Issue No 49 March 2014 IR 381

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1 Business tax update Inland Revenue s tax news for businesses Issue No 49 March 2014 IR 381 Making the right student loan deductions Employees who have a student loan need to have their repayments deducted from their salary or wages every pay period. If the right repayments aren t made, you might have to make extra deductions and the employee may be charged late payment interest. The following summary of student loan deductions will help you decide on the correct student loan deductions and show them on your Employer monthly schedule (EMS/IR 348). All student loan deductions are entered in the student loan deductions column on your EMS. The only exceptions to this are repayments made from a Notice to deduct amounts owed to Inland Revenue, these are paid directly to us and are not shown on the EMS. Standard deductions If you have an employee with a student loan, they must use a tax code with the SL repayment code (eg, M SL or S SL ), and you ll need to make standard student loan deductions depending on the tax code they re using. If your employee is using a main tax code (eg, M or ME ) with the SL repayment code, you need to subtract the pay period threshold from their gross income and deduct 12% of the remaining amount as their student loan repayment. The current thresholds are as follows. Pay period Pay period threshold Weekly $ Fortnightly $ Monthly $1, Four weekly $1, If your employee is using a secondary tax code (eg, S or SH ) with the SL repayment code, you deduct 12% from their gross income (before any deductions) as their student loan repayment. Do not deduct the pay period threshold first. By using the SL repayment code, your employee is ensuring you ll make the right deductions to meet their minimum required repayments. If they don t meet these minimum repayments, they will have to make up for them through compulsory extra deductions. They may also be charged late payment interest if these amounts are left unpaid which will increase their student loan balance. Exceptions Your employees may give you any of the following certificates or tax codes, which can change how much you deduct for their student loan. Welcome to Business Tax Update In this issue: Making the right student loan deductions, new employer registration service available, entertainment expenses and GST, child support deduction notices, changes to FBT and vouchers for registered charities, new to GST, hot off the press the all-new Provisional tax guide, options for making payments on time, beware of phishing scam, new child support rates for 2015, follow Inland Revenue on Twitter.. If you have any suggestions for topics you d like covered in this newsletter, REMINDERS 28 March: GST returns and payments are due for the period ending 28 February. 31 March: 2013 end-of-year income tax returns are due (if you have a tax agent with a valid extension of time). 7 April: 2013 end-of-year income tax, Working for Families Tax Credits and student loan payments are due (if you have a tax agent or accountant with a valid extension of time). Find out more at If you think you may have difficulty paying please contact us. Interest and penalties may be applied to overdue payments. Note: If a due date falls on a weekend or public holiday in your region, you have until the next working day to file and/or pay. (continued on next page) 1

2 (continued from previous page) Certificate or tax code Repayment deduction exemption certificate Effect on deductions No student loan deductions made from their pay. Don t use a tax code with the SL repayment code. Extra deduction code SLBOR What it means Voluntary extra deductions requested by your employee. Can be any amount the employee requests. Special deduction rate certificate Casual agricultural workers (CAE) Election day workers (EDW) Schedular payments (WT) Special tax code (STC) Extra deductions Make student loan deductions at the rate shown on the certificate. Use a tax code with the SL repayment code. No student loan deductions made from their pay. Don t use a tax code with the SL repayment code. Make tax and student loan deductions at the rates specified on the special tax code certificate. Use the STC tax code without the SL repayment code. You may be asked to make extra student loan deductions by either your employee or us. These are shown on a separate line on the EMS (ie, not with the employee s gross income and other deductions). SLCIR Compulsory extra deductions that we ve asked you to make. Deductions are made at a percentage of the employee s standard student loan deduction. Made only when the employee has standard student loan deductions from their pay. Enter the employee s name and IRD number as usual, with the extra student loan deductions in the student loan column, and the appropriate extra deduction code as shown in the table above. Note: Compulsory extra deductions are different to the deductions we may ask you to make when we send you a Notice to deduct amounts owed to Inland Revenue to recover student loan arrears. To find out more about student loan extra deductions and how to calculate compulsory extra deductions, visit (search keywords: compulsory extra deductions). New employer registration service available In February we talked about a new service that lets you register as an employer when you incorporate your company through the Companies Office website. This service is now available. This new digital service removes some of the duplication businesses face when dealing with government, making it faster and easier to start up a company. Now when you incorporate your company you can register for an IRD number, GST and as an employer all at the same time you only need to supply the key information once. Registering as an employer is optional. If you re not planning to employ staff straight away, you don t need to register. If you decide to employ staff later on as your business grows, simply register online with us at (search keyword: IR334) or call us on and we ll post you the Employer registration (IR 334). If you do register as an employer, we ll send you a confirmation letter and an employer pack within 10 working days. The pack tells you more about what you need to do as an employer and when. Combining these services is one more way government agencies are working together to deliver you better public services. To get your company started go to the Companies Office website at Online services Do it now. BUSINESS TAX UPDATE Issue No 49 March

