Apply for Best Start payments
Everyone can get a weekly payment in their child’s first year — if the child was due or born on or after 1 July 2018. Some people can get a payment until their child is 3 — it depends on family income.
What you need to know
- If you’re the primary caregiver, you can get the payment. For the first year of getting Best Start, it doesn’t matter how much your family earns.
- Payments start when your parental leave payments end.
- If you’re also eligible for a Parental Tax Credit, you have to choose 1 or the other.
- When the child turns 3 your entitlement to Best Start ends.
Who is eligible
You can get the payments if:
- you’re the primary caregiver
- your child was born on or after 1 July 2018
- you’re a NZ citizen or permanent resident, or you care for a child who is a resident and present in NZ.
If you’re a NZ permanent resident
You must have been in NZ continuously for at least 12 months at any time as a permanent resident.
If you’re a new or returning resident, and have a temporary tax exemption on foreign sourced income, you need to choose between Best Start payments or keeping your temporary tax exemption.
How much you can get
It doesn’t matter how much you earn — in your child’s first year, you will get a weekly payment.
Payments in your child’s second and third year depend on your income.
Get your information ready
You’ll have to provide your:
- IRD number
- name and contact details
- bank account details (if you’re not already a Working for Families Tax Credit or Ministry of Social Development customer)
- citizenship or resident status
- MSD client number (if you’re a Ministry of Social Development customer).
If you have a partner (or had 1 in the last year), you need to provide their:
- contact information
- IRD number.
You’ll need to provide your children’s:
- IRD numbers.
You might need to provide information about your family income
Don’t complete the family income section if you apply when your child is under 12 months old.
Do complete the family income section if you’re applying:
- for a child aged up to 3 years
- for Working for Families Tax Credits as well as Best Start.
The easiest way to apply is when you register your child’s birth, or you can apply at any time through Inland Revenue.
If you’re registering your new baby at the same time
You can apply for Best Start online when you register your baby.
If you apply through Inland Revenue
The Best Start application is the part of the Working for Families Tax Credits form — there’s a paper form or an online form.
What happens next
Your payments start as soon as your application is processed. It usually takes about 3 weeks.
You have to apply for Best Start each year, it doesn’t automatically keep going. When your child is 11 months old, you’ll get a letter asking you to confirm your details.