Skip to main content

North Island flooding | Many of you have been affected by the flooding in the North Island and may need help keeping up with your tax obligations. Find out more

The Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme (SBCS) provides loans to small businesses or organisations which have been impacted by COVID-19. These loans are intended to help small businesses or organisations recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

We will administer the payments and repayments of this scheme. If your business or organisation is eligible and you apply through myIR, you may be entitled to a loan.

Loan amount

From 21 March 2022, the SBCS base loan increased from $10,000 to $20,000. The amount that can be borrowed from that date is $20,000, plus $1,800 per full-time equivalent employee (up to 50 full-time employees).

The loan repayment period remains 5 years (60 months).


The first 2 years of existing and new loans will be interest-free provided the loan is not in default. Interest will apply at a rate of 3% per year on the remaining loan balance from the first day of the third year of the loan period.

Topping up your loan

If you already have an SBCS loan which has not been repaid in full, your business or organisation may be able to apply for a top up loan from 21 March 2022. The amount of the top up loan is

  • a base rate of $10,000 plus
  • any amount available at the time of taking your existing SBCS loan which you did not borrow at the time.

For example, on 1 January 2021 you were eligible to borrow $11,800 but only borrowed $9,000. The maximum top up amount you can apply for is $12,800 ($10,000, plus $2,800).

You will need to make a fresh application for the top up and meet the eligibility criteria when you apply.

Borrowing again

If your business or organisation has been granted a SBCS loan and repaid it in full before the end of 2023, you may be able to borrow one more time. You and your business or organisation will need to meet the eligibility criteria at the time you apply to re-borrow.

Your business or organisation's eligibility

To apply for the SBCS, your business or organisation will need to meet all 5 of the following eligibility criteria.

Your business must have 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs)

You need to know how many part-time and full-time employees you have. A full-time employee, for the purposes of an SBCS loan, works 20 hours or more a week and counts as 1 FTE. A part-time employee works less than 20 hours a week and counts as 0.6 FTE. The sum of your FTEs is rounded up to the nearest whole number and is measured at the point you apply.

If you're part of a commonly owned group, your commonly owned group must have 50 or fewer FTEs.

Commonly owned groups

You need to have been in business for 6 months

Your business or organisation needs to have been owned and operated by you for at least 6 months before making the application. For example, a purchase of an existing business will only meet the test when you have owned and operated it yourself for 6 months.

All individuals who are employed by you need to be working legally in New Zealand. You must have experienced at least a 30% drop in actual revenue and the drop must be due to the impact of COVID-19. You'll need to hold information to enable us to verify this.

This drop in revenue is measured over a 14-day period in the 6 months before applying, compared with the same 14-day period 1 year ago.

If the revenue from the same period 1 year ago was affected by COVID-19 as well, compare with the same 14-day period 2 years ago.

If your business or organisation was not in existence 1 year ago (or 2 years ago if the above applies), compare with the same or similar period in the previous month.

The drop in revenue between these 2 periods must be at least 30% and must be due to the impact of COVID-19. You'll need to hold information to verify this for audit purposes.

Pre-revenue businesses and organisations

If your business or not-for-profit organisation has not yet received any revenue (it is pre-revenue). You will need to have experienced a 30% drop in capital receipts due to the impact of Covid-19 to meet this part of the eligibility criteria. When you complete the SBCS loan application, you will be required to make 2 declarations about your drop in revenue. For pre-revenue businesses and organisations, 'revenue' should be interpreted as capital receipts.

Your business must be viable

Your business or organisation must be viable and ongoing and have a plan to ensure it remains viable and ongoing. A viable business generally means the directors or owners have good reason to believe it's more likely than not that the business or organisation will be able to pay its debts as they fall due within the next 18 months. Your accountant may be able to provide this advice.

You will need to keep records of the business or organisation's ongoing viability at the time of applying for the loan. We may ask to see these. Your records may include:

  • a relevant cash-flow forecast for the business
  • a business plan which includes where future revenue will come from
  • financial statements showing the business has enough resources to sustain itself when including the SBCS loan
  • your accountant's assessment that the business or organisation is viable and ongoing.

Use of the loan

The loan must be used to pay for core operating costs of your business or organisation or capital costs that are intended to help your business adapt to the circumstances arising as a result of COVID-19. Costs may include (but are not limited to):

  • rent for the business
  • insurance
  • utilities
  • supplier payments
  • rates.

The loan must not be passed through to shareholders or owners of the business or organisation for their personal use, such as by a dividend or loan to the shareholders or owners.

If you have received the SBCS loan and now think you were not eligible

We undertake reviews of SBCS loans which may include one or more of the following:

  • customer eligibility
  • business viability
  • decline in revenue is due to the impact of COVID-19
  • use of the loan funds, including payments to shareholders or owners.

If you received the SBCS loan and were not eligible, or an event of default has since occurred, you need to let us know as soon as possible. The easiest way to notify us of the circumstances is in myIR.

  • From the SBCS account, click ‘more…’
  • Click ‘Send a message’
  • Under the Category heading select ‘Other’ In the subject box, please type ‘SBCS disclosure’

We will be in touch if we require any additional information.

Am I eligible for the Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme?

To apply for the SBCS loan for your business or organisation, you must be 18 years or older and have the legal right and appropriate authority to commit your business or organisation to this loan. We are not providing financial or other advice regarding this loan. You also must agree to the terms and conditions for the SBCS loan.
loading component...
Last updated: 12 Jul 2021
Jump back to the top of the page