Thousands of families do not get a tax refund for school donations
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax refunds for school donations go unclaimed each year, tax officials say.
Many tuition fees include a donation element, qualifying for a tax refund of up to 33.3% for every dollar donated.
But tax officials estimate half of school donation refunds go unclaimed, simply because families don’t realize they are eligible.
Guillaume Dehan, chief executive of Supergenerous, an online platform that automates the claims process, said around 100,000 parents and carers were missing.
“With the cost of living rising, this additional tax cut would be welcomed by many households,” he said.
Inland Revenue data shows $24 million was paid out in school donation tax credits for the year ended March 31, 2019. Nearly $23 million was refunded for the following fiscal year .
The IRD said all unclaimed donation returns go to fund government services such as roads, schools and hospitals.
Attendance at a public school is free for New Zealand students, although schools may ask for donations for general use or particular items like textbooks, materials and classroom materials.
According to the Ministry of Education, public schools and kura requesting donations should ensure that the voluntary nature of such requests is clear to parents and guardians.
State-integrated schools—those that were private but became part of the public system—could charge mandatory fees called “attendance fees” for ownership-related costs. Otherwise, they had the same donation rules as public schools.