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Waitomo News Farming Article - March 2020

These are unprecedented times for the people of New Zealand. The compulsory lockdown announced by the Government last Monday matches similar moves overseas and will bring much disruption and challenges to our normal way of life as we battle to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

While the Government has announced some financial support measures for businesses to assist them with the payment of wages for employees, it is clear that there will be large job losses and there are already many businesses throughout New Zealand in financial difficulty, particularly in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors.

The last week has been very demanding for financial service providers such as chartered accountants who are dealing with major disruptions to their own businesses due to the four-week lockdown as well as the financial issues and concerns of their clients. Fortunately, many businesses like ours have invested in remote working capability over recent years so those essential services such as payroll processing and PAYE and GST filing will continue as normal, but in a slightly different manner. We recommend that all businesses continue to file PAYE and GST returns as normal by the due date, and if you can’t make payment to Inland Revenue Department because of financial difficulties, let them know prior to the due date so that an arrangement can be made. The Government has already announced that the IRD is going to be relaxing its stance on the receipt of income tax and GST revenue in the short term, and in most cases any IRD interest for late payment will be waived for businesses affected by the Covid-19 virus.

At the time of writing this article the Government had announced two main economic support packages for businesses affected by Covid-19. The Wage Subsidy is available for all businesses that have had a drop in income of over 30% that continue to pay employees a minimum of 80% of their normal income. The wage subsidy is paid at a flat rate of $585.80 a week for employees working 20 hours or more per week, or $350 a week for employees working less than 20 hours per week. The subsidy is paid as an upfront lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee, so this equates to just over $7,000 per full time employee.

The second payment available to businesses is the Leave Payment. This is available to support businesses for employees that need to self-isolate as determined by the Ministry of Health Guidelines or cannot work because they are sick with Covid-19 or they are caring for dependents who are required to self isolate or are sick. The receipt of the subsidy and payment to employees will be cash neutral for businesses, but the payment to employees must be taxed with PAYE and KiwiSaver in the normal manner. Many businesses are now looking at ways to continue paying staff at an appropriate level and this will include employees having to use up leave entitlements in many cases. Some employees may wish to take temporary contributions holidays for their Kiwisaver. Good communication between business owners and their employees over this difficult time is essential.

The Government have also announced other areas of tax relief, including an increase in the provisional tax threshold to $5,000 (from $2,500) from the 2021 financial year onwards, and in addition, assets used for a business with a cost of $5,000 or less can be written off fully in the year purchased during the 2021 financial year. Depreciation is also being allowed on commercial and industrial buildings. The Government has also been working with banks who will be assisting borrowers affected by Covid-19 with mortgage payment holidays. There will be more to come, and more detail released as time goes on.

We note that many farmers and agricultural service businesses have been coping with drought conditions and now Coronavirus on top of this. While the assistance given for farmers suffering from the drought are very minimal, we do see agriculture as being one industry that will help to kick start the economy as it makes its gradual recovery after Covid-19. It is clear that food production is vital not only to New Zealand, but the rest of the world. It certainly meets the definition of an essential service!

Let’s get through these difficult times together. Remember to keep paying your bills as businesses need to pay staff and the economy needs to keep moving. Enjoy time spent with family, be kind and look out for each other and stay safe.

COVID 19 MESSAGE TO CLIENTS - 24 MARCH 2020

MESSAGE TO CLIENTS 24 MARCH 2020

Bailey Ingham is Open for Business, though our doors are closed from 5pm today

The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 virus is having a huge effect on New Zealand society and the economy. At Bailey Ingham we are doing everything we can to prioritise the wellbeing of our staff, clients and communities to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday, our staff are working remotely for the time being, from Wednesday 25 March.

We have invested in our remote working capability over recent years and therefore it will be business as usual for our three offices as we continue to focus on providing an excellent level of service for our clients. Essential services such as payroll processing and PAYE and GST filing will continue as normal and we have a committed team of staff to assist all clients with advice and assistance.