3 Entertainment expenses and GST Have you claimed 100% of the GST charged on business entertainment expenses you ve provided to your employees, clients and suppliers, or prospective clients and suppliers? If those expenses are 50% deductible (eg, a corporate box, accommodation in a holiday home, a corporate yacht), you ll need to make an adjustment on your GST return to pay back the GST claimed on the 50% non-deductible portion of the expenses. This is because these expenses are considered to be supplies under the GST rules. The adjustment must be done once a year at the earlier of the date your income tax return is due to be filed, or when you file your income tax return. Example Olive s 2013 income tax return is due on 31 March 2014 as her tax agent has an extension of time to file the return. As Olive files GST returns on a six-monthly basis, she ll make her adjustment for entertainment expenses in her GST return for 31 March This is due for filing on 7 May The adjustment is 3/23 of the non-deductible entertainment expenses exclusive of GST (except non-taxable allowances). Include the adjustment on the GST adjustments calculation sheet (IR 372) under Entertainment expenses, and in the adjustments total in Box 9 of your GST return. Example The only entertainment expense Olive had during the 2013 tax year was a business lunch costing $300 (GST-inclusive). She included the whole $300 in an earlier GST return and calculates the adjustment as follows: Amount of expense (including GST) $ Minus GST portion of 3/23 $39.13 GST-exclusive amount $ Value of expense not deductible (50%) $ Multiply by 3, and divide by 23 $17.01 Olive will put the adjustment of $17.01 in Box 9 of her GST return for the period ending 31 March Note: You can t claim this GST adjustment amount as a deduction for income tax purposes. Organisations not liable for income tax don t need to make this adjustment because the GST adjustment is based on the amount not deductible for income tax. You can find more about the 50% deductibility rules, and entertainment expenses and GST in our Entertainment expenses (IR 268) guide at (search keyword: IR268). Child support deduction notices In mid-march you ll receive a new child support deduction notice for each employee who has child support deducted from their salary or wages. The new notice will tell you when to make deductions for your employee and the correct amount to deduct. We send new notices every year as all child support paying parents are reassessed for the new tax year starting on 1 April, which may mean a new payment amount. If you don t receive a new notice for your employee please continue to deduct child support at the existing rate. We usually issue a separate notice for each employee you make deductions for. However, we can send you deduction notices as a: consolidated notice a notice in schedule form showing all additions and changes to child support payments for multiple employees on the same schedule combination individual deduction notices for some employees and a consolidated deduction notice for others. If you d like to receive deduction notices in one of the above formats please call us on Changes to FBT and vouchers for registered charities From 1 April 2014, there will be changes to the threshold on FBT-exempt short-term charge facilities. This could affect the way some charities account for FBT (fringe benefit tax). The existing threshold is 5% of an employee s salary or wages for the year. From 1 April 2014 the threshold will change to be the lesser of: 5% of an employee s salary or wages for the year, or $1,200. We ve also clarified that vouchers (eg, petrol and grocery vouchers) given to employees are a form of short-term charge facility and therefore need to be included for FBT. This will mean that some charities may no longer be exempt from paying FBT on these items. They will need to declare this on their FBT returns and pay any subsequent FBT. What you need to do If your charity provides vouchers and/or other shortterm charge facilities to any employee, above the threshold, you ll need to: register for FBT (if not already) declare any fringe benefits provided by completing an FBT return pay any subsequent FBT. To find out more about FBT, go to (search keywords: fbt). BUSINESS TAX UPDATE Issue No 49 March

