Ways To Boost Your Mental Wellbeing at Work

Ways To Boost Your Mental Wellbeing at Work

The resurgence of COVID-19 and the strain it has caused on the economy can seem intimidating to a lot of small business owners who are currently struggling to stay afloat. If you’re a business owner or  manager, there’s a lot you can do individually to support your office staff and maintain a positive and healthy work environment to keep motivation levels up, thereby ensuring that your business can not only sustain itself during such a period, but even be profitable. Research has indicated that ‘happy’ employees are more likely to be productive, efficient and determined. It is also shown that employees who believe that their employers care about them, have been shown to be more engaged at work.

As part of our vision to help New Zealand’s small businesses, we are outlining a few ways for you as a business owner to help build a supportive work environment during these times and thereby boosting your employee’s mental well-being:

  1. Pick-up the perks: Its always prudent to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and hence a good incentive would be to offer your employees regular health benefits such as a monthly massage, a gym membership, or even counselling sessions. This will not only ensure that your employees are healthy, but also happy and more engaged. It’s important to note here that you’ll have to pay fringe benefit tax on any non-cash benefits to staff unless it meets of the exemptions such as being provided on site or falling under the $300 per employee/ per quarter exemption. If you’d like more information on FBT, feel free to reach out to us.

 

  1. Still working from home?: Make sure that you check in on your employees regularly, to ensure that they are doing well. Isolation can be stressful for a lot of people, and checking in on your employees, can positively reinforce your support towards them.

 

  1. Spread the word about 1737: Let your staff know about the free and professional counselling that is available round the clock for anyone dealing with stress, anxiety or depression. The 1737 number and services are absolutely free for anyone living in New Zealand. Any time any of your staff or employees are feeling anxious and stressed they can call or text the helpline services to avail any professional advice, which might help them overcome these obstacles.

 

  1. Leading by example: As the boss, a lot of your employees will be looking to you, to lead the way. It is hence necessary for you to remain calm, empathetic and compassionate, to understand the needs of your employees better, and thereby foster a stronger professional and personal relationship with them.

 

  1. Write a policy: Looking after your staff, no matter what they’re going through, is really important. Put together a mental health and wellbeing policy that outlines how you will support employees who experience mental health challenges, and outline that they will always be treated fairly. For tips on how to put a policy together, read the Working Well Guide at mentalhealth.org.nz. This should help reinforce a sense of confidence in your employees, and will help them in being more vocal about any of the challenges or issues they may be facing.
  1. Creating a list of goals: Helping your employees with making a list at the start of your day, can really help in giving them direction to focus on the tasks at hand. Categorise bigger tasks into sections, which lets them check every task one by one as the day progresses, while also keeping you updated on the status. Checking things off your list also helps in keeping you motivated and focussed towards your end goal.

 

  1. Make sure your employees are not socially isolated: Encourage your employees to be in touch with friends and family, which can be can be a real stress-buster for them. By letting them talk to people, they will have the opportunity to process the events of the day, and receive support. It will also help them lighten their burden, and feel more relaxed.

 

  1. Go for a walk: Exercise can be a great way to clear your mind from any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing at the time. A breath of fresh air will also help you feel more focussed, and will reduce the stress that isolation maybe causing, not to mention the additional health benefits of exercising. Encourage your employees to take exercise breaks, so they feel more relaxed and ready to focus on work.

 

  1. Take Breaks: It’s easy for a lot of us to get caught up in our work, and forget to take our breaks, and sometimes we just simply end up eating lunch at our work desks. However, breaks are as important as the work you do. Letting yourself rest and reset will help boost your productivity and efficiency levels, and will help you be more focussed when you return. Make sure your employees are taking breaks and are well rested.

 These tips should help to cut down on the stress caused to your business by the COVID-19 resurgence. If there are any other issues that your business may be facing, you can reach out to our team at JZR by mailing us at info@jzr.co.nz or calling us on +64-9-972-2236.

 

 

 

Written by Rowain Pereira

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A Summary of all the Tax Changes and Support Schemes for COVID-19

The year 2020 and the world’s current economic status has taken a battering with the outbreak of COVID-19. With governments racing to create relief and incentive schemes for local businesses, the purpose of this article is to simply outline all the key tax changes and support schemes that have been introduced by the government of New Zealand  to help local businesses mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Major Tax Changes

1.     Reintroducing Depreciation on Commercial & Industrial Buildings

All depreciation deductions will be reintroduced for new and existing industrial and commercial buildings, including hotels and motels. There is no application process as the increased deduction will be available as part of normal tax filing processes. For more information click here.

2.     Immediate Deductions on Low Value Assets

Businesses will be able to deduct the full cost of more low-value assets in the year they were purchased, rather than having to spread the cost over the life of the asset. Currently, taxpayers are able to claim immediate deductions on the purchase of assets valued at lesser than $500. The threshold for this will now be increased to include assets that cost up to $5000 (for the 2020/21 income year).

The temporary increase in the threshold, is designed to incentivise businesses to bring forward investments to encourage spending. The threshold is being permanently increased to $1,000 (from 2021/22). For more information click here.

