Unemployed people urge Government to refund tax from redundancy payouts

Workers who've already lost their jobs are urging the Government to refund the tax taken from their redundancy payouts because they need the extra money.

Pilot of 12 years Andy Czajkowski lost his dream job with Virgin Airlines after flying with them for three years.

"I've lost my livelihood. I'm a sole income earner, I've got a wife and a three-year-old boy, and we were looking at making it [two children], but we sort of stopped that process now."

He got a redundancy payout, but one-third of it went straight to the Government's coffers. He says he needs it back.

"When you see money just coming out of the account, and not going into the account, that's when it really sinks in and you think 'wait a second, I need to buy more time'."

He's one of many urging the Government to make COVID-19 redundancy payments tax-free.

A submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee obtained by Newshub shows the desperation many Kiwis' faces. Some say they're so stressed they're losing the will to live. 

The tax system treats redundancy payments like any other source of income, but exemptions have been made before, tax expert Terry Baucher says. 

"Up until just after the Canterbury earthquakes, you could get up to $3600 tax credit against your redundancy."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the Government is considering a "wide range of measures", including tax exemptions, but no decisions have been made.

"Governments have just quietly pocketed the money and said, 'yeah, we'll look at it', and nobody does anything," Baucher says.

Workers who get more than a $30,000 redundancy payout do not qualify for the Income Relief Payments announced on Monday. 

"We need help, we need to breathe," Czajkowski says.

Because the outgoing costs don't stop when you lose your job.