Bookkeeping, Accounting & Tax

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The Calculated Advantage Blog.


Beginners’ Guide to Filing Your Own Small Business Tax Return

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We’re pretty lucky here in New Zealand.  Our tax system is rated as one of the easiest in the world to navigate and comply with.  And accountants are expensive right?  So when you only have a small business it makes sense to keep your costs down by filing your own tax return.  Here are a few tips and reminders to help you get it done right.

1. Include all your income – don’t forget to add in your cash sales (if you used the cash to pay expenses don’t forget to put those expenses in as well).  If you’re GST registered then your sales income is the GST exclusive amount.  If you’ve sent out invoices before the 31st March that weren’t paid until 1st April or later you need to include those too.

2. Claim every expense that you legally can – make sure you get your full claim for home office expenses and that you calculate your vehicle expenses correctly as these can be a big part of the cost of running a small business and are often misunderstood.  For help on how to calculate your home office claim watch our video on the Resources Page.  Remember that entertainment expenses are usually only 50% deductible and that assets costing over $500 are not expenses but need to be depreciated.

3. Work out your tax to pay – if you are a sole trader you may have business income and employment or benefit income.  Here’s how it works:
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If your business has made a loss then it will go into the calculation as a minus figure and reduce your total income.  This means that the tax to pay on your income may be less than the tax you have already paid and you will get a refund.  You can only get a refund of tax actually paid though.  If your loss exceeds this it will just be carried forward to next year and you need to remember to include it again then.

4. Be aware of provisional tax – your terminal tax to pay is due by 7th February next year.  However, if the amount to pay is over $2,500 you will also need to pay provisional tax in advance of next year’s tax bill.  Provisional tax is paid in three instalments on 28th August, 15th January and 7th May.

5. If you have a company there are extra things to get right – you need to include details of any shareholder income and drawings (not the same thing) and you need to file a company imputation credit return.  Companies should also have a set of financial statements, AGM minutes and a Directors’ report prepared so usually it is more efficient for companies to use a small business accountant as these documents are produced automatically.

6. When to seek help
► You’re not sure what expenses can be claimed or what income needs to be included
► You have purchased assets or introduced assets that you already owned and are not sure how to depreciate them
► You have losses to bring forward from a previous year and you’re not sure what to do
► You have to pay provisional tax but your income is the coming year is likely to be quite different from previously
► You are not trading as a sole trader e.g. your business is a company, partnership or trust
► You have any income from overseas or any overseas investments
► You just want peace of mind that everything is straight and correct and you are not paying more tax than you need to

7. And Most Important …


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Life is too short to waste it struggling over tax.

If you need help just ask for it.  You are the expert in running your business; we are the experts looking after the accounting and tax for your business.  We’re here to help - and not as expensive as you might think.

Calculated Advantage Limited
Free yourself to run your business

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