IRD working overtime to provide Covid support to businesses - Revenue Minister

By Te Ao - Māori News

Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for resurgence support payments and other assistance schemes that it administers but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said Saturday.

Minister Parker said 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. 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 the support online."

There are about 1,300 people working in IRD’s customer-facing roles with the vast majority working from home during lockdown. Demand was 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,” Minister Parker said.

This week IRD have answered an average each day of about 4,600 calls from customers through the open phone lines, about 4,700 calls from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to support wage subsidy applications and about 7,000 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 10 September, more than 170,000 applications were approved, with $523m paid out.”

On Friday, Minister Parker and Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced additional payments under the resurgence support payment scheme to help businesses with their cash flow, in recognition of the extended period of alert level restrictions, with applications opening on 17 September.

“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.”

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