Beware Tax Pitfalls Of Apartments

Grant Profile PicUHY Haines Norton’s Managing Director Grant Brownlee outlines some of the tax pitfalls to be aware of concerning apartments.

Buying a serviced apartment may be seen as an attractive investment option, particularly if you have children planning to attend University in the future and you don’t fancy the idea of paying rent for their accommodation away from home.

However, serviced apartments have the potential to hit you very hard with unexpected GST and income tax bills all as a result of innocent changes in your family circumstances.

Let’s say you purchased your serviced apartment from a GST-registered party and the apartment had a management lease in place.  The apartment was being managed as short term stay accommodation and you purchased it as a ‘going concern’ so the transaction was ‘zero rated’ for GST.  In other words, you paid no GST on the purchase.  To achieve this ‘zero GST’ result you were required to become registered for GST.  Every month the management company pays you rent net of GST, management fees and other expenses.  Everything is rosy.

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How Much Is My Business Worth?

Forensic Accounting_Valuations_LitigationUHY Director Tim Livingstone addresses a frequently asked question concerning business valuations.

A question we regularly receive from both clients and non-clients is on the value of their business.  The value of a business gets down to what the business has to sell.  Most SME (small-to medium-sized) businesses will be selling two types of assets: tangible and intangible.

The tangible assets normally include stock and fixed assets.  Intangible assets represent the non-physical items a business owns that generate income and provide a competitive advantage.  Some intangible assets can be legally transferred to a purchaser such as a franchise, lease or patent.  Others cannot and include a trained work force and key customer relationships.

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Perspectives on Property Investment

Property Investment Structuring Service IconLast month UHY Haines Norton, in conjunction with Quinovic, Mortgage Link and MAINTAIN TO PROFIT, held an information seminar entitled ‘The Keys to Successful Property Investment’.  Property investment continues to be popular with New Zealanders looking to boost their income and provide additional financial security for their futures.

Tenancy Strategies

Our first speaker was Brendon Stuckey, Principal of property management company Quinovic West Auckland, who presented several strategies for successfully tenanting properties, including:

  1. Always conduct reference checks on tenants.  Any potential tenant who has difficulty providing referees who are not family or friends could be cause for concern.
  2. Always conduct credit checks on tenants.  Although this sounds obvious, many landlords simply do not get around to doing this – to their own detriment.
  3. Take a photographic catalogue of your property.  This protects both the landlord and the tenant from claims of damage that are unsubstantiated.
  4. Clearly outline the expectations set out in the tenancy agreement to avoid any ambiguity.
  5. Opting for a fixed-term tenancy rather than a periodic tenancy offers a measure of protection against tenants who may give notice at undesirable times, such as December/January, when properties are harder to let.

Brendon then went on to discuss the critical issue of meth contamination in New Zealand rental properties.  He explained that, contrary to popular belief, it is not just a lower demographic issue – many meth cooks and dealers have good cash flow and high-end lifestyles.   With over 70% of meth labs being found in rental properties, this is a huge concern for landlords.  If contaminated, it is not just the expense of replacing all contaminated furnishings and wall linings, but the record remains on the council property file forever and can seriously affect the capital value of your property.

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Could Your Business Be At Risk?

Service graphic_audit 4_RGBUHY Haines Norton’s Assurance and Advisory Manager Tadius Munapeyi explains why all New Zealand businesses are at risk of economic fraud.

Over 30% of New Zealand businesses of all sizes, structures and within all industries are believed to be subject to fraud, error and corruption – and this figure appears to be rising.

Why Is Fraudulent Behaviour So Prevalent?

For many New Zealanders, the increasing financial pressures created by family, lifestyle, rising costs of living and inflated housing prices can become overwhelming.   Add to that the juggle of managing increasing work loads in an already time-poor environment, and it is no surprise that businesses are more at risk from fraud and error than ever before.  And despite the fact that corrupt employees can and do cripple many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), the punishment for convicted offenses is often a light sentence of community service.  Repeat offenders are common: in recent years, reported cases of employee dishonesty have included faked references, CVs and qualifications to hide a history of deceit.

Without adequate checks and processes, a company can experience ongoing fraudulent activity without even being aware of it.  Fraudsters often start on a small scale, for example purchasing personal items with a company credit card, using company equipment for personal use, or taking excess stock.  When the behaviour goes unchecked it can lead to an increased scale of dishonesty and result in significant losses or “leakage” for the company.

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Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2014 – West Finalists

Congratulations to the 15 West Auckland-based companies who have been announced as finalists in the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2014 – West:     Excellence in Strategy and Planning – sponsored by UHY Haines Norton and Corban Revell Blue Barn Consulting Limited Building Recruitment Limited Squoodles Limited Excellence in Innovation – sponsored by Canam Group…

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