Date posted: 16/09/2021 4 min read

NZ 2021 COVID-19 lockdown resources

In response to the August 2021 COVID-19 lockdown, CA ANZ has gathered a range of resources and information to help members and their clients navigate this trying time.

In Brief

  • The Government has announced a range of business support measures following the 17 August lockdown
  • CA ANZ members need to be aware of what these are and how they can be used
  • This page provides a range of CA ANZ and Government resources to help members and their clients

Below is a summary of government and CA ANZ support measures introduced to help New Zealand businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown announced on 17 August 2021.

Chartered Accountants can help businesses break down the information for their clients and stakeholders. This page will be regularly updated to assist you with this.

Sharing Knowledge video online – Covid Support for Business

The recent Sharing Knowledge session on Covid Support for Business, hosted by NZ Country Head Peter Vial, Government Relations Lead Charlotte Evett CA and NZ Tax Leader John Cuthbertson FCA is now available for viewing on www.charteredaccountantsanz.com.

Further Resurgence Support Payments available

The Minister of Finance has announced that further payments of the Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) will be open for application from 8:00am Friday 17 September on Inland Revenue's website, http://www.ird.govt.nz

Businesses will need to show a 30% or more drop in revenue in a 7-day period from 8 September until immediately before all of NZ returns to Alert Level 1 compared to a typical 7-day period in the 6 weeks before 17 August.

The payment will stay as $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee up to a maximum of 50 FTEs, or four times the actual revenue decline experienced by the applicant, whichever is less.

Businesses and organisations will be able to apply for the second payment even if they have received the first payment. Applications for both payments will remain open until 1 month after the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand returns to Alert Level 1.

Employment New Zealand advice

Employment New Zealand has issued their latest newsletter, covering frequently asked questions including whether employers can pay staff less than their normal wages during COVID-19 and whether employers can make employees take annual leave or sick leave to help complement their wages.

View the newsletter at employment.govt.nz.

Mandatory QR scanning or record keeping from Tuesday 7 September

At midnight on Tuesday 7 September, it will become compulsory for many public-facing businesses to have a QR scanning or other record-keeping system for the use of every person entering their premises.

Information regarding this requirement can be found here.

If you need any business-related advice or support our fully funded COVID-19 Business Helpline is available for all businesses in the South Island - on: 0800 50 50 96 via the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce or the North Island on 0800 500362 via EMA.

The COVID-19 Business Helpline can help you with advice on workplace operations during changing alert levels, how to access Government financial support, understanding employer obligations for staff, and general business advice to support business continuity.

Inland Revenue updates

Working from home tax determinations updated

On 1 September Inland Revenue has updated their guidance around payments provided to employees that work from home and employee use of telecommunications tools and usage plans in their employment.

Determination EE003 applies for the period 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2023 and sets out the extent to which a payment made by an employer to an employee in these circumstances is able to be treated as exempt income to the employee.

In order to make it easier for employers and employees to locate the information that they may require, this determination amalgamates and replaces all previous determinations that have been published on this topic.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand welcomes this new determination, but says that the latest lockdown is further evidence that working from home is here to stay, and that a permanent working from home tax policy is needed. Read more of our comments on www.nzherald.co.nz.

New support payment advice

On 27 August Inland Revenue released further COVID-19 support information to assist those managing client compliance during lockdown.

In addition to providing an update on the Resurgent Support Payments, Inland Revenue are calling for taxpayers to continue to file their returns, if they can do so.

This is important to inform Government recovery measures and to assist taxpayers in their application for COVID-19 relief schemes (such as the small business cashflow loan scheme).

The update also provides members and tax agents with a reminder on how to request use of money interest and penalty remission for impacted taxpayers.

What to do if your client can’t pay the amount due.

Requesting an installation arrangement

Members who are also tax agents will have received an update on Friday 27 August.

Government Support

Please find below a information and links to the various Government Covid Lockdown support measures.

We encourage you to re-visit the websites below regularly for updates.

Resurgence Support Payment

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher.

Tax agents can apply for the RSP on behalf of their clients, if they confirm they have the authority to apply and hold a record of that authority.

Eligible businesses and organisations including self-employed people anywhere in the country can apply for the RSS if, because of the Alert Level increase, they incur a loss of 30 percent of revenue or a 30% decline in capital raising ability over a 7-day period compared with a typical 7-day revenue period in the 6 weeks prior to the increase from alert level. Eligible businesses may apply to receive the lesser of:

  • $1500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent employee, up to a maximum of 50 full-time employees (so up to a total of $21,500), and
  • four times (4x) the actual revenue decline experienced by the applicant.

Receiving any other Government COVID-19 support does not affect eligibility for the RSP. Applications open at 8am on 24 August.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) is eligible to employers and self-employed people anywhere in the country can apply for the WSS if they expect a loss of 40 percent of revenue because of the Alert Level increase announced on 17 August 2021.

The WSS rates have been increased to reflect the increase in wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020. Businesses will be eligible for $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee, and $359 per week per part-time employee. Wage Subsidy payments for all eligible employees will be paid as a two-week lump sum. Applications open on Friday 20 August.

Short-Term Absence Payment

The Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) is available 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.

Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme (LSS) is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and can't work from home.

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme (SBCLS)

The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme (SBCLS) is for viable businesses and self-employed people with 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees that have been in business for 6 months or more, and have experienced at least a 30 percent decline in actual revenue may be eligible for a loan under the SBCLS.

The loan must be used to pay for core operating costs of your business or organisation or capital costs that are intended to help your business adapt to the circumstances arising because of COVID-19. Applications for the scheme are open until 31 December 2023.

Contacting Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue has advised that they have closed their Tax Agent phone line due to the Level 4 lockdown from midnight 17 August 2021.

Self-Service options are available through myIR and instructions can be found on their website, ird.govt.nz. They have advised that critical enquiries should be directed through your agent account manager. They will continue to provide online meetings.

Doing Business Under Alert Levels

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides the guidelines around what businesses can operate under the various lockdown levels.

Businesses cannot make an application to provide an Alert Level 4 service – instead it is up to the business to check whether they meet the definition of an Alert Level 4 business or service.

To find out more about operating at alert levels, click here.

For more information contact the MBIE advice centre [email protected] or on 0800 424 946

CA ANZ support

EAP Programme

Please don't hesitate to use our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – personal guidance and support is available for all members.

Find out about EAP

Ethics reminder during this time

As the we move to a high trust Government support model, and as clients come under increased pressure, it is important that we remain vigilant and hold fast to our shared values and Code of Ethics. It is well worth re-reading this ethics reminder from our President.

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