3.     Change to Provisional Tax Threshold

The government has increased the threshold for having to pay provisional tax from $2,500 to $5,000 for the 2020/2021 financial year only. For more information click here.

4.     Writing Off Interest On Some Late Payment Tax

The IRD has been given the power to waive interest on late tax payments for businesses who’ve had their ability to pay their taxes on time significantly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. The relief will apply to interest on all tax payments (including PAYE & GST) due on or after the 14th of February, 2020. For more information click here.

5.     Change to Carrying Forward of Tax Losses

The government has introduced a ‘same or similar business’ test, which means a business could carry forward losses. To meet the test, the business must continue in the same or a similar way it did before ownership changed. This test is modelled on Australia’s rules.

Some companies will be looking to raise capital to keep afloat now and to recover in the future. Raising capital may result in a change to the existing shareholder structure. Relaxing the rules will ensure companies in this position could carry losses forward to offset income when they return to profit. A bill will be introduced in the second half of 2020 after consultation with tax advisors, and will apply for the 2020-21 and later income years. 

6.     The Temporary Loss Carry Back Scheme

Businesses that are expecting to make a loss in 2019/20 or the 2020/21 financial year will be able to estimate the loss and use it offset profits in the past year. The scheme introduces the concept of offset years, which are the pair of years affected by the carry-back. The first year is named as the taxable income year and the second as the net loss year. For more information click here.

Simply put, this means that they can carry their losses back a year. This will allow the IRD to refund some or all of the tax paid for the year in which the business was in profit. For more information click here.

 Business Support Schemes

1.     Wage Subsidy Resurgence

A new Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme payment has been announced by the government for employers and self-employed people who have been impacted by the recent resurgence of COVID-19.

All New Zealand employers who have had or expect to have a drop in their revenues of at least 40% due to the resurgence of COVID-19 may apply for the scheme. Businesses must show a drop of at least 40% in their revenues for a 14 day period between the 12th of August to the 10th  of September, compared to a similar period last year. Application dates for the scheme are open from 1pm on the 21st of August until the 3rd of September 2020. For more information on eligibility criteria and how you can apply, please click here.

2.     Small Business Cashflow Scheme 

The small-business cash-flow scheme (SBCS) will provide interest free loans for a year to small businesses which have been impacted by the COVID-19 to help support their cash-flow needs and fixed costs as well. The scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing 50 or fewer full time employees.

The scheme will provide $10,000 to every firm, and an additional $1,800 per equivalent full-time employee. To further encourage businesses the loans will be interest free if they’re paid back within a year. If the loan amount cannot be repaid within a year, then a 3% interest fee will be charged for a maximum period of five years. Repayments are not required for the first two years.

3.     Business Finance Guarantee Loan Scheme

The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates. The scheme is also only available to financially solvent firms (i.e. firms whose assets are greater than their liabilities).

As a New Zealand small business owner if you would like to apply for any of the schemes or would like us to help you with issues your business might be facing, please contact us on info@jzr.co.nz or call us on +64-9-972-2236

 

Written by Rowain Pereira

Tax

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COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme: Everything You Need To Know

COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme: Everything You Need To Know

A new Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme payment has been announced by the government for employers and self-employed people who have been impacted by the recent resurgence of COVID-19.

 What Is The Eligibility Criteria?

All New Zealand employers who have had or expect to have a drop in their revenues of at least 40% due to the resurgence of COVID-19 may apply for the scheme. Businesses must show a drop of at least 40% in their revenues for a 14 day period between the 12th of August to the 10th  of September, compared to a similar period last year.

You may be eligible if:

  • You are an eligible employer
  • Your business must be operational in New Zealand
  • Your employees must be working legally in New Zealand
  • You must have a 40% decline in revenue for a two week period between the 12th of August and the 10th of September.
  • Your business must mitigate the financial impact.
  • You must retain the employees you’re applying for.

What Are The Payment Rates?

The subsidy aims at supporting business for a payment period of two weeks. The payment rates are as follows:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full time rate)
  • $350.00 for people working than 20 hours per week (part-time rate)

As per information released by the government, the MSD is currently aiming to pay the Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme within 5 working days of receiving an application. This is conditional to the fact that the details being submitted by the company match the details registered with Inland Revenue. Mismatches in the information being submitted may lead to delays in processing.

When Can You Apply?

Application dates for the scheme are open from 1pm on the 21st of August until the 3rd of September 2020.

Important Note:
You can’t receive the Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme if you’re currently receiving payments from previous schemes such as the Wage Subsidy SchemeWage Subsidy Extension Scheme or the Leave Support Scheme for an employee.

What Does This Mean?
If your business has been registered for any of the previous schemes, that is the Wage Subsidy Scheme, The Wage Subsidy Extension Scheme or the Leave Support Scheme, and you’re still within the payment period of any of the previous schemes mentioned here, you might not to be eligible for the Resurgence Scheme.

The previous Wage Subsidy Extension Scheme announced an 8 week payment period for all businesses or self-employed individuals that were approved by the MSD. This means that if you’re still receiving payments from the previous scheme’s 8 week payment period, you won’t be eligible to apply for the Resurgence Scheme.

