On 17 March, 2020 New Zealand Government released its NZ$12.1 billion (US$6 billion) fiscal and economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the situation changed, the package has been expanded. The package now includes:
- An estimated NZ$8-12b in wage subsidies so affected businesses can keep their staff employed, through support received directly from the Government.
- NZ$500m additional health funding to get the virus under control.
- NZ$126m in COVID-19 leave and self-isolation support for people who are unable to work because they’re sick, self-isolating, or caring for dependants. Since being announced, this has been rolled into the Wage Subsidy Scheme.
- NZ$2.8b income support package in assistance to those receiving benefits, including a permanent NZ$25-per-week core benefit increase from 1 April, 2020 and doubling the Winter Energy Payment for 2020.
- NZ$100m redeployment package, to keep more Kiwis in work.
- NZ$2.8b in business tax changes to reduce cashflow pressure, including a provisional tax threshold lift, the reinstatement of building depreciation, and writing off interest on the late payment of tax.
- NZ$600m package to support the aviation sector and protect New Zealand’s supply chains.
- NZ$6.25b Business Finance Guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy.
- NZ$27m package for social sector services and community groups so they can continue to provide essential support to communities.
- A leave scheme for essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance, to ensure they will continue to receive income.
Other measures the Government has taken include:
- NZ Government, Reserve Bank and retail banks have agreed on a six-month mortgage principal and interest payment deferral for affected individuals and Small and medium-sized enterprises.
- To protect renters during this difficult time all rent increases frozen for six months, prohibited no-cause terminations for an initial period of three months, and evictions cannot occur for unpaid rent for up to 60 days.
Tax measures in NZ Government Covid-19 response
- The reintroduction, from the 2020-21 income year, of a 2% DV depreciation deduction for commercial and industrial buildings. This includes hotels and motels.
- A temporary increase in the threshold for expensing low-value assets fromNZ$500 to NZ$5,000 during the 2020-21 income year. The threshold will be NZ$1,000 from the 2021-22 income year.
- The threshold for paying provisional tax will increase from NZ$2,500 to NZ$5,000 of residual income tax, from the 2020-21 income year.
- Inland Revenue will be given the power to write off interest on late payments for those adversely, financially, impacted by COVID-19 for tax payments due after 14 February 2020.
- Changes to the calculation of the in-work tax credit to remove the hours worked test.
- Inland Revenue will have greater information sharing powers to facilitate a whole of government response to COVID-19.
Additional measures announced on April 15, 2020
- NZ$3.1 billion tax loss carry-back scheme (estimated cost over the next two years). Businesses expecting to make a loss in either the 2019/20 year or the 2020/21 year would be able to estimate the loss and use it to offset profits in the past year. In other words, they could carry the loss back one year.
- NZ$60 million estimated annual savings to business each year from changes to the tax loss continuity rules
- NZ$25 million in the next 12 months for further business consultancy support
- Greater flexibility for affected businesses affected to meet their tax obligations
- Measures to support commercial tenants and landlords
Check the official website of the New Zealand Government Beehive.govt.nz for the latest information https://www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/covid-19-economic-response-package or Inland Revenue website https://www.ird.govt.nz/Updates/News-Folder/covid19-business-changes