We will continue to complete your GST returns and other work, but maybe in a slightly different manner. As you will not be able to drop records into the office, staff may request the content of these (details of some transactions) by email or phone.

We know that many of our clients are working through similar challenges to ours and that these are uncertain times for everyone. It is apparent, because of the large-scale influence that the virus is having on finances for almost all businesses in New Zealand, that the government announcements of financial support will only partly offset the problems in this area, and there will be job losses and businesses in financial difficulty. We will continue to provide assistance and are working closely with many businesses to assist with cashflow forecasts and business subsidy applications.

Information regarding the COVID-19 Economic Support Package is attached.

We wish you and your family the very best as New Zealand comes to terms with the ‘lock-down’ situation. We are here to help, please call or email if you require assistance at any time.

 

INFORMATION SHEET FOR BAILEY INGHAM CLIENTS

Re: COVID- 19 – Economic Support Packages for Businesses

The Government have announced a package to support businesses that are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. The main two packages for businesses (as at 24 March 2020) are as follows:

  1. Wage Subsidy  

The COVID-19 wage subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of $585.80 a week for employees working 20 hours or more per week, or $350 a week for employees working less than 20 hours per week. The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee. The subsidy is for wages only and is to help keep your staff employed and to ensure the future viability of your business. Businesses can only get this subsidy once. If you stop paying employees after you have already received a subsidy for the next 12 weeks, then you will have to pay some of that subsidy back.

This subsidy has been put in place for all businesses that are affected by COVID-19 and face laying off staff or reducing hours because of a drop in income. The main qualification is that your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year (there are some exceptions to this such as new businesses or businesses that have grown substantially over the past year). This drop in income must be directly related to COVID-19. In order to achieve the subsidy your business must make the best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period.

    2.   Leave Payment

The second payment available to businesses is the leave payment. From 17 March the COVID-19 leave payment has been available to support businesses and employees if they:

  • Need to self-isolate as determined by the Ministry of Health guidelines
  • Cannot work because they are sick with COVID-19
  • Cannot work because they are caring for dependents who are required to self-isolate or are sick with COVID-19

The COVID-19 leave payment will be available for 8 weeks. Employers will be able to apply for this more than once. It will be paid to employers who have eligible employees and they must pass the payment onto their employees in full. The COVID-19 leave payment covers full-time, part-time, casual employees and contractors. The COVID-19 leave payment will be paid at a flat rate of $585.80 to a person working 20 hours or more per week, or $350 to a person working less than 20 hours per week. Employers receiving the payment for those required to self- isolate can receive it for 14 days. As people may be required to self-isolate more than once then employers will be able to apply for this on an as needed basis.

Businesses and their employees can agree to use any form of paid leave (e.g. annual leave) to cover their period of self-isolation. However, employees are not required to have used all of their annual leave entitlements before they can receive this payment. The employee must have been legally working for their employer at the time of self-isolation and they must have been expected to work for the period of self-isolation. Self-employed people who are not earning at least the minimum wage are not entitled to the leave payment.

Applying for the Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment Subsidy

Applications should be done online at the website workandincome.govt.nz. Here is the link to the information page:

https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html#null

And here is the link to the Application form (employer): https://services.workandincome.govt.nz/ess/employer_applications/new

And here is the link to the Application form (no employees):

https://services.workandincome.govt.nz/ess/trader_applications/new

The application is made online and you will need to supply the business IRD number, business name and address, as well as names and IRD numbers of your employees. Contact details for your business and your employees must be given. Work and income will check if you do indeed qualify for one of the subsidies and they will contact you by phone should they require further information regarding the application. Please note that you will require a New Zealand business number which is a 13-digit number. Companies will already have a 13-digit number (search the companies office website for this) https://companies-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/ However, many sole traders, partnerships and Trusts will need to apply for a New Zealand business number. The link for this is here:    https://www.nzbn.govt.nz/get-an-nzbn/get-your-nzbn/

The actual application form for the subsidies is relatively straight forward. It appears that no financial information is immediately required, however, WINZ will be contacting businesses, so it is important that you do have financial information or projections available to show that your income has been reduced by 30% to get the Wage Subsidy Payment. With the country going into lockdown mode, some businesses where employees are not able to work should apply for the Leave Payment first, and then the Wage Subsidy payment later on. Each business will be different.

