Parish Accounting Newsletter
Covid-19 Wage Subsidy
We have identified a commonality in the accounts we manage, where the COVID-19 wage subsidy provided exceeds an employee’s regular wage, we have received many queries regarding how this will be managed, and have prepared the following document detailing the steps you can take to check your eligibility and return unused funds.
On 28 March 2020 the Minister of Finance clarified that employers are only required to pay the normal wage of the employee, if that amount is less than the subsidy amount. Any difference may be utilised to cover the wages of other affected staff. If there are no other employees to use the subsidy for, then the remaining amount should be repaid to Ministry for Social Development (MSD).
The same applies where you received the subsidy, but the employee resigned during the 12 weeks of the wage subsidy. MSD need to be notified, but you don't have to repay the subsidy immediately. Any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff. The subsidy cannot however be used for any holiday pay or redundancy pay out.
The wage subsidy is intended to cover a person’s earnings for a specific time period, i.e. for the 12 weeks after the application was made. Extensions were available for a further 8 weeks and 2 weeks if the criteria are met. However, there is no indication that this time period can be exceeded if the wage subsidy exceeds the total payroll of the 12 (or 20) weeks. It is best to consult with MSD if the surplus funding is to be used for a longer time.
If you don’t think you are eligible for the wage subsidy anymore or you have unused fund to return, you can repay it using the online form
The following information also need to be included:
New Zealand Business Number (NZBN), if you have one
Advise the amount you need to repay
How many bank accounts do you need?
It used to be a common practice for charitable organisations to maintain multiple bank accounts which are designated to hold donations received for specific purposes. This can create unnecessary administrative work and can complicate Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Pay as You Earn (PAYE) procedures. Significant transfers between bank accounts are frequent, as money is occasionally banked (or paid) erroneously in (or from) the incorrect account, PAYE for employees who are paid out of one account is paid from another, GST filed as group needs to be separately identified and transferred from/back to the individual bank account, or similar.
With modern accounting software, multiple bank accounts are no longer the only option. Most accounting software offer the function to keep track of money for specific projects or programmes, hence there is no longer the need to hold funds in separate bank accounts.
For most organisations, one bank account is sufficient. There may be good reasons to have other bank accounts:
You have spare funds in which case it is a good idea to have a dedicated saving account to maximise the interest earning.
You have a pool of funds which are administered by different group/people in which case different signatories and access are needed.
If you are interested to learn more about what our accounting system offers in terms of special funds management, and wish to merge some of your bank accounts, please feel free to contact your Parish Accountants.
We are organising Parish Accounting seminars in November 2020, which will be run via Zoom. We will introduce you to our new Investment Manager Matthew Goldsack, and cover popular topics including budgets, GST updates and reports available.
We will send an invitation to our parish contacts closer to the time.
GST on Property Sale
A reminder that if you have a property sale or disposal plan, the final date to elect to repay GST credits claimed on an assets is 31 March 2021.
Under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act 1985, section 20(3) and 20(3K), GST registered non-profit organisations can claim GST inputs on all expenditure they incur despite the expenditure not being incurred in the furtherance of a taxable activity so long as the expenditure is not incurred for the purposes of making exempt supplies. Generally, an exempt supply is limited to the supply of financial services, the supply of residential accommodation, the supply of donated services by a not-for-profit body, and the supply of fine metals.
However, under amendments to the GST Act, released on 15 May 2018, where a non-profit body has claimed GST tax credits on an asset purchase or related operating expenditure, it will be obliged to return GST on the future disposal of that asset.
There is a limited 3-year period in which non-profit organisations can opt to repay GST credits previously claimed on an asset within the past 7 years, rather than accounting for GST (potentially either at 0% or 15%, depending on the circumstances) on the asset’s future sale/disposal.
The deadline to elect to repay GST is 31 March 2021.
We therefore strongly recommend professional tax advice is sought, before the sale or 31 March 2021 whichever is earlier to minimise the GST cost to your organisation.
The implications of these changes could be significant for any charity. In this example, a charity that runs a food hall to feed the homeless. The charity owns a dining hall used for its charitable activities, along with a small office building that it regularly rents out to commercial firms. The charity returns GST on its commercial rental income for the office building. The charity claimed GST credits on the construction of both buildings in 2014, and operational costs on both buildings since then. The total GST credits claimed on the dining hall building are $50,000.
In 2019, the charity decides to sell the dining hall building, as it will no longer be required following a relocation to a larger complex that can house both the office and food hall facilities. The charity expects to fetch a $750,000 sale price from the dining hall building, as real estate prices have been steadily increasing in the area.
Under the proposed amendments to the GST Act, the sale of the dining hall would be subject to GST (potentially either at 0% or 15%, depending on the circumstances). If subject to GST at 15%, the charity could be required to return as much as $112,500 of GST to Inland Revenue on the building’s sale. This is because the charity has previously claimed GST credits on the construction and operation of the hall.
The charity could instead elect to repay the $50,000 of GST credits claimed on the construction and operation of the hall. This would clearly be advantageous as the total repayment amount would be less than the potential $112,500 GST liability on the sale of the hall. If it made this election (prior to the 31 March 2021 deadline) and Inland Revenue accept it, the charity would repay the $50,000 of total GST credits previously claimed and would not need to recognise any GST on the dining hall’s sale.
Meet Lily Liang,
Lily joined Trust Management in September 2019 and became a full-time Parish Accountant looking after 19 Auckland Parishes and 2 Waikato Parishes. Before starting with Trust Management, she was studying and working at the University of Auckland. She is studying towards her Chartered Accountant qualification at the moment.
Lily has maintained a positive relationship with her parishes and has been a good listener and continuously provided support.
Lily has a good sense of humour, she is always making people laugh and spreads happiness around the office.
After work, Lily keeps herself busy and stays active. She’s learning to swim and calligraphy, and goes to the gym almost every day or enjoys a sunset hike to the summit of Mount Eden.