COVID-19 HELP & RESOURCES

Here in New Zealand, we have been lucky enough to live "as normal" for over 6 months. Then the other week, we had a short stint of lockdowns again, Level 3 for Auckland, and Level 2 for the rest of the country. Short and sweet then, and after another week (at least) of the same lockdowns in the first week of March, it has had a big impact on businesses across the country, and so we thought it prudent to update this resource from August 2020 with what government support is available to NZ businesses fight now (as of March 3rd). Read on below and see what suits your business. At the end you still have the old content, to see what was available back in August.

The government recognises the strain on businesses, and have implemented a row of measures to assist you to be able to ride out the storm. Some of these measures are simply continuing or rolling on measures already announced, while others are new. See below a round up below of some of the ways your company can get help to stay afloat during this pandemic:

1. COVID-19 WAGE SUBSIDY MARCH 2021 

The Wage Subsidy March 2021 is a payment to support employers and self-employed people, so they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by the rise in alert levels on 28 February 2021.

To qualify, your business needs to experience a 40% decline in revenue over a consecutive 14-day period between 28 February and 21 March, compared to a typical 14-day period between 4 January and 14 February 2021 (6 weeks before the change in Alert Levels). This is available to businesses throughout New Zealand.

The Wage Subsidy March 2021 will be paid for 2 weeks at the rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for each full-time employee retained (20 hours a week or more)
  • $350 a week for each part-time employee retained (less than 20 hours a week).

You can’t get a Wage Subsidy for an employee for the period they're covered by a Leave Support Scheme or Short-Term Absence Payment BUT you may also be able to get the Resurgence Support Payment from Inland Revenue to help with business costs. Read more about that below.


There will be a link to the application form for the Wage Subsidy available on this page from 1pm on Thursday 4 March 2021 and payments will start from Monday 8 March 2021.

You can also register for updates using the Wage Subsidy enquiry form.

2. COVID-19 RESURGENCE SUPPORT PAYMENT

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is for viable and ongoing businesses or organisations with reduced revenue due to a COVID alert level increase to level 2 or higher. RSP has been introduced as part of the Government’s COVID support initiatives to help cover business expenses such as wages and fixed costs. 

When the Government activates the RSP, applications for the payment will open for eligible businesses and organisations 7 days after the alert level increase.

When the RSP is activated, eligible businesses and organisations can apply to receive the lesser of:

  • $1,500 plus $400 per fulltime-equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs, or
  • Four times (4x) the actual revenue drop experienced by the applicant.

The RSP will remain open for applications for one month after the return to alert level 1.

To be eligible for the RSP, a business or organisation must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue over a 7-day period after the increased alert level and meet other RSP eligibility criteria.

Applications will be able to be made through myIR.

The last day to apply is 22 March for the alert level increase on 14 February. Applications will open at 8am on 8 March for the alert level increase of 28 February. Read more here

3. COVID-19 SHORT-TERM ABSENCE PAYMENT

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available from 9 February 2021 for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

It's intended to help businesses keep paying eligible workers who:

  • cannot work from home, and
  • need to miss work to stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result (in line with public health guidance).

There’s a one-off payment of $350 for each eligible worker. You can only apply for it once, for each eligible worker, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the worker to get another test).

It’s also available to self-employed workers.

Anyone who is unwell should call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or talk to their doctor or health provider. Businesses should encourage their workers to do this if they're unwell.

Read more here.

4. COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS CASHFLOW (LOAN) SCHEME (SBCS)

Applications for the SBCS loan have been extended until the end of 2023. Applications opened on 12 May 2020 and can now be submitted up to and including 31 December 2023.

Small to medium businesses and organisations, including sole traders and the self-employed, not-for-profit organisations, partnerships, joint ventures and trusts, may be eligible for a  loan with a term of 5 years if they meet the eligibility criteria.

If you have an SBCS loan, we'll notify you or your tax agent in myIR or by letter ahead of key events, such as:

  • interest accruing if the loan is not repaid in full within 2 years
  • the start date for regular loan instalment payments.

Businesses or organisations that have fully repaid their loan before the end of 2023, can re-borrow one further time. This is provided they meet the other eligibility criteria at the time they apply to re-borrow.

The eligibility for those applying for the SBCS  loan has been expanded to include the following.

  • You've been in operation for at least 6 months before applying.
  • You've experienced at least a 30 percent decline in revenue, due to COVID-19, over any 14-day period in the previous 6 months, compared with the same 14-day period a year ago.
Read more here

5. COVID-19 TEMPORARY LOSS CARRY-BACK SCHEME

A temporary loss carry-back scheme has been introduced to support customers in the current uncertain economic environment. 

Businesses expecting to make a loss in either the 2020 year or the 2021 year can use that loss to offset profits they made the year before. In other words, they can carry the loss back one year to the preceding income year. This can be done before the loss year return is filed.

You must let us know if you are going use the loss carry-back scheme. You can do this in the ‘I want to’ section of your income tax account in myIR.

There are two ways to claim your loss carry-back:

  • Include the carried back loss in your tax return – we will automatically refund any overpaid tax.
  • Ask for a refund of any provisional tax you have paid for 2020 if you are going to carry back a loss from 2021.

We can refund some or all of the tax already paid for the preceding year before the loss year has finished by enabling customers to estimate their loss. Refunds will be processed a lot faster if you use myIR.

