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The income equalisation and environmental restoration schemes are a way for certain types of businesses to even out income fluctuations by spreading their gross income from year to year.

This includes income from:

  • farming
  • fishing
  • forestry
  • testing, construction and mining (when related to environmental restoration).

Businesses pay the income into a special account which earns interest at 3% on amounts left on deposit for more than 12 months. The interest paid becomes part of the deposit for tax purposes.

We hold the deposit for up to 5 years. It's tax deductible in the year for which it is made. Any withdrawals (including interest) are generally assessable (counted as taxable income) in the year businesses apply to withdraw them.

In normal circumstances an amount may not be withdrawn unless it's been on deposit for at least 12 months.

Just after 31 March each year we send a statement to all taxpayers who have reserve scheme deposits, showing their current balance and any interest credited to the account.

Recent changes in myIR

You can now manage your  income equalisation scheme accounts in myIR, including:

  • registering for income equalisation in real time
  • registering for environmental restoration by sending us a web message and attaching the required documents
  • keeping track of your reserve scheme information under the account types EQU (income equalisation) and ERA (environmental restoration)
  • managing all your deposits and withdrawals.

Recent changes to payments

We no longer accept cheques for  income equalisation schemes, unless you have an exemption. You’ll need to:

  • make all deposits electronically
  • provide a bank account for any refunds.

Adverse event income equalisation scheme

The adverse event income equalisation scheme is repealed for years starting after 18 March 2019. Taxpayers can now use the main income equalisation scheme for this purpose.