This year, we reactivated the Resurgence Support Payment and made loans and top-up loans under the Small Business Cashflow Scheme.
In February 2022, the Government announced a new COVID-19 Support Payment for businesses struggling to earn income during the Omicron outbreak. It replaced the Resurgence Support Payment. We implemented the new payment so applications could open on 28 February. The payment was available on a fortnightly basis for 6 weeks - so 3 payments were made in total.
Since the launch of these initiatives, we've paid out $6.5 billion in payments and loans.
"I just wish to convey my genuine appreciation for processing my company's resurgence support so quickly. Really happy to see the deposit in just one day. I can see it was crazy busy dealing with applications. For this reason I fully acknowledge your response and thank you for your great help at this difficult time." - Small business customer.
We took longer to process some COVID-19 Support Payment applications than we would have liked. This is because twice as many customers contacted us than expected, and our people were dealing with the impacts of the pandemic themselves. However, our people and systems have ensured 84% of payments reached customers within 1 business day.
COVID-19 payments were made using a high-trust model, but this doesn't mean it was high risk. Rules built into our systems allow us to assess risk very quickly and determine whether customers are eligible for support. This year, upfront automatic risk-based checks stopped just over 200,000 applications and referred them to our people to review.
In addition to pre-payment checks, we also complete post-payment checks. Customers who received payments they were potentially ineligible for may not have had the decline in income they were expecting or may not have used the money for its intended purpose. In a small number of cases, customers have committed fraud.
For the Small Business Cashflow Scheme, a small number of people have created false businesses, used fraudulent documents and/or stolen identities and committed tax fraud linked to loan fraud, and vice versa. In the worst cases of fraud, we prosecute. In less serious cases, we put the loan into default and demand immediate repayment. We also review customers who appear to have breached their loan terms and conditions. If a breach has occurred, we may put their loan into default.
In December 2021, a man from Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington was sentenced to 12 months of home detention for defrauding the Small Business Cashflow Scheme. His bank account statements showed he received $53,000 he was ineligible for.
In February 2022, a man from Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland was sentenced to 12 months of intense supervision and 6 months of community detention. He had fraudulently tried to obtain $117,800 in loans, however we only paid out $23,600.
In February 2022, the Government announced that the first 2 years of existing and new Small Business Cashflow Scheme loans would be interest-free, if the loan is not in default. From April, we started letting customers know that the first interest-free periods would end on 12 May 2022 and by the end of June 2022, around 21% of the total amount loaned had been repaid.
The loan scheme is working as intended by supporting ordinarily viable businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. We reviewed customers with loans of $90,000 to $100,000 who repaid them in full before the interest-free period ended. We found they were all eligible as they had met the loan criteria, including the decline in their business revenue, and none had received a second loan or top-up loan. These businesses appear to have recovered well to repay their loans in full.
As at 30 June 2022:
- 60,000 customers have made repayments
- 23,000 customers have repaid the full loan amount
- $493 million has been paid back.
All figures above have been rounded.
COVID-19 Support Payments
- 84% of payments were paid within 1 business day.
- 113,000 customers have received COVID-19 Support Payments.
- $1.3 billion has been paid out.
- 48,000 applications were stopped in pre-payment checks in 2021-22.
- 30,000 applications were rejected in 2021-22 after we reviewed them totalling $140 million.
Small Business Cashflow Loans
- 75% of loans were paid within 2 business days and 96% were paid within 5 days.
- 128,000 businesses have had loans approved.
- 19,000 applications for top-up loans were approved.
- $2.3 billion in loans has been paid out, which includes $191 million in top-up loans.
- 11,000 applications were stopped in pre-payment checks in 2021-22.
- 6,200 applications were rejected in 2021-22 after we reviewed them totalling $99 million.
Resurgence Support Payments
- 84% of payments were paid within 1 business day.
- 231,000 customers have received Resurgence Support Payments.
- $2.9 billion has been paid out.
- 143,000 applications were stopped in pre-payment checks in 2021-22.
- 43,000 applications were rejected in 2021-22 after we reviewed them totalling $112 million.
All the figures above have been rounded.
Every day, our community compliance teams support communities around the country with their tax and payments.
When COVID-19 first broke out, the economy in the Chatham Islands was badly affected as many people earn their income from exporting fish and crayfish to China. We knew businesses would be eligible for, but perhaps not aware of, the assistance available.
Fortunately, we had a strong connection with the Chatham Islands. Community Compliance Officer Anne Williams has been supporting our customers for over 17 years, visiting the Chathams annually.
Just before the lockdown in March 2020, Anne joined a taskforce set up by Te Manatū Ahu Matua the Ministry of Primary Industries, which held hui with Chatham Islanders at Waitangi and Kaingaroa. Anne says,
"The export market disappeared overnight and people had an immediate 75% drop in the money coming in. Families and whānau were struggling to afford and import food and other essentials."
The taskforce set up immediate support such as a food bank and has helped improve communications into the Chathams. Anne and her colleagues at Inland Revenue assisted customers in applying for support schemes.
Since then, Anne has continued to help her customers since 2020 with advice. She hopes to get back to the Chatham Islands soon. She’s drawn on experience from coordinating and problem-solving in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. Anne says,
"People are under mental stress my approach is to listen and empathise and then we work together to find other support."