Inland Revenue announced in May that the Commissioner had reduced the mileage rate from 74c to 72c/km for the 2016 tax year (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 for standard balance dates). If you rely on the standard mileage rate when reimbursing your team for travel, make sure your payroll system is updated to reflect the reduced rate.
This isn’t the end of the story. As you know profit can be elusive. It’s important to know as much as you can about how to look at the numbers to assess true profitability. Net profit margin is something else to look for.
When you know your net profit, you can analyse net profit margin. It looks at net profit as a percentage of total revenue. In other words, it’s what proportion of revenue remains out of all revenue, after deducting operating expenses, interest, and taxes.
Net profit is your bottom line after all and some business owners might be content not to dig deeper. But if you don’t, you won’t know what percentage of revenue ended up in the bottom line. Shareholders and potential investors would be quite interested to know what it is because net profit margin says how effective your business is at taking revenue and making it into profits available to shareholders. If you’re trying to pitch your business to investors, net profit margin is a way to grab their attention.
Keeping an eye on changes in your net profit margin is also a great way to keep tabs on how profitable your business is over time.
Let’s go back to basics. Profit margin is a percentage that tells you the amount a company earns per dollar of sales.
Gross profit margin shows your total revenue minus what it cost the business to produce the goods or services it sold. It’s the amount a company earns per dollar of sales after you deduct how much it cost to make the sale (aka cost of goods sold). It’s a broad brush indicator of profitability and you can use it to help you work out your breakeven point.
Because you can be making more money but not as much profit (if, for instance, your overheads or your taxes go up), net profit margin gives you the next level of detail to help you zero in on profitability. It factors in other expenses beyond the cost of sale.
Net profit margin shows your profit as a percentage of revenue, after all expenses have been deducted, including tax and any interest paid on money you owe. It is the percentage of revenue that actually reflects a company’s profit per dollar of sales. If you operate in a competitive market, bringing your costs down might be a better strategy than increasing your prices, especially if in the short term it’s hard to increase your market share. A better cost management strategy, consolidating your debts or finding a more favourable interest rate may all be worth considering.
Maybe you did not keep up with your provisional tax payments throughout the year? (oops) Perhaps you did not end up paying enough because you had a better-than-expected financial year (yay! but damn, an increased tax liability). It could be that seasonality or volatility make it difficult to forecast your provisional tax payments.
Whatever the case, owing the taxman additional income tax can put pressure on your business cashflow. With Inland Revenue’s interest clock continuously ticking at 8.27 per cent (and at 9.21% for tax debt incurred up until 8 May 2016) while that tax remains unpaid, the cost can quickly add up.
An option we have discussed before is tax pooling. It is a service designed to reduce interest costs and provide payment options for provisional taxpayers.
For underpaid income tax, you can settle what you owe IRD by paying through a tax pooling intermediary such as Tax Management NZ (TMNZ) at an interest cost lower than the interest IRD charges on underpaid tax.
The payment you make is essentially a purchase of tax that TMNZ paid to IRD on the original date the provisional tax was due.
As this payment is date-stamped, IRD treats the tax as paid on time once it has processed the transfer from the tax pool to your IRD account. Any late payment penalties and interest showing on your account will be reversed once this happens.
Tax Pooling can be used if you have underpaid income tax for 2016 income tax year.
Tax pooling intermediaries are registered with IRD and operate under legislation set out in Income Tax Act 2007 and Tax Administration Act 1994.
The system was proposed by IRD so private markets could provide ways for provisional taxpayers to manage their income tax obligations and reduce their compliance costs.
The tax pool accounts operated by tax pooling intermediaries are held at IRD and managed by an independent trustee. The independent trustee also oversees the bank accounts in which your payments are made.
Tax pooling gives you an extra 75 days past your terminal tax date to pay what you owe IRD. For underpaid income tax relating to the 2016 tax year, you have until mid-June 2017.
Contact us if you would like to discuss tax pooling as an option to clear up your underpaid provisional tax debt.
The Taxation (Residential Land Withholding Tax) Act 2016 received Royal Assent on Friday 13 May 2016.
If you hold a valid certificate of exemption (COE) from RLWT then no RLWT will be deducted. A COE from RLWT can be applied for if the sale involves the disposal of your main home, or by those in the business of developing land or dividing land into lots or erecting buildings.
Disclaimer – While all care has been taken, Johnston Associates Chartered Accountants Ltd and its staff accept no liability for the content of this newsletter; always see your professional advisor before taking any action that you are unsure about.