4 New to GST? Goods and services tax (GST) is a 15% tax on the supply of most goods and services in New Zealand, most goods imported into New Zealand and some specified imported services. You must register for GST if the turnover (income before expenses and GST) from your taxable activity was over $60,000 for the last 12 months, is expected to go over $60,000 for the next 12 months, or was less than $60,000 but you include GST in your prices. You can voluntarily register if your turnover is less than $60,000. You can find out more about registering in our factsheet GST do you need to register? (IR 365) at (search keyword: IR365). Before you register, you ll need to decide how often you ll file GST returns and how you ll account for it. Filing options (taxable period) There are three filing options. When to file Monthly Two monthly Six monthly Who can file Everyone can choose to file returns monthly. You must use this option if your turnover in a 12-month period is, or is likely to be, over $24 million. Everyone can choose to file returns two-monthly. Your two-month period can end in odd or even months. If your business transactions were less than $500,000 in the last 12 months, or are likely to be less in the next 12 months, this could be an option for you. Note: If you are liable for provisional tax, your taxable period must match your balance date. Accounting options There are three accounting options. Option Payments basis Invoice basis Hybrid basis When you account for GST When you receive or make a payment in your taxable period. On invoices you receive or issue in your taxable period, even if you haven t received or made a payment. A mix of the first two options. Account for GST on sales and income when you issue an invoice, and on expenses and purchases when you make a payment. Note: Everyone can use the invoice and hybrid bases, but the payments basis can generally only be used if your turnover is less than or unlikely to go over $2 million in a 12-month period. Need more help? Our GST guide (IR 375) has more information about understanding your GST requirements, invoices, record keeping and what GST is and isn t charged on. Making sure you keep up to date with your returns and payments is important and starting off on the right track is the best way to make it easy. Here are some tips to help: Find out what it s like to be GST-registered. Seek professional advice, view the information on our website at or call us on Account for GST when writing your business budget. The GST your customers pay is collected on behalf of the Government and paid to us. Don t use the GST you collect to pay other creditors. Choose the right taxable period for your business. If you have lots of payments and invoices, then filing monthly or two-monthly might be better for you. Use the most appropriate accounting basis for your business. Have you invested enough capital in your business to account for GST on the invoice basis, or would the payments or hybrid basis be better for you? Operate a separate bank account for GST only. This helps you keep track of GST collected and paid, and you ll have the full funds available to pay any GST bills on time. Once you re registered you can t issue invoices without GST, even if your customer requests this. Our Community Compliance staff and Kaitakawaenga Māori offer free business tax information services that cover GST, income tax, employer responsibilities and more to help you meet your tax responsibilities. Find out more at (search keyword: seminar) or call us on Our Tool for business is an online interactive tool that gives you information about starting a new taxable activity, record keeping, GST, income tax and employer responsibilities. Go to to get started. Check out our Introduction to business videos at (search keywords: business videos). They re designed to get you up to speed quickly on topics like depreciation, expenses, registering for GST and income and provisional taxes. Each clip links to more detailed information on our website. BUSINESS TAX UPDATE Issue No 49 March

5 Hot off the press the all-new Provisional tax guide The Provisional tax (IR 289) guide has been completely updated and rewritten in plain English as part of Inland Revenue s guides makeover programme. The revised guide will make it easier for you to understand and plan for your provisional tax instalments. (The first two guides in our programme won the Best Turnaround Category at the 2013 WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards.) View the IR 289 at or receive your own copy by calling Options for making payments on time Do you know about all the fast and easy ways you can make payments to Inland Revenue? We offer several convenient electronic options: internet banking paying securely online using your debit or credit card automatic payment through your bank direct credit. When paying electronically you must make sure the correct details are entered, so we know which IRD number, account type and period the payment is for. Other options are: posting a cheque overseas payments. Payments must be received by us either on or before the due date to avoid late payment penalties and interest. Whether you need to pay taxes, student loan, child support or something else, there are simple payment options to help you make your payment on time. For all the information on making payments and some helpful hints to make sure it gets to the right place, go to Beware of phishing scam A new scam is circulating. It links to a look-alike Inland Revenue online tax refund web page. This page says We automatically pay refunds of $600 or less to you 15 days after the date of your PTS and asks you to click on a link Refund me now. This leads to another page asking you for personal details including credit card information. Do not follow the link or enter any personal information. Forward the to and then delete it. Find out more about identifying and phone scams at (search keywords: phishing scam). New child support rates for 2015 Every year we recalculate the rates used to assess child support payments. If you or your employees pay child support, here are the new rates which will be used in the formula assessment. Rates for 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 Inflation factor 1.6% Minimum formula assessment annual rate $885 Maximum assessable income $134,081 Living allowances Single person with no dependents $15,058 Partnered with no dependents $20,474 Single/partnered with one dependent $28,946 Single/partnered with two dependents $32,004 Single/partnered with three dependents $35,061 Single/partnered with four dependents $38,119 The minimum annual assessment of $885 works out to around $73.75 a month ($17 a week). Follow Inland Revenue on Twitter for regular tweets on a range of tax and social policy matters, including our most recent media releases, due dates and consultations. Business Tax Update comments generally on topical tax issues relevant to businesses. Every attempt is made to ensure the law is correctly interpreted, but articles are intended as a brief overview only. The examples provided are not intended to cover every possible factual situation. BUSINESS TAX UPDATE Issue No 49 March

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