If you live in New Zealand, and haven't already set up a MY IR account via Inland Revenue, do so immediately.
As well as being able to keep track of your income, taxes paid, and KiwiSaver (yes you can track all that via your KiwiSaver provider as well), you can also now easily claim your deductions for charitable donations.
If you don't give to charity, there are plenty of good reasons to do so. If you can't afford it, set a new goal for yourself in 2002 to be in a position to do so. If you didn't already know, you can claim back 33.333% of any charitable donation you make, and that includes those "voluntary" payments you make to school if you have kiddies.
It used to be that to get this money back, you would have to download, print, complete and post a IR526 form to get that money back. In the last few years, the IRD has gone through a massive upgrade to its systems. It is now super easy to file your claims online. It literally takes a few minutes. With all these efficiencies, you can expect to get your money back (straight into your nominated account) within days.
Here's how you'll do it in 7 easy steps:
1) Gather all your charitable tax donations and receipts in one place for easy reference.
2) Register an account with IR or login in.
3) Click on the section that says: Donation Tax Credit
4) Click Enter tax donation receipts
5) Click Add a receipt (see image below for the screen you'll be greeted by).
6) Fill out the details of your donation from your tax receipt. If you didn't get one, ask the organisation to provide one. You will 100% need this information.
7) Upload the receipt where it says receipt attachments and complete the other fields remaining and then submit! Voila. It really is that easy.
If you don't want the money returned to you, (yes there are such people) you can donate it back to the charity. That's a nice choice but most people will want the money back.
This week alone I have filed more than $1,000 in donations and expect to receive back more than $300. Some have already landed in my account which is nice.
Yes it's a luxury to be able to give and I have been practising regular giving for more than a decade. For everything you give, you also receive, and this goes far beyond money.
Now what are you waiting for?!
Amanda Morrall is a New Zealand based personal finance expert. Her first book Money Matters was published in 2013 by Penguin Random House in NZ.