      3. Tax Relief

In addition to the cash subsidy payments available, the government is also supporting businesses through areas of tax relief including a relaxation of the rules regarding use of money charges for late IRD payments. We always recommend, however, if you can’t make a payment to the Inland Revenue Department, that you contact them and make an arrangement to pay (prior to the due date).

Continue to file all returns such as PAYE and GST even if you can’t immediately make payment to IRD. There are other tax changes including an increase in the provisional tax threshold to $5000 (was $2500) and assets used for business can be written off fully in the year purchased during the 2021 financial year.

Please contact one of our friendly team should you require any confirmation regarding the above. As always, we are here to help you through this difficult time. If you have any queries or require more specific advice, please contact:

Cheyne Waldron   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Bridget Boshier This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Layne Kerr This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Kelly Bair This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robert Ingham This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Jayne Adams This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tracey Hall  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  David Bailey This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directors and Associates

Bailey Ingham Ltd

INFORMATION SHEET FOR CLIENTS - COVID 19

Re: COVID- 19 – Support Packages for Businesses

On Tuesday the government announced a $5 billion package to support businesses that are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. The main two packages for businesses are as follows:

  • Wage Subsidy  

The COVID-19 wage subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of $585.80 a week for employees working 20 hours or more per week, or $350 a week for employees working less than 20 hours per week. The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee. The subsidy is for wages only and is to help keep your staff employed and to ensure the future viability of your business. Businesses can only get this subsidy once and the maximum that can be paid to an individual business is $150,000.

This subsidy has been put in place for employers or self-employed businesses that are affected by COVID-19 and face laying off staff or reducing hours     because of a drop in income. The main qualification is that your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year. This drop in income must be directly related to COVID-19. In order to achieve the subsidy your business must have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus and your business must make the best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period.

  • Leave Payment

The second payment available to businesses is the leave payment. From 17 March the COVID-19 leave payment has been available to support businesses and employees if they:

  • Need to self-isolate as determined by the Ministry of Health guidelines
  • Cannot work because they are sick with COVID-19
  • Cannot work because they are caring for dependents who are required to self-isolate or are sick with COVID-19

The COVID-19 leave payment will be available for 8 weeks. Employers will be able to apply for this more than once. It will be paid to employers who have eligible employees and they must pass the payment onto their employees in full. The COVID-19 leave payment covers full-time, part-time, casual employees and contractors. The COVID-19 leave payment will be paid at a flat rate of $585.80 to a person working 20 hours or more per week, or $350 to a person working less than 20 hours per week. Employers receiving the payment for those required to

self- isolate can receive it for 14 days. As people may be required to self-isolate more than once then employers will be able to apply for this on an as needed basis. It can be paid for the entire period that the employee is sick with COVID-19 but the employer must apply every 14 days.

Businesses and their employees can agree to use any form of paid leave (e.g. annual leave) to cover their period of self-isolation. However, employees are not required to have used all of their annual leave entitlements before they can receive this payment. The employee must have been legally working for their employer at the time of self-isolation and they must have been expected to work for the period of self-isolation. Self-employed people who are not earning at least the minimum wage are not entitled to the leave payment.

Applying for the Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment Subsidy

Applications should be done online at the website workandincome.govt.nz. Here is the link: https://workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html#null

The application is made online and you will need to supply the business IRD number, business name and address, as well as names and IRD numbers of your employees. Contact details for your business and your employees must be given. Work and income will check if you do indeed qualify for one of the subsidies and they will contact you by phone should they require further information regarding the application. Please note that you will require a New Zealand business number which is a 13-digit number. Limited Companies will have a 13-digit number. However, many sole traders, partnerships and Trusts will need to apply for a New Zealand business number. The Work & Income NZ website has a link to apply for this. The actual application form is relatively straight forward. It appears that no financial information is immediately required, however, WINZ will be contacting businesses, so it is important that you do have financial information or projections available to show that your income has been reduced by 30%.

