, , , , , ,

New rules for property transactions

The Government has acted to require buyers and sellers of property to have IRD numbers. see http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2015-06-23-property-tax-rules-bill-introduced

The Taxation (Land Information and Offshore Persons Information) Bill was introduced into Parliament yesterday.

There are two main proposals:

1. Parties to real estate sale and purchase agreements will have to have an IRD number and supply that number to Land Information New Zealand. If one of the parties is a non-resident they will also have to provide the Tax Identification Number from the country where they are resident.

2. A non-resident applying for an IRD number in New Zealand will have to provide details of a New Zealand bank account.

There are exceptions of course, such as for the family home.

These changes are designed to help IRD enforce the land taxing provisions. They come ahead of the other big Budget 2015 measure proposing a bright line test to tax property bought and sold within two years. We’ll see more on that later this year.

In the meantime, when these measures are enacted IRD will have more ammunition to go after property traders and developers, whether for income tax or GST.

Iain

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 GST thoughts of Christmas

12 GST thoughts of Christmas:

1. There’s no GST on gifts (so Santa is probably not GST registered).
2. GST registered businesses can claim back the GST on gifts they buy for staff, suppliers and customers.
3. If you buy someone a gift voucher for Christmas it’s quite likely the IRD won’t get any GST until the person redeems it.
4. If the person you gave the voucher to loses it the IRD might never get any GST.
5. On Boxing Day when you go to the shop to return the present you don’t want the retailer will be able to get a refund of GST from the IRD provided they credit you for the return.
6. However, the retailer will have to pay GST if you use the credit to buy something else.
7. The government gets a double whammy of GST when you buy alcohol for your Christmas festivities or petrol for that family road trip (because GST applies to excise taxes on alcohol and fuel).
8. If you order an expensive gift online from overseas for someone in New Zealand and have it delivered directly to them you may be giving them a GST bill because chances are they’ll have to pay GST on the value of the present before they can pick it up from Customs.
9. Businesses are given an automatic extension of time to file their November GST return so they don’t have to file it on 28 December.
10. GST registered businesses with 31 December balance dates which make exempt supplies may have to come back early from their holidays so they can calculate their annual GST adjustment due on 28 January.
11. If you’re booking an overseas holiday and have to take a domestic flight to get to your departure airport it’s best to book both flights together if you want to save the GST on the domestic flight.
12. There’s no GST on gifts but if someone gives you something expensive while overseas you might have to pay GST when you bring it back with you.

Happy Christmas everyone

Iain

, , , , , , ,

Savings up + GST collections down = GST rate up?

Kiwi households are saving more than at any time since 1995 according to the latest national accounts.

http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/household-savings-rate-positive-five-years

The flip side is with low inflation and lower consumption the Government’s GST take is down.

I’m not an economist but my understanding is even though households may be saving more, national savings overall aren’t necessarily any better off because of the push/pull effect of private savings and tax collections.

This was something the Savings Working Group considered in their report Saving New Zealand: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Barriers to Growth and Prosperity: Final Report to the Minister of Finance published in February 2011.

As a countermeasure the Savings Working Group recommended an increase in the GST rate from 15% to 17.5% over other tax changes because GST is “less distorting than income tax on the saving decision”.

http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/finalreport/30.htm

The political challenge with increasing GST to 17.5% is that our rate is already amongst the highest in the world when it comes to basic food, education, healthcare and utilities. Outside of the benefit system there doesn’t seem to be a simple mechanism to compensate low-income households for an increase in GST and this must surely put real pressure on our single rate broad-based regime.

Iain

, , , , , , , , ,

Election 2014 – your GST vote

This weekend’s New Zealand general election offers some choice in GST policy.

So, if you’re a GST geek like me you might be swayed by what the different parties intend doing about GST.

Here’s what I’ve been able to find out about some of the main parties’ GST policies:

Labour Party – no change to base or rates. Committed to simplifying compliance and supports “one hour, one return, one payment” principle for monthly GST and income tax compliance.

