Underpaid income tax?
Underpaid provisional tax can cause a few headaches.
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.
How does it work?
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.
When might this be useful?
Tax pooling can be used if you have underpaid income tax for the current tax year (2016) or the one just completed (2015).
Is tax pooling secure?
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.
Timeframes for using tax pooling
Tax pooling gives you an extra 75 days past your terminal tax date to pay what you owe IRD. So, if you have a 7 April terminal tax date, you have until 15 June to settle underpaid provisional or terminal tax liabilities for the 2015 tax year. For underpaid income tax relating to the 2016 tax year, you have until mid-June 2017.
What to do next
Contact us if you would like to discuss tax pooling as an option to clear up your underpaid provisional tax debt.
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