However if your payment period from the previous schemes has already concluded or will conclude before the 3rd of September, you may still be eligible for the Resurgence Wage Subsidy.

When you apply, you’ll be asked to declare that you meet the criteria and agree to the obligations for the use of this payment. All payments will be subject to audits and reviews.

If you have any questions regarding the Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme or how to apply for it, you can get in touch with us on +64-9-972-2236 or email us on info@jzr.co.nz

Written by Rowain Pereira

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What’s New for Property Owners: Airbnb to Boarders

What’s New for Property Owners: Airbnb to Boarders

If you own a property which is being rented out for short stays (up to four weeks) this article will highlight all your necessary tax commitments, as well as all the new property rules which might come into effect this financial year.

Highlights:

  • If your tax due at the end of the year is $2500, you will have to pay provisional tax instalments from the following year.
  • If you’re earned income is more than $60,000 per year, from taxable activities, it is mandatory for you to register for GST.

It would be wise here, given the choice, for you to consider whether registering for GST is the best option for you. Once you’ve registered for GST, there are on-going requirements like record keeping, invoicing and filing returns which must be maintained. Once you’ve registered for GST, it also means that the sale of that property, or even the discontinuation of services, will still be liable to GST. For more insight to help you make the right decision, you can call us for advice.

If you own a property where you host boarders, you need to choose between the standard-cost method and the actual cost method to work out the income you make from boarders so you know how much tax to pay.

The standard-cost method keeps things simple, because when your income from a boarder is equal to or below the standard costs, it’s exempted from tax. You can also claim standard costs instead of claiming on actual expenses. The weekly standard cost per boarder has been changed to $186 per week for the 2019/20 tax year. The standard cost includes everything from food, household bills, gifts, and entertainment and activities that you provide for the boarder. You’ll also need to calculate your annual hosting and transport costs.

In case you’re hosting five or more boarders at your property, the actual-cost method must be used. If you’re hosting up to four boarders you can then choose to claim actual costs instead of standard costs. When using the actual cost method, all the income generated from the rental is considered to be assessable income and must be declared. While using the actual cost method to calculate your income you will have to:

  • Keep full records of your actual income
  • Keep full records of your expenses
  • Fill out an IR3 annual tax return to return income and claim actual expenditure incurred.

In case your return hasn’t been completed before the due date for filing, the IRD will assume that you have picked the standard-cost method.

It is however recommended to keep and maintain your records, because it might be heard to ascertain until the end of the tax year whether you want to use the standard cost or actual cost method. You can jot down the number of weeks you had boarders, the total income generated from these boarders, cost of capital improvements or rent paid, kilometres you’ve travelled transporting them, and any other related expenses.

If you need assistance with selecting the right method to calculate the income made from boarders the applicable taxes on it, feel free to get in touch with us by mailing info@jzr.co.nz or call us on +64-9-972-2236.

Written by Rowain Pereira

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Are You a Landlord? Keep-up with the Changes

Are You a Landlord? Keep-up with the Changes

With one third of Kiwi’s renting their homes (some even for a lifetime), it’s important to have clear and fair rules for tenancies. This article will highlight some of the recent changes that have been made to rental property rules.

The government’s tenancy law reforms announced towards the end of 2019 are aimed at mainly protecting security and stability of tenancies for tenants. The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill is making its way through Parliament and is currently with the Select Committee before moving on the to the next stage, the Second Reading.

If you’re a landlord:

  • Rent can only be increased once in twelve months, as opposed to six.
  • Tenants cannot be evicted without reason. Currently, periodic tenancy agreements can be terminated without reason, if you give your tenant 90 days’ notice. However, now you must select a reason from a list by the Residential Tenancies Act, stating a reason for the termination of the agreement.
  • Tenants will now be able to add minor fittings such as brackets to secure furniture against earthquakes, baby-proofing the property, installation of visual fire alarms or doorbells, or hang pictures.
  • Rental “bidding wars” will be banned.
  • The Tenancy Tribunal will be able to award compensation or order work to be done up to a value of $100,000 (instead of $50,000).
  • New tools will be available to help you take direct action against any tenants breaking the rules.

In context to damages, methamphetamine, and unlawful rental premises, the following changes will now be applicable:

  • If tenants (or their guests) damage your rental property as a result of careless behaviour, they will directly be liable. They can be charged up to a maximum of four weeks of rent or your insurance excess (whichever is lower).
  • If you have insurance, you must include this (and the excess) in any new tenancy agreement. A copy of the policy agreement should also be made available to the tenant on request.
  • You can also now test for methamphetamine while your tenants are living there. They must however be given at least 48 hours’ notice (but not more than 14 days’ notice). Boarding house tenants must be given at least 24 hours’ notice.
  • All legal requirements relating to the buildings, health, and safety apply to your rental property as well. It is the duty of the landlord to ensure that the property can legally be lived in at the start of the tenancy.

If you would like advice on how to manage the income being generated from your rental properties, or if you have any queries relatives to the new amendments being made to the Residential Tenancies Bill, please feel free to reach out to us on info@jzr.co.nz or call us on +64-9-972-2236.

Written by Rowain Pereira

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