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The horrific weather events of the past month have had a significant impact on people and businesses throughout New Zealand, including our Hawke’s Bay team.
Time to read: 9 mins
This information is current as of 14 March 2023.
We provided advice earlier this month after the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods and update this with new measures that hopefully provide some relief to our clients. We outline key items below:
Provisions allow Inland Revenue to remit late filing and late payment penalties where returns and payments were late due to circumstances outside a taxpayer’s control, and Inland Revenue will be forthcoming in providing relief. The government has issued Orders in Council, meaning Inland Revenue can remit Use Of Money Interest (UOMI) where payment was made late as a result of the floods and/or Cyclone Gabrielle. If you have filed or will file a return (or made a payment late) as a result of the weather events, you will need to apply to Inland Revenue to seek relief.
Other relief available includes:
Inland Revenue is allowing late deposits for the 2022 year and early withdrawals from the income equalisation scheme. Deposits for the 2022 year can be made until 30 June 2023. Note the refund will be income in the year that the application is made which, given the pending end of the financial year, might be significant. We recommend discussing the effect of any early withdrawals with your Baker Tilly Staples Rodway advisor.
Donated trading stock
The donated trading stock concession, which ensures donations of trading stock to approved donee organisations and public authorities are deductible for income tax purposes, will now be expiring on 31 March 2024 instead of 31 March 2023. This would include, for example, a supermarket donating groceries to a charity such as the Salvation Army or the local Council for distribution to those impacted by the weather events.
31 March 2023 return filing deadline
Inland Revenue have indicated they will delay following up unfiled 2022 income tax returns to allow taxpayers and tax agents in areas impacted by the weather events extra time to finalise these returns. Additionally, tax agents can seek deferral status for clients significantly impacted by the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods or Cyclone Gabrielle, which effectively extends the 31 March 2023 deadline. If your business has been affected, and as a result, you need extra time to file your income tax return, please discuss with your Baker Tilly Staples Rodway advisor.
Care should be taken when asking your tax agent to seek deferral status. The time bar period (the period in which Inland Revenue can reopen a tax return to correct any error) is extended by a year and the Cost of Living Payment will not be available where a 2022 income tax return is filed after 31 March 2023.
Donations and Donee Organisations
Individuals can claim a tax credit of one-third of the cash donations made to approved donee organisations. Receipts can either be uploaded to myIR or retained for lodgement with the year-end income tax return. The tax credit itself will only be available after the end of the tax year.
Primary sector recovery grants
The government has announced grants to support farmers and growers impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Specific grants include:
Applications for these grants open on the afternoon of 22 February 2023, and will be through the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Back to Work Grants
Back to Work Grants are available for businesses impacted by the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods. Eligible businesses can receive up to $5,000. Key criteria are that the business must:
The grants themselves are:
Applications for the grants can be made through the Auckland Chamber or via 0800 005 605.
Business Support Grants
Grants of up to $40,000 have been made available by government to help businesses impacted by the weather events to keep operating, position themselves for a successful recovery and maintain cashflow.
Businesses must at a minimum meet the following criteria:
The grants are being administered by relevant regional entities, as below:
The regional entities may have further criteria (for example, Hawke’s Bay require the business to have fewer than 50 Full Time Equivalent employees). Please contact the applicable regional entity for further information.
Other Grants and Support
A variety of other grants have been offered for business, along with more general support during this time. Due to the breadth of grants and support available and the specific rules applicable, we recommend contacting the relevant regional entities to seek further advice:
The government has introduced a Supplementary Order Paper to provide further relief for people impacted by the weather events. Most of the relief is similar to the relief offered after the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011, with minor tweaks made to account for wage growth and inflation in the years since.
Ex-Gratia Welfare Payments and Accommodation
Payments made to employees and accommodation provided by employers to employees are generally subject to PAYE.
However, for a period of up to eight weeks after the relevant weather event, an employer can make an ex-gratia welfare payment of up to $5,000 and/or provide accommodation for an employee without either being subject to PAYE and without it taxable to the employee.
Fringe benefits provided to employees for a period of up to eight weeks after the relevant weather event can be provided free of FBT provided the value of the fringe benefits provided is up to $5,000.
Key things to note for the ex-gratia welfare payments, accommodation and fringe benefits are:
Five Year Tax Exemption for Accommodation
As many readers would be aware, a tax exemption applies for accommodation provided on out of town secondments, with a two year exemption applying in general and a three year exemption applying where the employee is working on a project of limited duration (generally work on building capital assets such as buildings).
A five year exemption previously existed for projects associated with the Christchurch earthquakes and this is being revived for projects associated with the rebuilding and recovery of areas impacted by the weather events.
For the five year exemption to be available, the employee needs to start work at the distant workplace within the following periods:
The time limit could be extended by Order in Council.
While we have previously outlined the income tax and GST impacts of insurance receipts received after weather events, this was in the context of the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods. Broadly, the principles remain the same.
Insurance receipts will generally be subject to GST, however, there are several nuances in the rules. The payment must relate to a loss incurred in the course or furtherance of a taxable activity (e.g. an orchard that receives an insurance payout in relation to the orchard) and the insurance premiums must have been subject to GST under the normal rules (so not under the remote services rules) at the time the premium payments were made.
The GST must be returned in the period in which the insurance payment is received.
The income tax treatment of insurance receipts will depend on the nature of the insurance payout.
If the insurance payout relates to fixed assets, then its treatment will depend on what happens to the asset.
A fixed asset that is written off is treated as proceeds on disposal, net of any GST returned. If the tax book value is less than the proceeds on disposal, then depreciation recovery income would arise, which would need to be returned in the income tax return. If the tax book value is more than the proceeds on disposal, then a further depreciation loss would arise, which could be claimed as a deduction in the income tax return. Note, this includes any buildings written off as a result of the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods or Cyclone Gabrielle as the damage was caused by a natural event outside the taxpayer’s control.
For a fixed asset that is not written off, it is treated as a reduction in the adjusted tax value of the relevant asset. This reduction is net of any costs incurred. So, for example, if an asset has an adjusted tax value of $750,000, expenditure of $50,000 is incurred to bring it back to original working condition and the insurer pays out a sum of $70,000 in relation to the weather events, then the asset’s new adjusted tax value is $730,000. This may have an impact on the calculation of depreciation for future years.
If the insurance payout relates to items other than fixed assets (for example, business continuity insurance and loss of trading stock), it will generally be treated as income for income tax purposes. The income is allocated to the later of the income year to which the replaced income relates and the earlier of the income year in which the amount is received or the amount is reasonably able to be estimated.
The above information is current as of 21 February 2023.
If you have any queries regarding the tax impact of any insurance receipts, or about relief being offered, please contact your Baker Tilly Staples Rodway advisor.
DISCLAIMER No liability is assumed by Baker Tilly Staples Rodway for any losses suffered by any person relying directly or indirectly upon any article within this website. It is recommended that you consult your advisor before acting on this information.
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