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COVID-19

Auckland: Alert Level 4.

Rest of New Zealand: Alert Level 2.

Information about Business Travel Document applications: visit Business travel across Alert Level Boundaries.

Information about operating safely: visit COVID-19: Operating at COVID-19 Alert Levels

COVID-19: What you need to know over summer

From low-interest loans to contact tracing, a summary of government advice and financial support available to small businesses as of mid-December 2020. Sole traders and contractors may be eligible for some types of support.

It’s a good idea to bookmark our main page on COVID-19 financial support. It’s updated each time something changes.

COVID-19: Financial support for businesses

Contact tracing

Kiwis will be out and about during summer, so it’s important to do your bit for contact tracing. All businesses must display the official NZ COVID Tracer QR code in a prominent place, or near the main entrance to your business.

Get your QR code poster(external link) — covid19.govt.nz

Businesses can also tap into the government’s new ‘Make Summer Unstoppable’ campaign. It’s aimed at encouraging New Zealanders to keep doing the basics to keep COVID-19 at bay. It includes posters and resources about hand washing, using the contact tracing app, and staying home if feeling sick.

You can download these resources, including summer-themed QR contact tracings posters, for your business:

Make Summer Unstoppable toolkit(external link) — covid19.govt.nz

Small business loan scheme extended to Dec 2023

Changes to the government’s small business cash flow (loan) scheme make it easier for small businesses to access finance to support their cash flow needs. Small businesses, including sole traders and contractors, may be eligible for these low-cost loans.

Changes include:

  • Applications open three more years, closing 31 December 2023.
  • No interest charged if loan repaid within two years (up from one year).
  • Fewer restrictions on what the money can be spent on.

Already taken out one of these loans? Your loan will automatically be covered by the new terms and conditions. 

Small business cash flow loan changes(external link) — Inland Revenue

Loan details

The maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of people you employ part time and full time:

  • loans of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses
  • extra $1,800 for each full-time equivalent employee
  • 3% interest rate for a maximum term of five years
  • interest free if the loan is paid back within two years
  • repayment not required for the first two years.

Apply through myIR. Go to the 'I want to' section, and select 'Apply for the small business loan'.

myIR(external link) — Inland Revenue

Business debt hibernation

The government’s business debt hibernation scheme has been extended to 31 October 2021. It helps businesses manage their debts and keep operating.

If eligible, your options include paying creditors a percentage of what you owe and delaying the rest. You also get at least a month’s protection from debt enforcement, eg liquidation, or six months protection if your creditors agree.

It’s not available to sole traders. If you’re a sole trader or contractor in need of financial support, see the cash flow loan scheme and tax relief options.

Business debt hibernation

Debt hibernation information for creditors

COVID-19 leave support scheme

If a health official tells someone in your business to isolate due to COVID-19, they must not come to work. This applies to you and any workers who either:

  • are waiting for test results
  • have COVID-19
  • live with someone with COVID-19.

If this person cannot work from home, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 leave support scheme. The scheme pays a lump sum to businesses and sole traders to cover the cost of taking time off work. It covers two weeks’ leave. You can reapply if needed.

Leave support scheme

Find out what financial support you could access.

Find out what financial support you could access.

This tool takes you through a series of questions to identify support options tailored for you. Note wage subsidy applications have closed.

COVID-19 financial support tool(external link) — Unite Against COVID-19

Tax and ACC support

Tax relief

Tax relief measures to help businesses and sole traders financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Tax loss carry-back scheme. Businesses expecting to make a loss in the 2019/20 or 2020/21 tax years can offset that loss against profits made the year before. Tell IR you plan to use this scheme. Do this online via myIR, using the “I want to” section.
    Temporary loss carry-back scheme(external link) — Inland Revenue
  • Extended deadlines to pay tax. If you find it hard to meet your tax obligations, tell Inland Revenue as soon as possible. You may get more time to pay. You must still file your tax return on time.
    COVID-19: Manage my tax(external link) — Inland Revenue 

ACC levies invoice support

Invoices for the 2020/21 financial year were sent later than usual to help spread out costs for businesses. For example, 1 July invoices were instead sent in October. 

If your financial position makes it hard to pay your levies in full and on time, contact ACC as soon as possible to agree a manageable payment plan. Let ACC know before your due date in order to avoid penalties.

If you are no longer in business, it’s also a good idea to let ACC know.

COVID-19 information for businesses(external link) — ACC

Got questions or need support? Call the free COVID-19 Business Helpline.

Got questions or need support? Call the free COVID-19 Business Helpline.

All New Zealand businesses, including sole traders, can get support and advice on:

  • government financial support, eg low-interest loans, tax relief
  • what different alert levels mean for your business
  • business continuity
  • finding free or subsidised expert help, eg a business mentor or advisor.

Employers can also get specific advice on people challenges, including staffing changes, employee wellness, and meeting your health and safety obligations.

Call the free COVID-19 Business Helpline.

North Island 0800 500 362
South Island 0800 505 096

New support coming

The Government has announced new COVID-19 support for businesses will be available from February 2021.

The support includes a Short-Term Absence Payment for employers to pay workers who can’t work from home while they’re waiting for a COVID-19 test result and a Resurgence Support Payment if alert levels move to level 2 or higher for a week or more.

Find out more 

Other financial support options

Depending on your situation, other options may be suitable. These include:

  • Business finance guarantee scheme. Helps small and medium businesses get loans or revolving credit for cash flow, to buy assets like computers, vehicles or workshops, or to help fund projects to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Business finance guarantee scheme(external link) — Treasury
  • R&D loan scheme. For businesses doing research and development related to science or technology.
    R&D loan scheme
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