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The Government wants to improve how Inland Revenue manages Working for Families, Child Support and Student Loans to make them work better for you. Your answers to these quick questions will help the Government decide on the best way to do this. Please feel free to answer all of them or just pick the ones that interest you.

WORKING FOR FAMILIES

The Government wants to know what is important to you when thinking about Working for Families.

Basing payments on actual income instead of an estimate

The Government wants to improve Working for Families by basing your payments on your actual income from a recent time period instead of an estimate. You wouldn’t have to wait until the end of the year to find out if you received the right amount.

Changes already underway mean Inland Revenue will get income information from employers and banks more quickly. This is how Inland Revenue would base payments on actual income.

If payments were based on your actual income, Inland Revenue would need to look at your income from a recent time period.

This could be a short period, like a month, or a longer period, like three months. If Inland Revenue looks back more often – say every month – payments would be based on more up-to-date income information. But this also means your payments might go up and down more frequently as they get adjusted to match changes in your income.

If Inland Revenue were to look back less often – say every three months – your payments wouldn’t be updated so often and might not change as much, but you might not be getting what you need when you need it.

If you are self-employed you would either need to tell Inland Revenue during the year how much income you were earning, or you could use the current estimate process.

CHILD SUPPORT

The Government wants to know what is important to you when thinking about paying or receiving Child Support.

Basing payments on more recent information about both parents’ income

The Government wants to improve Child Support by basing payments on more recent income information from both parents, instead of income information that could be one or two years old. So Child Support payments would reflect both parents’ current ability to contribute to the cost of raising a child.

If Inland Revenue looks back at your income over a recent time period, this could be a short period, like a month, or a longer period, like three months.

If Inland Revenue looks back more often – say every month – payments would be based on more up-to-date income information. But this also means your payments might go up and down more frequently as they get adjusted to match changes in your income or the other parent’s income.

If Inland Revenue were to look back less often – say every three months – the amount you pay or the amount you receive is more likely to be out of date and might not reflect the latest income of both parents.

Passing on Child Support payments more quickly

The Government wants Inland Revenue to pass on Child Support payments more quickly, and to give the receiving parent/carer more choice about when they get their payments.

The Government would like to know how often you think Inland Revenue should pass on Child Support payments.

STUDENT LOANS

Making more regular payments

Changes are proposed for Student Loan borrowers who earn income from a business, self-employment, contracting or casual work. They currently have to pay a lump sum off their Student Loan at the end of each year. Some of these borrowers also have to make three interim payments during the following year. It can be difficult to budget for this, and some borrowers get into debt.

The Government is proposing that these Student Loan borrowers would make smaller, more regular payments during the year, rather than at the end of the year.

One of the proposals is that Student Loan repayments are deducted from New Zealand employment income for all borrowers, including contractors, casual agricultural workers and election-day workers.

This proposal would help the borrowers avoid an end-of-year bill.

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