View all publications

Chapter 3: Annual Returns

This chapter provides information on calculating and paying the levy for smaller disposal facilities – those receiving no more than 1000 tonnes of waste a year – who the levy collector has approved to send annual returns.

Who can submit an annual return?

To reduce compliance costs associated with the levy, operators of smaller disposal facilities – that is, those whose expected net tonnage for the financial year (1 July to 30 June) is 1000 tonnes or less – can apply for approval to provide annual, rather than monthly, returns. This option is only available to these small facilities.

Before 20 July after the end of any financial year, you will need to submit a final return of actual tonnage of waste deposited for the previous year. At the same time, if you want to provide an annual return for the coming year, you will need to submit a new application. This is also due by 20 July.

Note that, if you are approved to submit annual returns, you still need to pay monthly. Payments will be calculated as one-twelfth of the annual expected net tonnage.

How do I apply for annual return status?

Your application to provide an annual return must be supported by your assessment of the expected net tonnage of waste to be deposited that year.

Applications are made using the Online Waste Levy System (OWLS): www.wastelevy.govt.nz

We will ask you to provide the following information:

  • the name and site number (if applicable) of the facility

  • the name, contact details and client number (if applicable) of the operator

  • the name and contact details of the person submitting the application

  • the financial year the application relates to

  • the expected net tonnage for the financial year

  • evidence of how the expected net tonnage was calculated.

Applications must be received by 20 July of the financial year the application relates to. The levy collector will provide a decision to you by 1 August.

You can apply at any time to be approved to submit annual returns. However, you can only change to annual returns at the start of a financial year.

If your application is declined, you must submit monthly returns, and your next return (for waste deposited in July) will be due on 20 August.

Do I reapply for annual return status each year?

If you wish to retain your annual return status, you will need to reapply each year on or before 20 July.

How do I estimate expected net tonnage?

You can determine your expected net tonnage by using historical records, or any of the methods described in chapter 5.

If you have historical waste records for your facility (whether calculated by weighbridge, conversion factors, surveys of the volume of waste disposed of, or average tonnage), you can use this data to estimate the expected net tonnage.

If you don’t have historical records, you can use per capita waste disposal estimates, as described in chapter 5.

We recommend that you use all the relevant data you have. If the amount of waste deposited each year is fairly constant, you should calculate the expected net tonnage based on the average tonnage received in these years. If it is increasing or decreasing, you will need to allow for that in your calculation.

Example 5: Calculating expected tonnage using weighbridge records for the previous three years (1 July–30 June)

The total weight of waste disposed of at the disposal facility:

800 tonnes (2007/2008) + 1090 tonnes (2006/2007) + 840 tonnes (2005/2006)

= 2730 tonnes ÷ 3 years

= 910 tonnes annual average

The levy collector will determine your expected net tonnage. If the levy collector thinks the information you provided is inaccurate or incomplete, your expected net tonnage may be revised, and your invoices will be based on this revised estimate (see chapter 2).

What evidence do I need to provide about how the expected net tonnage was calculated?

You need to include evidence of how the expected net tonnage was determined. We recommend that you provide evidence of the process that has been used including:

  • a written explanation of the estimation method chosen, and why

  • the evidence, such as previous records, maps of the catchment, Statistics NZ maps and data

  • a written explanation of the results of any other investigations.

What happens if I don’t send an expected net tonnage with my application?

Your request to submit annual returns must include the expected net tonnage and evidence of how this was determined. If you don’t supply this information, we will not be able to approve your request.

How and when should I pay the levy?

If approval has been granted for you to submit an annual return, we use the levy collector’s determination of your annual expected net tonnage to calculate the monthly levy that is due.

The amount of levy payable for a month of the financial year is calculated using the following formula:

Formula 2: Calculating monthly payments due when submitting an annual return

Rate of levy x [expected net tonnage / 12] = Levy payable

Rate of levy x [Expect net tonnage / 12 ] = Levy payable

You will receive your first invoice by 4 September, and are required to make your first monthly payment by 20 October. This timeline matches the monthly payment cycle for other facilities. For methods of payment see chapter 2.

Example 6: Timeline for payment for small facilities

For waste deposited from 1 July–30 June in any given year
Date Action
20 July
  • The operator must lodge an application for approval to submit annual returns by this date
  • The operator must provide an actual annual return by this date for waste received at the facility over the previous year
1 August The levy collector will notify the operator of the decision to approve or decline the application to submit annual returns by this date
5 August The levy collector will issue a final invoice on based the actual return. This invoice may include a credit or debit adjustment to reflect the difference between the expected net tonnage and actual annual return
4 September If approval is given to submit annual returns, an invoice of the amount payable based on the expected net tonnage will be issued by this date

Do I need to provide actual net tonnage as well as estimated?

By 20 July of the following financial year, you must provide the levy collector with the actual net tonnage received by your facility during the year.

The annual return will specify the:

  • name and site number (if applicable) of the small facility

  • name, contact details and client number (if applicable) of the operator

  • name and contact details of the person who prepared the return (unless it was the operator)

  • dates on which the financial year started and ended (eg, 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010)

  • actual gross tonnages for the financial year

  • actual diverted tonnages for the financial year (if applicable)

  • actual net tonnages for the financial year.

The levy collector will use this information to issue a final invoice on 5 August. The invoice may include a credit or debit adjustment to reflect the difference between the expected net tonnage and the amount owed based on the actual annual return.

How do I calculate actual net tonnage?

You must calculate the actual net tonnage from data collected over the year using one of the methods described in chapter 5. These methods are:

  • weighbridges either on site or off site

  • volume conversion factors applied to measurements of individual loads

  • average tonnage system for light vehicles and trailers towed by light vehicles

  • volume conversion factors applied to volumetric surveys of the tonnage of waste deposited at the facility.

You cannot use a population-based method to determine your actual net tonnage.

What happens if I don’t send a final return?

If you don’t provide a final actual tonnage return by 20 July, or the levy collector believes your return in incorrect or incomplete, the levy collector may make an estimate of the annual tonnage, based on your previous returns and any other relevant information. The levy collector will send you an initial estimate by 25 July.

The levy collector will then issue a final estimate, taking into account any further information you may have provided, by 5 August. This final estimate then becomes the amount of levy payable for the year. Estimates are discussed in more detail in chapter 2.

What happens if I don’t reapply to provide returns annually?

You must reapply each year if you want to submit your returns annually. If you don’t, you will need to submit monthly returns. Your first monthly return will be due on 20 August, for waste deposited in July.