With Auckland thrown back into level 3 as the Papatoetoe cluster spreads and the rest of New Zealand now in level 2, the government has activated the Covid-19 Resurgence Support Payment (RSP).

Alongside the resurgence payment is the bog standard wage subsidy, and businesses are able to claim both, if eligible. 

The new round of wage subsidy from this outbreak is estimated to cost between $400-to-$500 million. 

If your application is successful payments will come from Inland Revenue within five working days of approval. The resurgence support payments are not subject to income tax.

Eligible businesses can apply to receive the lesser of $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs, or four-times the actual revenue drop experienced by the business.

The maximum size of the grant your business is eligible for is dependent on the number of full-time equivalent employees and your level of revenue.

Important note: As is its way, myIR and IR’s phone systems are currently unavailable until the start of business on Monday, March 1 for a planned system update, but National MP Andrew Bayly is already calling for it to get to work, so watch this space. And here's an update — Inland Revenue's systems are now back online as of 4.30pm, Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know to get it

Businesses can apply through myIR for the resurgence payment from Tuesday, Feb 23. It is available to all eligible businesses and organisations in New Zealand.

Charities and not-for-profit organisations may be entitled but provided they meet other eligibility requirements including that they are a viable, ongoing organisation.

State sector organisations are excluded but can apply to the minister of finance for an exemption to apply for the scheme.

Applications are open for one month after the start of the new alert levels on Feb 28.

Your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue, or capital-raising ability, over a seven-day period after the alert level increase in the six weeks prior to the increase — but there are some exemptions such as those for seasonal businesses.

You must have been in business for at least six months, and applicants (including sole traders and trustees) must be at least 18-years-old at the time of application.

The business or organisation must be considered viable and ongoing.

The applicant can choose the start date of the seven-day period where they experience a drop in revenue as long as the total period is within the increased alert level period. 

Both the affected revenue period and the comparison period must be calculated retrospectively. The calculations must be based on what has happened, not a forecast of what might happen.

Income that is received passively – such as interest and dividends, and all forms of residential and commercial rent – is excluded from the measurement of revenue.

GST-registered businesses will return GST on payments received under the RSP. These businesses will be able to claim input tax deductions for expenditure funded by payments under the RSP.

You need to show

Your business IRD number, can be an IRD number or company IRD number. IR customer name, New Zealand Business Number, and all your basic details like contact name, email address and the details of your employees like names, IRD numbers.

What can you do with the money?

Its meant to go towards wages and salaries so businesses can keep staff, and keep paying staff through the uncertainty of another lockdown.

Other money you might be eligible for

The good old wage subsidy is back. This kicks in when alert levels rise to 3 or 4 anywhere in New Zealand for seven days or more.

It’s a $585.80 payment for people working full-time — 20-hours or more per week, and $350.00 for people working part-time or less than 20 hours per week.

And there is also the Covid-19 Support Scheme which is a lump sum of $1176.60 for full-time employees and $700 for part-time employees for those who meet specific health criteria, such as being sick with covid-19.

There are one-off payments of $350 available for businesses who have workers who cannot work from home and have to miss work because they are waiting on a covid test result (in line with public health guidance). 

It’s available for the self-employed too and parents or caregivers who need to miss work to support their dependents who are staying at home waiting for a covid test result. This payment scheme started on Feb 9.

As at Feb 19 the Ministry of Social Development had approved 1,206 Covid-19 Short-Term Absence Payment applications and paid out $483,700. 

It had approved 2,826 applications for the Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme and paid out $19.2 million.