With the shift to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses will have more flexibility to open and operate. However, the Government has also announced it is moving away from the broad economic support provided under the Alert Level system. For businesses and organisations who continue to be directly affected by COVID-19, what financial and other support is still available to help get things back on track?
We outline below some of these key support programs:
Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) and transition payment
A one-off transition payment will be available on 10 December 2021 to support businesses, particularly in Auckland, Waikato and Northland, as we move into the new traffic light system. The transition payment will be available through the RSP system in myIR and has the same eligibility criteria as the RSP.
Eligible businesses will be able to apply for a payment of $4,000 per business plus $400 per FTE – up to a cap of 50 FTEs (a maximum payment of $24,000). This is higher than the current RSP rates.
Businesses must have experienced a 30% decline in income between 3 October 2021 and 9 November 2021 when compared to a typical week in the six weeks prior to 17 August 2021.
Applications for the 4th, 5th and 6th Resurgence Support Payments close on 13 January 2022. No further rounds of the RSP are planned. The RSP will be paid in addition to the transition payment.
From 10 December 2021, businesses that changed ownership on or after 18 July 2021 may be able to get the RSPs made available from 29 October. The RSP rules have required an applicant to be operating as a business for at least one month before 17 August, so businesses that were acquired after 17 July have not been eligible for any payment. To be eligible, the business will need to meet the RSP criteria and must have been operating for at least one month prior to 17 August. The business must also be carrying on the same or similar activity as before the change in ownership.
Applications for the final Wage Subsidy close on 9 December. This is the last of the COVID-19 August 2021 payments.
Leave Support Scheme and Short-term Absence Payment
These payments will continue to be available under all levels of the traffic light system to businesses who have employees who are off work while isolating or need to take leave while waiting for test results.
However, the Leave Support Scheme will move to a weekly payment rather than fortnightly under the new system. This reflects the change in the isolation period.
Small business cashflow loan scheme
If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for this scheme. This is a one-off five-year loan where you can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per FTE employee. Applications are open until 31 December 2023. More information >
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. A loss carry back can be claimed in your income tax return when you file it or by amending the return if filed. More information >
Managing your taxes
If you are having difficulties meeting tax obligations due to the impact of COVID-19, Inland Revenue may be able to assist with finding a solution for:
— filing and paying your tax
— claiming GST and income tax deductions for expenses and losses
— requesting a remission of penalties and interest. More information >
The government-funded Digital Boost programme provides small business owners with free online training on becoming a digital business. More information >
Additional support for Auckland businesses
Under Activate Tāmaki Makaurau, businesses in Auckland will be able to apply for up to $3,000 worth of advisory support and up to $4,000 to implement that advice. This will be available through the established Regional Business Partners programme.
Business Advice will provide access to expert advice, strategy and planning to businesses in the Auckland region and includes business planning and strategy, financial planning and cashflow management, marketing planning and digital marketing, and health and wellbeing.
Businesses can register for Business Advice and/or Implementation Grants here.
Our William Buck advisors are also able to provide additional support if you have any questions or need advice – we’re here to help.