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The Cost of Living Payment is a payment to help with the rising costs of inflation and you do not have to pay it back if you meet the eligibility criteria. On this page, we explain who can get the payment, based on the criteria set by the Government. 

You do not need to apply for the payment

We'll pay you the Cost of Living Payment automatically if you're eligible. You do not need to apply.

Make sure we have your correct bank account number for your Income tax account in case you are eligible. You can check your bank account information in myIR. If you do not have a myIR account, you can register for one. Otherwise, you can call us on 0800 473 777. If you’re registered for voice ID, you can do this 24/7 and there is no wait time. Alternatively, we have people to help you from 8am to 6pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Register for myIR

Payment dates and rate

The total Cost of Living Payment is $350 which will be split into 3 monthly payments starting 1 August.

For most people, the 3 main payment dates are:

  • 1 August 2022 - $116.67
  • 1 September 2022 - $116.67
  • 3 October (the first business day of the month) - $116.66.

If you have a credit union account, you'll get your payment the day after each payment date. 

The payment will show as 'CostOfLiving' in your bank account. In myIR the date displayed is the processing date and may be earlier than the day you get your payment.

In some situations, you may get some of the main payments and a lump sum, or just a lump sum. Find out more under 'Your income tax assessment or return will confirm your income' below.

When you might see the payment in your bank account

Due to the large number of payments, we will stagger them throughout each payment day. Some customers will get their payment before others.

Who will get the payment

We'll check who is eligible for the Cost of Living Payment before each monthly payment is made. You'll get the payment if, on the day we check for eligibility, we can confirm you:

  • have assessed net income of $70,000 or less in the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022
  • are not receiving New Zealand Superannuation or a qualifying benefit for the Winter Energy Payment from Ministry of Social Development (MSD)
  • are aged 18 or older
  • are both a New Zealand tax resident and present here
  • are not in prison.

The payment is not intended to go to people who have died.

If you get a Student allowance, you’ll get the payment if you meet the other eligibility criteria.

The $70,000 threshold is net income before tax

The income threshold is your individual income, not household income. For salary and wage earners, the $70,000 net income threshold is your gross income before tax, minus any expenses you can claim.

For IR3 filers, the net income threshold is your gross income after expenses, but before any losses from earlier years are included.

The term used of net income has a specific meaning in the Income Tax Act 2007, which is different to the commonly understood meaning of a person's income take home pay.

Aki is a student and received a Student allowance during the 2022 tax year. She meets all the other criteria to get the Cost of Living Payment and will get all 3 payments.

If Aki’s only income for 2022 was the living costs from her student loan (no Student allowance received), she would not be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment. This is because she has no net income for 2022 and no requirement to get an income tax assessment or file an Individual income tax return - IR3.

If you’re insolvent or bankrupt

You'll get the Cost of Living Payment paid to you if you’re insolvent or bankrupt and qualify for it. We will not send it to the Official Assignee.

Your income tax assessment or return will confirm your income

We’ll confirm your eligibility for the payment based on your income for the 2022 tax year.

Depending on your situation, you will have:

  • received your automatically issued income tax assessment
  • provided more information or confirmed the details on your assessment, and this has been confirmed by us
  • filed your Individual income tax return - IR3 (and it's been processed by us).

If your income assessment is completed after any of the 3 main Cost of Living Payments have been paid and you are eligible for it, you'll get either:

  • any payments that have not been made yet and a lump sum of any payments you were eligible for but missed
  • a lump sum based on the number of payments you are entitled to if all payment dates have passed.

Your return may be filed after the payments have been made because for example, you have a tax agent with an extension of time to file your return.

To be eligible you must have your return filed by the final date, 31 March 2023.

What happens at the end of the tax year

Types of individual expenses

Manu earned $90,000 gross from wages in the 2022 tax year and has no expenses to claim. Although he pays tax of $20,620, his net income is $90,000 (as defined by BC4 of the Income Tax Act) and he is not eligible for the Cost of Living Payment.

Oliana earned $70,200 from gross wages in the 2022 tax year, and paid $250 in income protection insurance that year. Oliana's net income for 2022 is $69,950 ($70,200 minus $250) and will be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment.

Pavel earned $120,000 gross from self-employed work in the 2022 tax year. They claim $30,000 in expenses and have a loss to bring forward of $22,000. Pavel’s net income for the Cost of Living Payment is $90,000 as the loss is not included. They would not be eligible for the payment.

If Pavel’s expenses were $52,000, their net income would be $68,000 and they would be eligible for the payment.

People who will not be eligible

If you do not receive a tax assessment for the 2022 year, you will not be eligible for the payment.

If your income is only from a Portfolio investment entity

You are not eligible if your only income for the 2022 year is from a Portfolio investment entity (PIE) for example KiwiSaver.

Even though you received a tax assessment for this income, PIE income is not included in your net income.

Individuals filing or requesting an unnecessary nil tax assessment

If you have no net income and are not required by us to have an income tax assessment, requesting or filing one does not mean you will qualify for the payment. You will still be eligible if you’re:

  • a parent with no net income but required to file a return or get an assessment for Working for Families
  • self-employed and your expenses reduce your net income to zero.

John and Julie received Working for Families payments during the 2022 tax year. Julie works full time with wages above the income threshold. John is the primary carer and has not had any income for the 2022 tax year. Both John and Julie are required to receive income tax assessments because they receive Working for Families.

John will receive all 3 payments because his income is below the income threshold, he is required to have an income tax assessment and he meets all the other eligibility criteria.