  • Tax Relief

In addition to the cash subsidy payments available, the government is also supporting businesses through areas of tax relief including a relaxation of the rules regarding use of money charges for late IRD payments. We always recommend, however, if you can’t make a payment to the Inland Revenue Department, that you contact them and make an arrangement to pay (prior to the due date). Continue to file all returns such as PAYE and GST even if you can’t immediately make payment to IRD. There are other tax changes including an increase in the provisional tax threshold to $5000 (was $2500) and assets used for business can be written off fully in the year purchased during the 2021 financial year.

Please contact one of our friendly team should you require any confirmation regarding the above. As always, we are here to help you through this difficult time.

Inland Revenue Service Changes & Updates - March 2020

Inland Revenue Service Changes & Updates

 

For a few days over the Easter break, the Inland Revenue will be making system changes as we continue to make tax more straightforward. This includes improvements to myIR, student loans, KiwiSaver and more.

  • From 3pm Thursday 9 April to 8am Thursday 16 April, myIR secure online services will be unavailable and our offices and phone lines will be closed.

During this time, you can still pay your bill through your bank as you normally would and access the Inland Revenue website.

Please note: If you have draft returns or draft secure mail in myIR, these will be deleted. Be sure to complete these before 3pm on Thursday 9 April so you don’t lose them.

Weekly Working for Families payments: If you receive weekly Working for Families payments and are expecting a payment on either Tuesday 14 April or Wednesday 15 April, you will receive your payment early, on Thursday 9 April or Friday 10 April.

Your payments will continue as normal from Tuesday 21 April or Wednesday 22 April.

 

https://www.classic.ird.govt.nz/campaigns/2020/service-changes-updates/

IRD to no longer accept Cheques - February 2020

IRD to no longer accept Cheques

The days of being able to pay your tax bill with a post-dated cheque are coming to an end. The Inland Revenue Department will no longer accept payments by cheque from customers (who are able to use alternative payment options) from the 1st of March onwards.

With the rapid growth of internet banking only 5% of payments received by Inland Revenue Department nowadays are by cheque. There are several alternative ways for people to pay their tax (including PAYE and GST) and these are as follows:

  • Internet banking. Payment this way minimises delays and includes a formal notification of the date and time the payment was made to Inland Revenue Department.
  • Taxpayers can make payment by debit/credit card over the phone, through the unauthenticated payment page on the Inland Revenue website, and through MyIR.
  • Taxpayers can set up direct debits in MyIR.
  • Cash and eftpos are still payment options, but only at Westpac branches. These types of payment are not accepted at Inland Revenue Department offices.
  • Further alternative options could be by using a tax intermediary or authorising a third-party payer such as your accountant or office manager. When another person is authorised on your account, your Bank will need to go through the usual process which includes anti money laundering checks to add approved signatories.
  • The final option is to get approval from Inland Revenue Department where there are exceptional circumstances, to continue paying by cheque. This may apply where taxpayers do not have access to the internet, although it is likely other options will still be available to these people.

Electronic payments are the way of the future. Compared with this process, cheques are expensive to process, and the technology used to process them, both by Inland Revenue and the Banks, is approaching the end of its working life. In countries such as Germany all Inland Revenue Department matters are done electronically, and New Zealand is following suit.

If you are in doubt about how you should pay your tax you should contact the Inland Revenue Department, your Bank or your accountant.

IRD Website Causing Frustration

The new look IRD website (in operation since April last year) has been catching many people out and causing taxpayers to worry that they have overdue tax. The problem is caused as the website (where you can log in with a MyIR account) shows amounts owed (but not yet due) in large red text. Often the tax is not due until a later date so there is no need for alarm, but IRD obviously don’t want people to forget about their obligations. Our advice to people who are self employed or have tax to pay for whatever reason is to write the amount in a diary or calendar once they know the amount and date it is due – then there should be no surprises later on!

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