By the time you read this, Auckland will be back into COVID Level 3 restrictions, and the rest of the country in Level 2.

The purpose of this email is to cover what we think you need to know for the next three days. If this situation continues, we will be in contact again next week.

What are we doing?
As with previous Level 3 and Level 4 situations, we are continuing to work remotely. While the office is closed, we are able to provide our usual services other than personal contact. Our phones have been switched over to individuals’ cell phones, email is fully functional, and we are available on Zoom or Teams for meetings as required.

Tax Letters
The first instalment of 2021 provisional tax is payable by 28 August 2020. Because this is always based on the last completed tax return, which for most clients will be 2019 or 2020, the calculated instalment may be far from correct for many clients. We are sending text letters in the next two days. If you have any concerns about your tax, including your ability to pay, please contact your usual accountant at our office.

If your business has been affected by COVID, or is likely to be affected by the current restrictions, please let us know.

To date, Inland Revenue have been very understanding regarding late payments of tax. We will keep you updated as we receive updated policy.

COVID-affected businesses
We will send a separate email to clients who we expect may be affected by COVID. Please continue to contact us, and also please continue to file Inland Revenue returns, such as PAYE and GST returns, even if you are unable to make the payments. We ask that you also continue to let us know if you are unable to make tax payments.

We have today contacted the Department of Labour for clarification about payments to employees, where employees are not able to work from home and are not receiving a wages subsidy. This is what they told us:

  • they recommend that where possible, the 3 days are paid to the employee as usual, on a goodwill basis.
  • the employer can suggest the employee take annual leave, noting that this has to be agreed upon by the employee
  • if an employer chooses to use a directive to take annual entitlements, the 14 day notice period applies (the employer must give 14 days’ notice of an instruction to take annual leave), however there is leeway if the employee agrees to take the leave
  • where the employer simply cannot afford to pay, the employee may take unpaid wages, however the employer again must communicate with the employee before payday
  • the Department of Labour are themselves awaiting a government announcement

Communication with employees is key.

What might happen next?
The government has announced today that it has a $14 billion ‘bucket’ available for further support, should this situation continue.

We wish you the very best in what continues to be an extremely difficult time.

Kind regards from the team at Miller Johnson