There no minimum income requirement, You could have zero net income and still qualify, as long you do need to have a tax assessment

What we'll check to confirm you are in New Zealand or overseas

You have to be present in New Zealand to be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment. We do not always know for sure where you are, so we use the information we have when we check who can get the payment. This check is usually done a few days before the payment date.

We considered you to be in New Zealand for any payment in August if we had a New Zealand address for you when we checked who could get the payment.

We're making a few extra checks to work out if you're in New Zealand for all future payments.

Extra checks to confirm you are in New Zealand

Here are some examples of what we use to confirm you are in New Zealand:

  • You received salary or wages in the last 2 months from a New Zealand employer.
  • You're registered as the principal child carer or partner for Working for Families Tax Credits

Extra checks to confirm you are overseas

Here are some examples of the extra checks we use to work out if you are overseas:

  • You filed a non-resident tax return, or part year tax return, selecting 'departing New Zealand'.
  • You're an overseas-based student loan customer, or have applied to be treated as physically present in New Zealand.

We know that you still could have been in New Zealand at the time of the Cost of Living Payments, even if you meet these checks. So you now have the ability to let us know if you were here.

Check why you did not get the payment

If you think you should have received the payment but did not, check why in myIR. After you log in to myIR, select 'I want to…', then 'Cost of Living Payment eligibility'. This will explain why we did not think you were eligible.

If we considered you to be outside of New Zealand but you were not, send us a message in myIR explaining how you were in New Zealand. Or you can call us on 0800 473 777. We'll be able to update your records to make the payment to you.

If you go overseas or come back around the payment dates

If you leave New Zealand 28 days or less before a payment date, you will get the payment if you meet the other criteria. The day you leave or arrive back in New Zealand is counted as a full day in New Zealand.

You are eligible if you arrive back in New Zealand on or before a payment date (and meet the other criteria).

Example – Out of New Zealand for 28 days or less

Maksym left New Zealand on 3 August. Because 3 August is counted as a full day in New Zealand, Maksym can get the payment as there are 28 days from 4 August to 1 September.

Example – Back in New Zealand on the payment date

Amaia went on an overseas holiday from 25 July to 25 August. Amaia arrived back in New Zealand before 1 September, so she will get the September payment. She will also get the August payment as she was away for 28 days or less before 1 August.

If Amaia came back on 25 September, once she confirmed the dates she returned to New Zealand she would get the August and October payments, but not the September payment.

You may be eligible to get 1, 2 or all 3 payments

We'll check to see if you're eligible to get the Cost of Living Payment before each monthly payment is made. Some people may not be eligible for all 3 payments.

Payments will not be paid for a part of the month. If you're eligible when we check, you'll get the full payment for that month.

Kahu turns 18 on 25 August 2022. She meets all the other criteria for the payment. She will not qualify for the August payment but will qualify for the payments in September and October.

Antonio is eligible to get the Cost of Living Payment. On 13 September he starts getting Jobseeker Support, which qualifies for the Winter Energy Payment. He gets the August and September Cost of Living payments, but not the October payment.

We'll check eligibility until 31 March 2023

The final date to be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment is 31 March 2023.

If an IR3 is filed or income assessment created on or:

  • before 31 March 2023, we'll still check if you're eligible for the payment (even if it is processed or completed after this date)
  • after 1 April 2023, we will not check if you're eligible for the payment (even if your tax agent has applied for and been granted a deferment to file later).

We'll pay the amount to your bank account

We'll pay the Cost of Living Payment into the bank account we hold for your Income tax account. Make sure we have the correct details in myIR, and update it if it's not right.

We can only make the payment to a New Zealand bank account. This can be any bank account you choose to have the payment made to.

Update my bank account details

The payment is not taxed

You will not pay tax on the Cost of Living Payment. It does not count as income for:

  • child support
  • Working for Families
  • student loans
  • benefits and payments from Work and Income.

We cannot use the payment to pay off any debt you may have with us. Or transfer it to another IR account.

You have until 31 March 2024 to provide your bank account

If you're eligible for the Cost of Living Payment but we cannot pay it to you because we do not have your bank account number - you have until 31 March 2024 to update your details.

Opting out of the Cost of Living payment

If you do not want any of the future payments, you must opt out. Once we have confirmed you are eligible, you can opt out of future payments by logging into myIR and under ‘I want to…’ select ‘Opt out of cost of living payment’. After you have chosen not to get the payment, you cannot change your mind. If you do not want the payment, you can return it.

You can also opt out by calling us on 0800 473 777.

Returning the payment 

Some people might receive the Cost of Living payment even though they are not eligible, for example, if they are not in New Zealand. This could happen if the information Inland Revenue has is not accurate, for example, we may not have their correct address.

If you have received the payment when you are not eligible, you are required to repay it to Inland Revenue. We recommend you use the pay tax function provided by most New Zealand banks. Use the following information to make a direct credit payment to us.

  • Particulars – Your IRD number (if you have an 8 digit IRD number, put a 0 at the beginning)
  • Payee code – COL
  • Reference – leave blank

If you need it, our bank account number is: Inland Revenue Department 03-0049-0001100-27

So that you do not receive any more Cost of Living payments, you should also update your physical address or opt out of future payments. Both of these actions can be done in myIR.

Inland Revenue has chosen not to use its resources to take action against people who do not make this repayment, unless they have deliberately given false information in order to receive the payment fraudulently.

You can view or download Cost of Living Payment information for research purposes.

Cost of living payment statistics

Cost of Living fact sheets 

These fact sheets summarise the main points about the Cost of Living Payments, including why they are happening, who is eligible and what you need to do.

Last updated: 29 Aug 2022
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