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Source: Environmental Protection Authority

Participants who are unable to complete their returns by 31 March can apply for an extension of up to 20 working days to submit their return, however this needs to be done by the 31 March reporting deadline. The EPA cannot extend the date for surrender obligations.

The EPA’s General Manager for Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement, Gayle Holmes, says changes to the ETS, through the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act 2020, became law last June. If participants fail to file their returns on time, and surrender or repay units by the due date, or provide incorrect information, new penalties may apply.

She says, “If you don’t meet your obligations, there are new penalties which will have financial impacts. For some participants the penalty may be substantial and we do not have discretion to apply any penalty reductions to these.”

Gayle Holmes says that’s why people need to stay up-to-date with their filing and on top of their obligations under the CCRA.

“How penalties are calculated are now prescribed by the Act. A person’s level of culpability and voluntarily disclosure of a failure or error are factors that will determine the ‘culpability factor’ to be applied to the penalty amount. It is in an organisations best interest to let us know promptly if they have made a mistake.”

In addition to penalties, there are a number of offences relating to failure to comply with provisions in the Act, including collecting data, keeping records and submitting an emission return by the due date.

Like the Income Tax regime, the ETS is ‘enabling’, in that people are able to do things for themselves. People register themselves, assess their own obligations, and then do their own reporting.

The ETS is New Zealand’s primary tool for reducing carbon emissions. The amendments, which came into effect last year, have provided the EPA with a wider range of compliance tools to help manage and maintain the integrity of the Scheme, and will improve certainty for businesses, make the Scheme more accessible and improve its administration. These changes will help New Zealand reach its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, moving New Zealand towards being a sustainable and low emission economy.

Find out more about changes to the ETS scheme and participants obligations