COVID-19 Support Payment: Your questions answered

Applications for the COVID-19 Support Payment are open - and to help business owners navigate the rules, we've got answers to frequently asked questions below.

To be eligible for the payment, businesses are required to have a minimum 40 percent drop in revenue. There are two time periods against which current revenue can be compared: January 5 2022 to February 15, 2022 (original period) and January 5, 2021 to February 15, 2021 (introduced from March 14).  

The payment is available to help businesses in sectors most likely to experience a drop in revenue as a result of Omicron, a Treasury spokesperson told Newshub.

Examples of these businesses include those operating in hospitality, arts and recreation, private transport, and retail.

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, and Inland Revenue answer basic questions below about how to apply, what information is required, and how revenue loss is calculated.

1. What are the COVID-19 Support Payment rates?

Each payment is $4000 per business.

There is an additional $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 full-time employees (a maximum of $24,000).

The payment is available on a fortnightly basis for six weeks. There are three payments in total, and businesses are required to apply for each separately.

Payments start from March 1.

2. How do I apply? 

Applications are to be made through 'MyIR', an Inland Revenue spokesperson confirms.

Applications can be made by the business owner, their authorised administration staff, or a tax agent.

After logging in, applicants can click on the 'I want to' option in the top menu. The 'Apply for COVID-19 Support' option can be found under 'COVID-19 support'.

Applicants will receive confirmation that their application has been submitted.

3. Do I need to provide proof of the 40 percent drop in revenue with my application?

Applicants are asked to provide information to Inland Revenue, and to make a series of declarations about the drop in business revenue (must be at least 40 percent).

"They [applicants] must have evidence available to support the application (such as bank statements and invoices)," an Inland Revenue spokesperson said.

"They will only be asked to provide evidence to IR if required, as part of considering their application," the spokesperson added.

Inland Revenue said applicants are required to have evidence of the 40 percent drop in revenue at the time their application is made. This means applicants can "respond to any information requests quickly".

4. How is the 40 percent revenue loss calculated?

To qualify for the payment, businesses must be able to show revenue declined by at least 40 percent after February 15, 2022, compared to:

  • January 5, 2022 to February 15, 2022, or
  • January 5, 2021 to February 15, 2021 (alternative option announced on February 25).

"A business is eligible if they can show a 40 percent or greater drop in a seven day period since 16 February this year, compared against a typical seven day period in one of the timeframes above," Robertson said.

"The first payment will be open for application for at least six weeks, so even if they aren't eligible right now, they [businesses] may find they are as time goes on," Robertson added.

Businesses can apply for the COVID-19 Support Payment from Monday.  The alternative option, confirmed by Finance Minister Grant Robertson on Friday, is expected to be completed and available for use from March 14.

"Businesses will be able to use this option to apply for each of the three payments," Robertson said.

5. How long does the payment take to process?

Most applicants can expect to receive their payment "within five working days of their application being approved", an Inland Revenue spokesperson confirms.

More information about the COVID Support Payment is available on the Inland Revenue website.