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ACC levies

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.

What you pay for your employees

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.

Current levy rates (external link) — ACC

What your business pays

All businesses pay levies to ACC to cover the cost of work-related injuries. You'll pay for:

  • ACC workplace cover — the Work levy
  • Working Safer Levy — this is collected on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to support WorkSafe NZ’s activities.

You’ll receive a provisional invoice with an estimated levy and a year-end adjustment.

How it's calculated

How much your business pays depends on:

  • your business description — this is assigned an ACC classification unit
  • how much you pay your employees
  • your claims history — the number of work-related injury claims your business has made.

You can work out how much your levy is likely to be using ACC's levy calculators (external link) .

Classification units

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

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

Levy change: No more residual portion (external link) — ACC

What you pay if you’re self-employed

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:

  • ACC workplace cover — the Work levy
  • non-work injury cover — the Earners’ levy
  • Working Safer levy — this is collected on behalf of MBIE to support WorkSafe NZ’s activities.

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.

Levies for self-employed (external link) — ACC

Getting paid if you can't work

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.

Weekly compensation (external link) - ACC

If you're a contractor who has PAYE taken from your pay, you must still pay your own ACC.

If you're a contractor who has PAYE taken from your pay, you must still pay your own ACC.

How to reduce your ACC Work levy

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.

How your claims history affects your levies (external link) — ACC

Current levy rates (external link) — ACC

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.

You'll get:

  • Provisional levy invoice for the current year — this is an estimate based on your previous year’s liable earnings and any wages or salaries you expect to pay in the coming year.
  • Levy adjustment for the previous year — if you paid less than you should have for the previous year, ACC will send you an invoice for the difference. If you paid more, you’ll get a credit applied to your account.

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.

Invoicing if you're self-employed

You’ll receive an invoice a year after your first year of trading if:

  • You work part–time — less than 30 hours a week.
  • You earn income from a mix of self-employment and PAYE or shareholder income.

If you work more than 30 hours a week, after your first year of trading you’ll get:

  • an invoice for your first year of self-employment based on your liable earnings
  • another invoice based on liable earnings for the previous year.

You can pay:

  • online via internet banking
  • online via credit card (a service fee applies)
  • by direct debit, as a one-off payment or in instalments
  • by posting a cheque
  • by cash, cheque or Eftpos at any PostShop.

Pay your ACC levy (external link) — ACC

Common mistakes

Avoid these common levy pitfalls:

  • Not budgeting for your invoice. Use ACC’s levy calculators to get an estimate — it’s worth regularly setting money aside in a savings account to help cover the cost.
  • Not paying your invoice by the due date — you may face a penalty for late payment
  • Not realising you’ll get an ACC invoice because you’re a contractor who has PAYE deducted from your pay — avoid invoice surprises by checking with your employer whether you get paid PAYE or schedular payments.
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