COVID-19 income equalisation assistance for primary sector
On 29 April 2020, Inland Revenue announced that measures are being taken to assist farmers, fishers and growers whose current or future income will be significantly affected by the impacts of COVID-19. Inland Revenue is aware the primary sector is now feeling the impacts of COVID-19. In particular, it has caused financial issues for farmers, fishers and growers.
Inland Revenue is able to accept late deposits to the income equalisation scheme. For farmers, fishers and growers whose current or future income will be significantly affected by the impacts of COVID-19, Inland Revenue will allow class of case late deposits for the 2019 tax year up to 30 June 2020 regardless of when the 2019 return is filed or what the due date is for filing the return. The quantum of the deposit is limited to the net income from agricultural activities for the 2018/19 income tax year.
An affected farmer, fisher or grower must first register for the income equalisation scheme. This can be done in myIR. Once this is done, the late deposit to the Income Equalisation account may be made via myIR. The deposit should be received by Inland Revenue by 30 June 2020.
Farmers, fishers or growers materially affected by COVID-19 will be permitted to make early refunds. In this case, materially affected means that the farmer, fisher or grower is in financial difficulty through the incurring of significant additional expenditure or through a significant decrease in revenue as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. All applications for an early refund can be made via myIR and will take approximately 20 days to process.
Generally, the refund will be income in the year that the application is made. However, there is an exception where the application for refund is made in either the specified period, or where, in a case or class of cases, a longer period is allowed by the Commissioner.
A person can choose in the application that the refund is to be income in the income tax year to which the specified period of the longer period relates. More information is available in Inland Revenue’s Standard Practice Statement I9/03: “Income equalisation deposits and refunds”.
Source document: Inland Revenue
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