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COVID-19 general financial support

General financial support available to businesses:

 
What it does Available for  How to apply

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
Helps businesses pay workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

There’s a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible worker. You can only apply for it once, for each eligible employee, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the employee to get another test).

Businesses or self-employed people waiting for a COVID-19 test result. Apply via WINZ. Call 0800 40 80 40 for questions.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

Helps to pay employees if they can't work due to Ministry of Health advice. The Leave Support Scheme is a weekly payment. It is paid at the following rates:

  • $600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
  • $359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.
Businesses that have employees who are unable to work due to MOH advice.  Apply via WINZ. Call 0800 40 80 40 for questions.

COVID-19 Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS)
Loans of up to $100,000, interest-free if repaid within three years.

A 'top up loan' is also being introduced. The top up loan will allow those businesses that have already accessed a loan to draw down an additional $10,000 with a new repayment period of 5 years and the first 2 years being interest free.

 

Businesses with 50 or fewer FTEs that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (full details here). Apply via IRD by 31 December 2023
 

IRD - support for businesses:

IRD can support businesses in the following ways:

  • Write-off penalties, interest incurred due to hardship or reduced cashflow.

IRD can already remit penalties and interest for the reason above if the person is suffering that hardship from COVID-19 impacts. This is a seamless process through the taxpayers MyIR account.

  • Extend no interest timeframes for IRD Small Business loans. Write-off loans for hardship.

Currently, the period in which lenders under the small business cashflow scheme have two years interest-free and there is currently no plans to increase this at present.

In terms of the ability to write off loans under the small business cashflow scheme, because the scheme is included in the definition of “tax” the general provisions that are currently available to write off amounts of tax for hardship can also be used for the small business cashflow scheme. So the power is there already.

  • Show more leniency for tax payment deferrals, tax payment write-offs for hardship and simplify the process.

​This is basically linked to the first point about the ability to write off interest and penalties. IRD prefer not to defer due dates as it is an overly complex process, however, IRD considers options when taxpayers miss payment dates because they are affected by COVID issues. IRD can consider removing both interest and penalties, again, taxpayers can apply for this relief via their MyIR account and this is a user-friendly process (essentially ticking a box).

One thing IRD do want taxpayers to do is to file their tax returns to establish any liabilities as this allows IRD to both assist taxpayers with instalment arrangements if needed due to COVID but also because that information is used as the basis for a number of the government's COVID response measures such as the wage subsidy and resurgence support payment. So the message to taxpayers is to file the information and then IRD can assist in dealing with the payment.

In terms of hardship write-offs, there are existing provisions for the Commissioner to write off tax under hardship which can be used if necessary and appropriate.

Please contact IRD if you need support.