How long is a claim period?

A claim period is quarterly. There are four claim periods per year:

  • 1 January to 31 March
  • 1 April to 30 June
  • 1 July to 30 September
  • 1 October to 31 December.

How long do I have to claim my rebate?

To receive your rebate without penalty, the claim must be lodged within 3 months after the end of the claim period.

  • If it’s lodged more than 3 months but not later than 2 years after the end of the claim period, a 10% penalty will be applied.
  • If it’s lodged more than 2 years after the end of the claim period the rebate will be declined.

How many times can I claim a rebate?

Each legal entity can only claim once per claim period. This means you submit one complete claim that includes all eligible petrol and diesel used during the claim period.

Is there a paper form available?

Claiming a regional fuel tax rebate is offered as an online service only. A summary claim history is available to let you know the status of your claims.

You can also save details of your eligible vehicles, vessels and bulk tanks for use with your commercial claims.

If you need access to a computer and scanner, your local library can help.

Auckland Libraries webpage: computers and wifi(external link)

I claim off-road RUC kilometres, can I claim regional fuel tax?

No. Fuel used off-road in vehicles subject to RUC is not eligible for a regional fuel tax rebate. This is currently under review by the Ministry of Transport, scheduled for completion in June 2019.

Can I claim on fuel I have used in a vehicle, machine or vessel which I have hired for my business?

Yes. You can claim on eligible assets that you’ve hired or leased as part of your business. If your business hires out assets to other people, you can’t claim this as you haven’t used the fuel.

What records do I need to keep and provide?

To claim a regional fuel tax rebate, you need to keep records of how much fuel you’ve purchased and used.

Find out how to get started.

If all my fuel purchases are on my invoice, do you need the receipts too?

No. If all purchases you’re claiming for are on your invoice, you don’t need to supply receipts as well. Make sure that the fuel type, location of purchase, litres supplied and the total paid is on your invoice.

Why do I need an NZBN number?

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is participating in Government’s Better for Business programme which endeavours to provide more value to businesses by making it easy and seamless to deal with government. NZBN provides a unique global identifier for businesses that means you only have to give your information to the government one time and is expected to help speed up your interactions with government, suppliers, customers and other businesses. We use your NZBN number to verify that you are a business operating in New Zealand.

More information on the NZBN(external link)

What if my NZBN details are not public?

To register as a rebate customer, you need to provide us with your NZBN number. If your NZBN details are not public, we'll contact you for further evidence to confirm that you're in business.

What is the minimum claim amount? Why?

The minimum claim amount is $20. In most cases this equates to around 200 litres of eligible fuel use.

Enforcing a minimum claim amount ensures as much tax as possible is used for the intended purpose rather than covering administrative costs.

What details are needed for vehicles, vessels and machines?

You need to provide the following information for each vehicle:

  • the make and model, and
  • the fuel type it uses, and
  • the vehicle plate number (if it’s registered) or the VIN or chassis number (if it’s not registered), and
  • the year of manufacture.

You need to provide the following information for each commercial vessel:

  • the name of the vessel, and
  • the fuel type it uses, and
  • the Maritime New Zealand Safety Number (MNZ/MSA) and certificate expiry date, or
  • the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number.

If we can’t verify your vessel’s commercial status, we’ll ask you for evidence of your Maritime certificate before your rebate can be paid.

Note: Once you’ve added your vehicles and vessels, they are saved in Refunds Online for you to use in future claims.

Machines (commercial purpose other than in a vehicle, aircraft or vessel)
For example, chainsaws, stump grinders, pumps, compressors, generators, light towers.

Machine information isn’t held in Rebates Online, as it’s common for these to change. You need to provide the following information for each machine type where fuel is being claimed:

  • the type of machine
  • the fuel type used
  • the quantity of that machine type that you have used.

What do I need to know about bulk tanks

A bulk tank is storage for fuel that can be pumped into many vehicles, vessels or machines.

Rebates are paid based on use of fuel, which isn’t always the same as the amount of fuel purchased. We require some details to work this out as there may be fuel left in the tank at the end of the period which hasn’t been used. As long as fuel has been put into assets for exempt use, this is seen as ‘used’.

Where there is fuel remaining in a bulk fuel tank owned and operated by the claiming business at the end of a claim period, that fuel needs to be declared as a ‘closing balance’. This ‘closing balance’ turns into available fuel at the following next period as the ‘opening balance’, and supports your declaration of fuel used in your assets for that claim for the next claim period.

Please record the closing balance for each bulk fuel tank that stores fuel for use in assets which are eligible for a rebate. To get a closing balance that can be entered in your claim, there are several options available, including but not limited to:

  • a dipstick
  • fuel gauge
  • fuel monitoring systems
  • visual measurement.

Your fuel provider may be able to help you work out your period end balance.

There are some low cost fuel monitoring systems that can automate some aspects of record keeping for bulk fuel tanks. This could reduce the amount of manual entry for your business.

For example, a fuel monitoring mechanism that records the time, date and volume filled or dispensed could be easily reconciled to a manual log that stated the date, time and asset that was filled.

Do I need to record how much fuel is used in vehicles, vessels and machines?

Yes. To claim a rebate you need to have a good idea of how much fuel was pumped into each asset (vehicle, vessel and group of like machines). For example, during the claimable period the tractor was filled twice a week and takes 50L per time. You don’t need to record the balance of fuel that’s left in each asset at the end of each claim period.

What is a VIN and where can I find it?

Find out more about vehicle inspection numbers (VINs)

I am an international visitor with a foreign vessel. Can I claim RFT?

In most cases, yes. If you operate a vessel commercially or as a business, you can claim a regional fuel tax rebate. You’ll need a New Zealand bank account number to receive payment of a claim. Please email to arrange a rebate as you may not be able to claim it online.

What is the difference between vehicle and machine?

For the purposes of submitting a regional fuel tax claim, vehicle means a vehicle drawn or propelled by mechanical power. Machines are broadly defined to include anything used for a commercial purpose other than a vehicle, aircraft or vessel. For example, chainsaws, stump grinders, pumps, compressors, generators or light towers.

How long will it take to assess my claim?

If you are claiming for the first time, please bear with us while we work through your initial details. Once we have processed your first claim, we aim to give you a decision within three working days. Payments are processed the following week. Note times may take a little longer around public holiday periods.

How are RFT rebates paid?

All rebates are direct credited to the bank account the customer provided when they registered the business. We aim to process your claim and send you a decision within three days. Payment will be made within ten working days of approval.

Where else can I get help and useful information?

  • Your fuel supplier may be able to assist you with some ideas specific to your operation that’ll help you to work out the best method of record keeping for you.
  • There are commercial products available that measure fuel levels in your storage tanks.
  • There are also commercial products that can track fuel dispensed against specified vehicles and machinery.
  • Independent companies that can handle RFT claim administration on your behalf are also available.

Check out our Resources section for more information.