Whats changing on 1 April 2017

20.03.2017

MINIMUM WAGE

The Government announced on 24 January 2017 that the minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.75 on 1 April 2017. The starting-out and training minimum wage rates will increase from $12.20 to $12.60 per hour – remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

Employees have to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate for every hour worked.

USE OF MONEY INTEREST

Another part of the package of changes applying from the 2018 income year (i.e. from 1 April 2017 for standard balance date taxpayers) is to remove use of money interest from the first two provisional tax instalments (for those who pay in three instalments) and who continue to use the standard method to calculate and pay provisional tax (commonly referred to as the ‘uplift method’).

Businesses (including companies) and individuals with residual income tax of less than $60,000 and paying provisional tax in three instalments using the standard method will not be subject to use of money interest.

 

MILES TO GO – CHANGES PROPOSED FOR MOTOR VEHICLES

Currently close companies (such as LTCs and QCs) providing a motor vehicle for the private use of shareholder-employees must pay FBT on the value of the benefit provided. This value is based on the availability of the vehicle rather than its actual private use and this means higher FBT compliance costs for close companies.

New option for close companies

The recently introduced legislation changes this for the 2018 tax year (i.e. from 1 April 2017 for standard balance date taxpayers). Under the new rules close companies which provide one or two vehicles to shareholder-employees could elect to use the motor vehicle expenditure rules instead of paying FBT. This would mean that, like sole traders and partnerships, close companies could measure the business use of a motor vehicle and calculate the tax deductions allowable for motor vehicle expenditure based on business use.

New method for calculating business use to claim deductions

Also introduced is a new simplified method of calculating business use for vehicles. The new option would allow you to choose to calculate your business usage and resulting deductible expense differently. The new method does not have a ceiling (currently the ceiling in place is 5,000 kilometres of business use).

What you need to know

If you are self-employed or if you operate through a close company and this applies to you, you would need to know the total mileage travelled each year and be able to work out what proportion of that is business use.

The actual requirement would be for you to keep a vehicle logbook for three months every three years.

When it comes to calculating the tax deductible amount, the calculation is ‘two tier’:

  1. for the first 10,000 kilometres, the rate is calculated on the proportion of business use for the vehicle (say 60%) multiplied by Inland Revenue’s first tier rate (for example 75 cents/km but the IRD will advise the rates each year)
  2. for every kilometre after that, the rate is calculated on proportion of business use for the vehicle (e.g. 60%) multiplied by Inland Revenue’s second tier rate (for example 25 cents/km but again subject to change)
    What you need to do

To gear up for the change, at close of business on 31 March, record your odometer reading. Diarise to do the same thing next year. You want to be able to tell us the total number of kilometres travelled in the tax year when you bring in your records. And, sometime during the year starting 1 April 2017, keep a logbook for each vehicle for a three-month period to record mileage, costs and when the vehicle is being used for business or private purposes.

If you’re in any doubt as to whether this affects you, please contact us.

 

HOME OFFICE

There is also a new alternative option for calculating home office applying from 1 April 2017 (for standard balance date taxpayers). Under the new option, home office deductions can be determined by using a 2-step calculation. The first step involves taking the ratio of the area of the premises used for business purposes to the total area and multiplying this by a specified rate set by the IRD. The second step then requires the mortgage interest, rates and rent paid for the year to be multiplied by another specified rate set by the IRD and adding this to the amount calculated in the first step. Depending on your circumstances, this new option may be beneficial to you. If you have any questions please contact us.