Green Party – no change to base or rates. Propose extra ecological taxes but will leave detail to a commission. Also, propose financial transaction tax. [comment – subject to seeing the detail, the existing GST system could be one way of achieving these new tax imposts].

National Party – no change to base or rates.

Mana Party – propose abolition of GST and replace with “Hone Heke Tax” on financial speculation.

Maori Party – will revisit removing GST on healthy food (fruit and veges) and also increasing GST on sugary drinks.

I couldn’t find any detail from other parties. If anyone knows any more feel free to comment.

Cheers and happy voting on Saturday Kiwis

Iain

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 GST thoughts of Christmas

12 GST thoughts of Christmas:

1. There’s no GST on gifts (so Santa is probably not GST registered).
2. GST registered businesses can claim back the GST on gifts they buy for staff, suppliers and customers.
3. If you buy someone a gift voucher for Christmas it’s quite likely the IRD won’t get any GST until the person redeems it.
4. If the person you gave the voucher to loses it the IRD might never get any GST.
5. On Boxing Day when you go to the shop to return the present you don’t want the retailer will be able to get a refund of GST from the IRD provided they credit you for the return.
6. However, the retailer will have to pay GST if you use the credit to buy something else.
7. The government gets a double whammy of GST when you buy alcohol for your Christmas festivities or petrol for that family road trip (because GST applies to excise taxes on alcohol and fuel).
8. If you order an expensive gift online from overseas for someone in New Zealand and have it delivered directly to them you may be giving them a GST bill because chances are they’ll have to pay GST on the value of the present before they can pick it up from Customs.
9. Businesses are given an automatic extension of time to file their November GST return so they don’t have to file it on 28 December.
10. GST registered businesses with 31 December balance dates which make exempt supplies may have to come back early from their holidays so they can calculate their annual GST adjustment due on 28 January.
11. If you’re booking an overseas holiday and have to take a domestic flight to get to your departure airport it’s best to book both flights together if you want to save the GST on the domestic flight.
12. There’s no GST on gifts but if someone gives you something expensive while overseas you might have to pay GST when you bring it back with you.

Happy Christmas everyone

Iain

, ,

Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax is in the news again. Thought I’d re-share an earlier post.

, , , , ,

Capital gains tax

I know it’s wishful thinking to expect real analysis in political debates but, honestly, whether it’s time to introduce a capital gains tax in New Zealand is an issue which deserves more than the usual ping pong game of political rhetoric.

The refrain of the most vocal advocates is how a CGT will discourage real estate investment and encourage investment in other sectors where capital is much needed. The refrain of the most vocal opponents seems to be “it won’t collect as much as its supporters say it will”.

New Zealand’s current tax system exempts most capital gains from tax. Capital gains from investments in shares, businesses, real estate, art work, gold, jewellery, and antiques generally are not taxed. To argue this state of affairs is responsible for a skew in favour of investment in real estate and away from the sharemarket, for example, hardly seems to stack up. In fact, there is a group of rules in our existing tax laws which are aimed solely at taxing some capital gains from real estate investment. No such rules exist for investments in shares, businesses, gold, art work or antiques. If anything, our current tax system discourages investment in real estate when compared to how it treats other capital investments.

The rumoured capital gains tax apparently is not intended to apply only to real estate. Sensibly it’s proposed to apply to gains from selling shares, businesses, art work, gold, jewellery and antiques (and any other appreciating asset). So quite how it’s going to suddenly change the behaviour of real estate investors is beyond me.

I think the focus on real estate is unhelpful when discussing whether we should have a capital gains tax here. Surely most people are more likely to be influenced in their investment decisions by their perception of likely return rather than tax? It seems to me the absence of a broad based capital gains tax hasn’t driven investment behaviour into a particular asset class any more than the presence of such a tax will.

This is not a real estate versus shares debate. When we decide whether we should have a capital gains tax we need to consider fairness, efficiency of the tax system, economic benefits and effectiveness.

The question of how much a capital gains tax will raise is certainly relevant to whether it is worth the administration costs
of implementation but to a great extent is a design issue when considering the effectiveness of the tax.

Iain