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IRD providing COVID support for businesses

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Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, says Revenue Minister David Parker.

Parker says the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same time which has led to high demand for Inland Revenue’s services.

“Despite this increased demand, Inland Revenue is processing applications quickly,” says Parker. “During Alert Levels 4 and 3, Inland Revenue staff were able to answer calls from home due to the investments in Inland Revenue’s transformation. Businesses are also able to apply for support online.

There are about 1300 people working in Inland Revenue Department -  IRD’s customer-facing roles with the vast majority working from home during lockdown.

Demand is shared across this group to take account of other responsibilities such as child care.

The majority returned to the office on Thursday.

“As they deal with the surge in demand I know IRD staff appreciate the patience shown by customers,” says Parker.

This last week IRD have answered an average each day of about 4600 calls from customers through the open phone lines, about 4700 calls from MSD to support wage subsidy applications and about 7000 items of webmail.

“Since applications for the Resurgence Support Payment opened on 24 August almost 190,000 had been received. This is greater than the sum of applications (83,600) received during the three previous times the Resurgence Support Payment was available. By Friday, September 10, more than 170,000 applications were approved, with $523m paid out.”

David Parker and Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced on the weekend additional payments under the RSP scheme to help businesses with their cashflow, in recognition of the extended period of alert level restrictions, with applications opening on September 17.

“Further help for business has also been given through the Small Business Cashflow Scheme. From 18 August to 10 September, 5,297 applications have been received with 3,932 approved at a total of $61.65m,” says Parker.

Inland Revenue’s staff are also providing assistance to the Ministry of Social Development – MSD - with wage subsidy applications. Inland Revenue staff had answered about 66,000 calls from MSD to September 10 to support them verifying wage subsidy applications.

Parker says he would like to thank the staff at Inland Revenue and acknowledged the essential support IRD had provided to New Zealand businesses since the Alert Level 4 lockdown began.

He encourages all businesses eligible for support to make an application.

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