The end of the financial year is fast approaching for the majority of businesses. Here are a few areas you may wish to look at now which will help us minimise your tax bill.
1. Trading stock
We’re not talking about livestock here, but the general rule is that inventory must be valued at the lower of cost or realisable value. A general adjustment for obsolescence will not cut it with the IRD. Any business that carries more than $10,000 in inventory must perform a physical stocktake at year end – and you should take this opportunity to dispose of obsolete stock or write it down to its net realisable value.
2. Repairs and Maintenance
It may be worthwhile to bring forward repairs and maintenance before the end of the financial year, as this will also bring the tax deduction forward by a year.
Retentions on building contracts are generally taxable in the year the contractor becomes legally entitled to receive them. Building contractors should be mindful of this at year end.
4. Employee Expenses
Expenses such as holiday pay, bonuses, long service leave or redundancy payments can be claimed as a tax deduction in the year ended 31 March 2012 as long as they are physically paid by 2 June 2012. Keep this in mind when planning these payments.
5. Business expenses paid privately
Business expenses paid privately often fall through the gaps – and the opportunity to claim a tax deduction is lost. Now is a good time to gather up any receipts – and to reimburse yourself from the business so there is a clear paper trail.
6. Bad debts
Where you write off a debt that has no reasonable expectation of being paid after taking all reasonable steps to recover it, this is tax deductible. The catch is that you must have physically written the debt off before the end of the financial year, so now is the time to consider this.
7. Fixed Assets
Now is a good time to review last year’s fixed asset schedule, as the book value of assets can be written off as a tax deduction where they are no longer used by the business and the cost of disposing of the asset is likely to exceed the value.
8. Prepayment of expenses
Most expenses cannot be fully claimed as a tax deduction if you choose to prepay them just before the end of the financial year. But there are some potential exceptions like stationery, postage, courier charges, vehicle registration, road user charges, rates, journal subscriptions or accounting fees which can be paid in advance and claimed as a tax deduction. No, we’re not fishing for payment in advance for this year’s accounting fees – but I’m sure you can see some possibilities here.
And for those few clients who have not yet provided their records for the year ended 31 March 2011, do it now! The final deadline for most clients for filing with the IRD is 31 March 2012 – and there will be almost no chance of us getting your work completed on time unless we have your records before the end of February!