ACC levies fund injury claims from all New Zealanders. As a small business owner you'll pay an ACC Work levy each year. You'll also deduct the ACC Earners’ levy from employees' wages.
If you’re a contractor or self-employed, you’ll pay ACC every year, too. This covers you for work and non-work-related injuries.
If you have employees, you’ll deduct ACC Earners’ Levies from their wages as part of their PAYE payments. This levy covers people for injuries that happen outside of work and not on the road, eg while playing sport or at home.
You pay your employee’s first week of wages if they are injured and not able to work.
The amount deducted is based on how much your employees earn.
All businesses pay levies to ACC to cover the cost of work-related injuries. You'll pay for:
You’ll receive a provisional invoice with an estimated levy and a year-end adjustment.
How much your business pays depends on:
You can work out how much your levy is likely to be using ACC's levy calculators (external link) .
These are used to set levy rates for different industries with different levels of risk.
ACC assigns your business a classification unit based on your Business Industry Classification (BIC) code. This is a code every business and self-employed person chooses, based on their main work activity, when registering for GST or submitting a tax return.
Find your BIC code (external link) — Business Industry Classification Code
Liable earnings are the part of your payroll that levies are payable on. Things like holiday pay and overtime are liable earnings — but redundancy and retirement payments are not. How much your liable earnings are depends on how much you pay your employees.
Liable earnings (external link) — Inland Revenue
The standard cover ACC provides to sole traders and contractors is ACC CoverPlus, which starts from day one. You don’t need to apply for it, or pay for it until after your first tax return is submitted. What you pay will be based on your profession.
You can choose to have ACC CoverPlus Extra, an optional ACC product that lets self-employed people agree to a level of lost earnings compensation. If you choose ACC CoverPlus Extra, it will replace your standard ACC CoverPlus.
You’ll be invoiced for ACC levies once a year. You’ll pay for:
This is a percentage of your annual income — currently $1.21 for every $100.
You can’t apply for levy discounts as a sole trader. But you’re automatically put into ACC’s Experience rating programme, which assesses if you’ll get a discount, loading or your Work levy will stay the same. It’s based on your claims history for work-related injuries over a three-year period.
If you need time off work to recover from injury, weekly compensation can help with your loss of income. What you get paid depends on the type of cover you have and what you earn. ACC calculates the compensation based on income from your last self-employed tax return.
ACC has an experience rating programme that takes your claims history into account when it calculates your Work levy. If you have a lower than average injury rate, with a better than average rehabilitation or return to work rate, you may receive a discount. This applies to business owners and sole traders.
You’ll usually get your first ACC levy invoice after you file your tax return with Inland Revenue. After that, you’ll be invoiced once a year, usually in July for businesses or August if you’re self-employed.
If your circumstances change, eg your main work activity changes or you stop trading, ask ACC to reassess your levy calculation. Fill in an ACC4618 form and send it to ACC as soon as possible.
You’ll need to pay your levy by the due date on the invoice — even if you’re waiting for a reassessment.
You’ll receive an invoice a year after your first year of trading if:
If you work more than 30 hours a week, after your first year of trading you’ll get:
You can pay:
Avoid these common levy pitfalls: