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New Zealand Budget 2020 - Giles & Liew Chartered Accountants

Budget 2020 Highlights for Business Owners

May 19, 2020


Titled “Rebuilding Together”, unsurprisingly, any hopes of a transformational economic shift were quickly squashed when the Minister of Finance, Hon Grant Robertson, delivered Budget 2020 on Thursday 14 May 2020.  The aim of Budget 2020 can be summed up in two words “Recover and Rebuild”, with the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic dominating and the focus being on creating and sustaining employment.

The Government is establishing a $50 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which builds on top of the previously announced initial $12.1 billion COVID-19 Economic Response Package and New Zealand Upgrade Programme.  New business support measures were announced, together with investment into infrastructure, housing development and construction, an environmental jobs package and a trades and apprentices package.  Tax measures, of which we have become all too familiar with as per much of our previous coverage over the last six weeks, were not much of a focus of this year’s Budget.

In this article we identify some of the key points of Budget 2020 that we believe impact SMEs and invite you to discuss with us how your business may be impacted or opportunities that may have come to light as a result of the announcements.


New Business Support Measures


New support measures for COVID-19 affected businesses include: 


A targeted extension of the Wage Subsidy Scheme

$3.2 billion has been committed to extending the Wage Subsidy Scheme by a further eight-week period, on top of the twelve-week period of the existing scheme, if your business can prove at least a 50% reduction in revenue in the 30 days prior to application compared to the closest period last year.

Qualifying employers are entitled to an extra 8 weeks of the subsidy per employee at the same weekly rate as the Wage Subsidy was paid. The Wage Subsidy Extension will be paid in a lump sum and applications are open from 10 June 2020 until 1 September 2020.  You can’t apply for the Wage Subsidy Extension for an employee until their twelve-week Wage Subsidy has finished.

Certain obligations must be met when applying for the Wage Subsidy Extension such as agreeing to pass the subsidy on to your employees, retaining your employees for the entire duration of the subsidy, doing your best to pay employees at least 80% of their normal pay and taking active steps to mitigate the impact COVID-19 has on your business.

Talk to us first if you feel like this may be an avenue you wish to explore as a life-line for your business.


Loan scheme for Research and Development programmes

A $150 million short-term temporary loan scheme will be launched to incentivise businesses to continue research and development projects that may be at risk due to COVID-19. This loan scheme intertwines with the R&D loss tax credit regime that was announced earlier in the year.  The loans will provide one-off finance, administered by Callaghan Innovation.


Further business support

An announced $216 million injection into New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is a welcome boost to assist export businesses.

A $10 million commitment to supporting small business e-commerce capabilities is also an exciting move.  The $10 million injection won’t go far but recognises the need for moving business online. Being able to connect with customers in the current climate has been difficult for many businesses but innovative approaches by business owners to get their business up and running online have allowed some to survive and others to thrive.  If you need help to move your business online, talk to us about how we can help you with your digital transformation journey.


Other Budget Announcements of Note


  • $1.6 billion has been allocated for the loss carry-back scheme which allows businesses expecting to make a loss in either the 2020 year or the 2021 year to use that loss to offset profits they made the year before. There are certain eligibility requirements you must meet in order to claim the temporary loss carry-back and the IRD must be notified if you are going to use this scheme.  Discuss with one of our business advisors whether this should be a consideration for your business.
  • A proposal to relax the loss continuity rules is noted in order to encourage the growth of start-up companies. Currently you can only carry a loss forward if there has been shareholder continuity of at least 49% of voting shares through the continuity period.  Recognising that businesses may need to seek significant capital funding in order to survive due to COVID-19, the relaxing of these rules could have a huge impact on some businesses.   More detail is still to be released on this subject.  Talk to us about scenario planning and strategic advice around admitting further shareholders to your business and the implications of this.
  • $1 billion is committed to creating 11,000 environmental jobs including regional environmental projects, biosecurity, weed and pest control and additional DOC jobs. Environmental projects include pest eradication, waterway improvement and construction of tracks and huts in the conservation estate.  This is expected to have long-term beneficial effects for tourism, both domestic and international.  Whether many tourism businesses will survive through COVID-19 to realise such benefits is another matter but it creates long-term opportunities nevertheless.
  • An ambitious target of an extra 8,000 additional public and transitional homes are to be built over the next four to five years, expected to create $5 billion of construction activity, good news for the construction industry who are usually hard-hit during times of economic recession.
  • $1.6 billion is allocated to a trades and apprentices package aimed at providing opportunities for New Zealanders to receive trades training.
  • A $400 million boost to the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan was also announced, a further helping-hand to the tourism industry who must now rely heavily on domestic tourism.
  • A $3 billion contingency boost was announced for additional infrastructure investment, directed at specific projects.


Where to from here?


$20 billion of the $50 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund remains unallocated so further announcements are sure to be on the horizon.  Budget 2020, while not terribly exciting, does create some opportunities for those eager enough to respond.  Talk to one of our Business Advisors about your current business strategy and how we can help with your business budgeting and cash flow forecast requirements to readjust your business strategy to the current economic climate.


About Zak Glander

Zak Glander, Accountant - Giles & Liew Chartered AccountantsZak works with clients across a variety of accounting and advisory functions. He has previous commercial management accounting experience in both domestic and international freight and is passionate about streamlining processes to create efficiency. Zak is a strong believer that leveraging technology to get transactional jobs done faster is key to helping businesses move forward.

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