Reporter: Mary-Jane Aggett
Fair Go received a number of complaints about company a called
They've set up little booths in malls and shopping centres around the country offering to see if people are due a tax refund in a matter of minutes. If you're due a refund they take a cut. Fair enough.
Michael Wright contacted Fair Go after he signed up with My Refund in Palmerston North. He was told pretty much instantly that he was due a refund and that it would be paid out in around six weeks. So, six weeks later - after hearing nothing - he rang the IRD who told him that they'd paid his money to My Refund. So where was his money?
Barbara Brown from Christchurch had a very similar experience. She was told she was due a refund of $264. She chased up the IRD after six weeks or so and was told they'd already paid it to My Refund. After 12 weeks both Barbara and Michael came to Fair Go.
Suzanne Hunt from Hamilton signed up with My Refund obvioulsy hoping to get one, only to get a tax bill. The IRD phoned her a couple of weeks later to say she owed them nearly $1,000. My Refund had inadvertantly let the IRD know that she owed them money.
My Refund told Fair Go that the cheque delay was because the IRD enforced a change in the way their business operates and how they process a client's refund. They say the IRD made them use a trust account system which included the need to get a third party to print cheques. "This increased our time frames due to us needing increased staffing, software, training, hardware and the need to now rely on third party contractors."
They say that now the system is up and running they are looking at ways to speed up the process.
They also say that Michael and Barbara have now received their cheques and they are going to pay Suzanne's whopper of a bill as a gesture of goodwill. Although, they point out that it was a student loan underpayment.
They say they have been operating for 18 months and have 200,000 clients.
What you need to know:
You can actually do a DIY tax refund check - using the IRD's website.
You need to have your IRD number handy and then register online to use their website, www.ird.govt.nz. You then have to activate your registration by ringing their 0800 number.
Then you're good to go. Go to the "Work it Out" section on the right hand side column. Go into "Individual Income Tax" and then click on "Personal Tax Summary Calculations" for the year you require.
If you get to the end and it says "Tax to Pay" you can finish at this point. Nothing has been activated and it's your choice whether you proceed.
If there is a refund - you can request your PTS (Personal Tax Summary) But note: If you go to the step of requesting your PTS (personal tax summary) and it says "Tax to Pay" - you are required to pay.