Gilmore Taylor Associates Ltd Blog

Know your employment rights

Proof of sickness

I was only sick for two days and my boss asked for proof. Can he do that?

For the answer to this:  https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/sick-leave/requirement-for-medical-examination

For further information: https://www.employment.govt.nz/

 

Fraudulent direct debit scam shut down

Inland Revenue has moved quickly to shut down a scam where bank accounts appear to have been misused to generate fraudulent transactions.

Inland Revenue has moved quickly to shut down a scam where bank accounts appear to have been misused to generate fraudulent transactions.

Deputy Commissioner Mary Craig said IR had identified a small number of instances where people's bank accounts had been used to set up what look like fraudulent direct debits.

"We know the identities of those involved, many of whom appear to be linked to each other and we've acted to prevent it from happening again," Ms Craig said.

"We're now working with the Police and the banks to investigate further and anyone who has been left out of pocket will be reimbursed.

"What many people may not realise is that we have the ability to track all movements throughout people's secure myIR accounts and there are alerts built in to let us know when anyone is attempting to do anything untoward.

"We take fraud extremely seriously and have the powers to take immediate action when we can see people attempting to take advantage."

Ms Craig said this issue was not related to the automatic tax assessment process currently underway.

"We expect that there will always be people looking for opportunities to defraud the tax system," she said. "This has always been the case with a system like ours that processes millions of dollars every day.

"Automatic assessments are continuing to run smoothly. Customers with tax bills to pay can have every confidence if they choose to pay by direct debit.

"Although, anyone who does notice a suspicious direct debit from their accounts should contact their bank."

 

First wave of automatic tax refunds to be released

 

More than 2.5 million New Zealanders will receive their first ever automatic tax assessment over the next two months with the first batch going out 20 May.

 

From Monday 20 May through to the end of July, Inland Revenue will be letting salary and wage earners know if they have a refund owing, a bill to pay or neither of these.

 

To find out more: 

https://media.ird.govt.nz/articles/first-wave-of-automatic-tax-refunds-to-be-released/

 

Ban on plastic bags from 1 July 2019

Ban on plastic bags from 1 July 2019

 

Single-use plastic shopping bags have already been phased out from supermarkets and large retailers, and from 1 July 2019, they will be banned for all businesses. Here's what you need to know to make the transition.

 

To find out more read:

 

https://www.business.govt.nz/news/ban-on-plastic-bags/

 

Government rules out a capital gains tax

The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group's recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern announced today.

For more information :

One of the outcomes of last year's levy consultation was the decision to change the way we invoice self-employed customers. From 1 April 2019, we will now be invoicing customers based on their actual income at the end of each year, rather than invoicing them in advance based on last year's earnings.

What you need to know

  • Most self-employed customers will not receive an invoice in the 2019/2020 year.
  • The next self-employed invoices will be sent in the 2020/2021 year (approx. July-August 2020).
  • These invoices cover the 2019/2020 year and are calculated using the 2019/2020 year's actual earnings filed from Inland Revenue.

 

 

Inland Revenue to shut down services later this week

The tax system is about to close for a week as Inland Revenue implements its biggest changes in 20 years.

Online services in myIR will be unavailable from 3pm Thursday afternoon and will reopen at 8am on Friday 26 April. Inland Revenue contact centres and front counters at its offices will also be closed.

Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner Sharon Thompson says the dates were carefully chosen to cause the least possible disruption to customers.

"Easter holidays and Anzac Day fall within this period so there are only two full business days when our services won't be available.

"Almost 20 million tax records are going to be transferred to a new system during the shutdown so we're closing to make sure that goes smoothly.

"When we reopen on Friday 26 April, we will have a vastly superior tax system – one that can issue automatic tax refunds and can operate closer to real time to help more New Zealanders pay the right amount of tax at the right time."

This is the third time in the last three years that Inland Revenue has shut down the tax system to roll out part of its business transformation. The first year saw the GST system modernised. Year two moved more business taxes into myIR and brought in the Accounting Income Method option for paying provisional tax.

The third release sees individual income tax records moved to the new system. This will allow the process of automatic tax assessments to get underway along with mechanisms to make sure customers are on the right tax code and not over or under paying tax.  

