replacement’ if it’s a replacement receipt

You’ll also need your bank account number and to be registered to a donation tax credit account.

Steps for applying

1. Register for a donation tax credit account – if you don’t already have one

Log in to myIR. If ‘donation tax credit’ is not an option on your home page, you can register by selecting ‘I want to…’ then, ‘Register for donation tax credit’.

Fill in the registration form and hit ‘submit’.

2. Within myIR, choose the option ‘Input donation tax credit receipts’ within your donation tax credit account

3. Select ‘Add a receipt’

4. Fill in the following details:

  • The name of the charity or school you donated to, its IRD number and charity number
  • The type and amount of donation
  • Receipt date
  • If the receipt is shared with a spouse/partner

5. Attach and submit the receipt

Select ‘Include receipt attachment’ and subsequently ‘Select file’ to locate and upload your file(s). Your receipt can take the form of an electronic receipt or a picture or scan of a paper receipt. For easy identification of the attached receipts, you have the option to provide a description for each document.

Confirm your details are correct then select ‘submit’.

If you would like to transfer part or all of your credit to another tax account for you or someone else, select Yes. If not, select No and then select ‘Submit’.

Compare everyday accounts with Canstar

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

Enjoy reading this article?

You can like us on Facebook and get social, or sign up to receive more news like this straight to your inbox.

By subscribing you agree to the Canstar Privacy Policy

Share this article