coronavirus COVID-19

Tax reform measures included as part of Business Continuity Package

The New Zealand Government has announced a $12.1 billion business continuity package aimed at assisting businesses through the COVID-19 situation. The largest element of the package is the delivery of $5.1billion in wage subsidies to businesses and the delivery of support for workers needing to self-isolate, delivered through the Ministry of Social Development.

The largest element of the package is the delivery of $5.1billion in wage subsidies to businesses (valued at up to $150,000 per business) and the delivery of support for workers needing to self-isolate, delivered through the Ministry of Social Development.

Included within the package were four specific tax initiatives which will provide some relief to taxpayers. These announcements are:

  • The ability to take an immediate deduction for any assets costing $5,000 or less in the 220/21 income year (beginning 1 April 2020 for standard balance date taxpayers); this threshold will reduce to $1,000 in the 2021/22 income year (noting the current threshold is $500).
  • Reintroduction of depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings at the rate of 2% from the 2020/21 income year (beginning 1 April 2020 for standard balance date taxpayers).
  • Ability to apply for use of money interest write-offs for tax debts post 14 February 2020, if they are due to COVID-19.
  • Increase in the threshold before provisional tax applies from $2,500 to $5,000 from the 2020/21 income year.

Low-value asset write-off

The ability for businesses to claim immediate deductions for low-value assets up to the value of $5,000 will be a welcome incentive to invest in assets.

Reintroduction of building depreciation

Most buildings have not been eligible for tax depreciation since 2011; however with effect from the 2020/21 income year, certain buildings will once again be able to be depreciated using the diminishing value method at a rate of 2 per cent per annum. This will be available for commercial and industrial buildings (including hotels and motels), but not residential buildings.

Use of money interest changes

Businesses who have found themselves making tax payments late as a result of being “significantly adversely impacted by COVID-19” will be able to apply to Inland Revenue to have any use of money interest on late tax payments remitted by Inland Revenue.

Provisional tax rules

Currently, any taxpayer with a residual income tax liability (essentially income which is not correctly taxed at source) of $2,500 is required to pay provisional tax. This puts compliance costs on taxpayers who have relatively modest tax liabilities. From the 2020/21 income year this threshold will be increased to $5,000.

Other tax consequences

Businesses who are in receipt of wage subsidy scheme payments and COVID-19 leave and self-isolation leave will need to consider the tax treatment of the subsidies.

Employer Support – Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment

The NZ Government has compiled Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment available to support employers affected by COVID-19. The subsidy is being administered under a high trust model and employers will not be asked for verification before the subsidy is approved. However MSD will have the ability to check applications and verify information at a later date. Read more

At Alliott NZ we remain acutely aware of the impact COVID-19 is having, and may continue to have for the foreseeable future, for our clients.

We are taking a position of ‘business as usual’ with our offices still being attended, whilst keeping abreast of the evolving direction from various authorities.

As a firm, we have a substantial capacity to work remotely and to ensure your interests continue to be looked after.  Our foundation systems for practice and document management, emails and communications are cloud-based.  If we are directed to no longer permit staff to attend our offices we, therefore, have the capability to continue to serve your needs.

Naturally, the health and safety of our staff, clients and business partners, their families and our community is of the utmost importance.  Our management of the situation will weigh all such factors when making key decisions.

Sources: COVID-19 employer support – Work and Income (2020). Available at: https://workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html; Special Tax Alert: Tax reform measures included as part of Business Continuity Package (2020). Available at: https://deloittenewzealand.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/d/CDC9C825A42A8BBD2540EF23F30FEDED/A5CAE4CAE8D649F12C69F821C9DCC086