"No customer will be disadvantaged by our shutdown." says Ms Thompson. "The payments of Working for Families tax credits will go out on Friday and employers filing their final Employer Monthly Schedule or doing payday filing will be able to file on April 26. Although we would encourage them to file before the shutdown if they can.

"Tax payments can still be made via internet banking and all the information on our website will remain accessible.

"There's never an ideal time to shut down the tax system but we're confident the changes will make any inconvenience worthwhile.

"Tax is about to become much more straightforward for salary and wage earners," says Sharon Thompson.

Changes in effect on 6 May 2019

Changes in effect on 6 May 2019 regarding

Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018

 

1.   The right to set rest and meal breaks will be restored, the number and duration of which depends on the hours worked. For example, an eight-hour work day must include two 10-minute rest breaks and one 30-minute meal break, while a four-hour work day must include one 10-minute rest break.

Rest breaks benefit workplaces by helping employees work safely and productively. Employers must pay for minimum rest breaks but don't have to pay for minimum meal breaks. Employers and employees will agree when to take their breaks. If they cannot agree, the law will require the breaks to be in the middle of the work period, so long as it's reasonable and practicable to do so.

Some limited exemptions may apply for employers in specified essential services or national security services.

2.   90-day trial periods will be restricted to businesses with less than 20 employees. This change means the majority of employees will have protections against unjustified dismissal from when they start a job.

Businesses with 20 or more employees can continue to use probationary periods to assess an employee's skills against the role's responsibilities. A probationary period lays out a fair process for managing performance issues and ending employment if the issues aren't resolved.

3.   Employees in specified 'vulnerable industries' will be able to transfer on their current terms and conditions in their employment agreement if their work is restructured, regardless of the size of their employer.

Changes also include a longer notice period for employees to elect to transfer to the new employer; this notice period is a minimum of 10 working days.  

4.   The duty to conclude bargaining will be restored for single-employer collective bargaining, unless there are genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds not to. This ensures that parties genuinely attempt to reach an agreement. 

5.   The 30-day rule will be restored. This means that for the first 30 days, new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the collective agreement.  The employer and employee may agree more favourable terms than the collective.

6.   Pay rates will need to be included in collective agreements, along with an indication of how the rate of wages or salary payable may increase over the agreement's term.

7.   Employers will need to provide new employees with an approved 'active choice form' within the first ten days of employment and return it to the applicable union, unless the employee objects. We are currently developing the form, which will be available on this page for download before 6 May 2019.

8.   Employers will need to allow for reasonable paid time for union delegates to undertake their union activities, such as representing employees in collective bargaining. Employees will need to agree with their employer to do so or, at a minimum, notify them in advance.

An employer will be able to deny the request if it will unreasonably disrupt the business or the performance of the employee's duties.

9.   Employers will need to pass on information about the role and function of unions to prospective employees. Unions must bear the costs if they want printed materials to be passed on.

Minimum wage rises to $17.70

Minimum wage rises to $17.70

On 1 April 2019 the adult minimum wage becomes $17.70 per hour, up $1.20 from $16.50. This adds up to $708 for a 40-hour week.

The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages rates increase from $13.20 to $14.16 per hour – remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

The Government also set indicative rates of $18.90 from 1 April 2020 and to $20 from 1 April 2021. These rates will be subject to each year's annual review.

 

Tax implications of working for accommodation

Providing a person with accommodation in exchange for work can have income tax and GST implications, for both the provider and the worker.

Common situations include seasonal and casual labour in the farming, hospitality and tourism industries. In these industries, backpackers, travellers from overseas, university students, seasonal workers and other casual workers are often taken on to harvest crops, pick fruit, garden, paint, clean, cook, make beds, work in bars and wait at tables. As part of the arrangement, they get a place to sleep and may also get food to eat instead of or as well as payment for the work.

Tax issues are not confined to these industries or situations. Potentially, there will be tax to pay whenever a worker does work for someone else who gives them accommodation as "part of the deal". This is whether the worker also gets money for doing the work or not. It could also be despite the worker being called a "volunteer".

See the below link for more information:

https://www.ird.govt.nz/payroll-employers/make-deductions/staff-benefits/allowances/accommodation-allowance/tax-working-accommodation/