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COVID-19 Alert Level 1 If you've been affected by COVID-19, we may be able to help. Find out more

We're aware the primary sector is now feeling the impacts of COVID-19. In particular it has caused financial issues for farmers, fishers and growers and is likely to materially affect their income for the 2020 and future income years.

Income equalisation scheme – class of case deposits

We’re able to accept later 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 we’ll allow class of case late deposits for the 2019 income tax year up to 30 June 2020 regardless of when the 2019 return is filed or what the due date is for filing the tax return, The quantum of the deposit is limited to the net income from agricultural activities for the 2018-2019 income tax year.


An affected farmer, fisher or grower must first register for the income equalisation scheme. This can be done in myIR.

Register for income equalisation in myIR


Once this is done, you'll need to:

  • make the late deposit to your Income Equalisation Account via myIR
  • make sure the deposit is received by Inland Revenue by 30 June 2020
  • follow the process for deposits.


Class of Case income equalisation scheme - withdrawals

Usually Income Equalisation Scheme deposits are generally not available for refunds until 12 months after the deposit is made. However, where the Commissioner is satisfied that an affected person will use a refund for certain purposes, early refunds can be made. The purposes set out in section EH 15(3) of the Income Tax Act 2007 are:

  • for the immediate purchase of replacement livestock lost as a result of a self-assessed adverse event
  • to avoid serious hardship
  • a purpose determined by the Commissioner in a case or class of case.

Class of case - refunds

Those 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.

Determined purpose - refunds

Early refunds will be permitted to assist farmers, fishers or growers in financial difficulty as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.

Process - refunds

All applications for an early refund can be made via myIR and will take approximately 20 days to process.

Follow the income equalisation scheme refunds process.

Income equalisation scheme refunds 

When a refund is treated as income

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
  • in a case or class of cases, a longer period allowed by the Commissioner.

The person can choose in the application that the refund is to be income in the income tax year to which the specified period or the longer period relates.

For more information, refer to our Standard Practice statement on income equalisation deposits and refunds.

Standard Practice Statement 19/03 Income equalisation deposits and refunds.

For more information please contact us on our emergency helpline:

0800 473 566

New Zealand legislation Income Tax Act 2007

  • Section EH 4(4)
  • Section EH 15(3)