Read more here

For more resources from Work and Income, click here.

For more resources from IRD, click here


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From the old resource from August 2020.

1. COVID-19 RESURGENCE WAGE SUBSIDY

A sort of a continuation of the extended wage subsidy, but slightly different, the new Resurgence Wage Subsidy was announced by finance minister Grant Robertson on Monday Aug 17th.A 2-week COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy payment will be available nationally for employers, including self-employed people, who are financially impacted by the resurgence of COVID-19 and changes to COVID Alert Levels. In short, it is a 2-week subsidy only, and these are the criteria you need to meet to be eligible:

  • New Zealand employers who have had, or expect to have, a revenue drop of at least 40% because of COVID-19, for a 14 day period between
  • The timeframe is any 14 day period between 12 August to 10 September, and the revenue drop should be compared to a similar period last year (if you are a new company or a high-growth company, the period you compare to should be a comparable period recently).
  • The subsidy is only available to companies that aren’t already getting the Wage Subsidy, Wage Subsidy Extension or the Leave Support Scheme 
The subsidy is for 2-weeks from the day you submit your application, and will be paid at a flat rate of:
  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).


You can apply for the Resurgence Wage Subsidy from 1pm on 21 August until 3 September 2020. 
For full criteria and how to apply, read more here 

2. COVID-19 LEAVE SUPPORT SCHEME

Previously known as the 'COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support' because it was only available to essential businesses, this scheme is now called 'COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme' because it's available for all employers who meet the criteria.To be eligible, as an employer you must have employees who either:
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to remain off work until they've been cleared by a health professional to be released from self-isolation, or
  • Have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for 14 days (as required by Ministry of Health guidelines)
  • Are at higher risk if they get COVID-19, and Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home while public health restrictions are in place
  • Have household members who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health recommends the employee also remains at home to reduce the risk to them.

Generally, under Alert Levels 3 and 4 people who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19 are recommended to stay at home. Note: If you apply for the Leave Support Scheme before 1pm on 21 August 2020 you have to meet a revenue test. The revenue test won't apply after this time. For full criteria and how to apply, read more here 

3. COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS CASH FLOW LOAN

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19. To be eligible, these criteria apply:
  • Have less than 50 full-time staff.
  • Eligible businesses and organisations are entitled to a one-off loan. The maximum amount loaned is NZ$10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee.
  • The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within one year.


Applications first opened on 12 May 2020, this scheme has now been extended, and you can now be submit up to and including 31 December 2020. For full criteria and how to apply, read more here

4. COVID-19 TEMPORARY LOSS CARRY-BACK SCHEME

Businesses expecting to make a loss in either the 2020 year or the 2021 year can use that loss to offset profits they made the year before, i.e. you can carry the loss back one year to the preceding income year. This can be done before the loss year return is filed.You must let the IRD know if you are going use the loss carry-back scheme. You can do this in the ‘I want to’ section of your income tax account in myIR.There are two ways to claim your loss carry-back:
  • Include the carried back loss in your tax return – IRD will automatically refund any overpaid tax.
  • Ask for a refund of any provisional tax you have paid for 2020 if you are going to carry back a loss from 2021.

IRD can refund some or all of the tax already paid for the preceding year before the loss year has finished by enabling customers to estimate their loss. Refunds will be processed a lot faster if you use myIR.For full criteria and how to apply, read more here 

5. MORTGAGE HOLIDAY

Banks are taking applications for mortgage holidays from consumers affected by Covid-19. A mortgage holiday lets you temporarily stop making repayments on your home loan if you’re under financial pressure. Homeowners who are struggling financially as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown can apply to their bank for a six-month mortgage holiday. Anyone affected financially by Covid-19 can apply for a mortgage holiday. But before you consider deferring mortgage repayments, take the following into account:
  • A mortgage holiday will give you a break from making regular payments when your finances are under pressure.
    But it is not a holiday from interest: interest will continue to be charged on your debt, which means that you’ll be paying more in the long term to repay your mortgage.
  • If you need to apply for a mortgage holiday, keep it as short as possible. The longer you put repayments on hold, the more you’ll pay in interest. A three-month mortgage holiday will be better than taking a six-month holiday.
  • Consider other options before applying for a mortgage holiday. Reducing your regular mortgage repayments could help lessen the financial load while still helping you to reduce your debt.
For full criteria and how to apply, contact your bank. For more info about this scheme, click here.


6. COVID-19 BUSINESS ADVISORY FUND through REGIONAL BUSINESS PARTNER NETWORK

A fantastic way to get help and advise on your business and its activities during the pandemic. Is your online presence up to scratch? Do you need a different marketing plan? Help with Strategy or general Business Development? You can get help here. The details are:
  • The Government has allocated additional funding to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Covid-19 Business Advisory Fund has been provided by government to enable businesses to access expert advice and support and is being administered through the Regional Business Partner Network.
  • Business owners can access up to $5000 excl. GST per business from the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund.
  • This funding can be used with a range of providers of registered services depending on business needs. It is 100% funding; no co-funding is required.
Kaizen Kiwi is a registered partner of the Regional Business Partner Network, and it means if you are eligible, you can get 100% funding for our services. To find out more and to apply, visit this website.

MORE LINKS

This link to the IRD has a lot of information, check it out! 
If you are self-employed, click on this link!

 

WE HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN 
❤️  KIA KAHA NEW ZEALAND ❤️