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Welcome again to the McLean and Co. Newsletter in which we discuss current taxation and business matters. We trust you find it informative.  Any feedback would be welcomed.

McLean and Co. is a home based chartered accountancy practice based in Clive, Hawkes Bay.    Readers are invited to peruse the practice website lists services provided, gives contact details and indicates how to become a client, contains an extensive base of articles on business and taxation matters,  and has links to other websites that may assist your business.    Being a small firm itself,   McLean and Co. strives to provide a personal and professional service largely to a self employed person and small business client base.  Enquiries are welcomed.



We are happy to accept new clients.  Please contact ourselves at the contact points highlighted above if we can assist you in your accounting and taxation requirements. Our website lists information required for this in the following link:



  1. Inland Revenue Department Confirms Stand on Rental Property Depreciation.

  2. Tax Discount for New Businesses

  3. Non Filing of Company Returns

  4. How Much Should You Charge for your Product or Service?

  5. Four Models for Calculating your Pricing




Inland Revenue advised on 29 May 2006 that it considers it is unacceptable for residential rental property owners to break up their properties into smaller components in order to get higher depreciation rates for tax purposes.

"In the past, we have disallowed the higher depreciation claims and, after consideration by the Adjudication and Rulings business group, we continue to believe this practice is not acceptable," says Naomi Ferguson, Deputy Commissioner Service Delivery.

"Property owners are still able to depreciate chattels such as carpets, drapes, light fittings, whiteware and so on, as separate assets.  There is also provision to depreciate separately items such as water heaters, clothes lines and other fittings that are not part of the building," says Miss Ferguson. 

The items that Inland Revenue does not believe to be separate assets are internal walls, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing and so on, as well as furniture and fittings that are permanently attached and are regarded as being part of the building.  These include items such as kitchen cupboards, bathroom vanities and built-in wardrobes.

Some residential property owners have been splitting these components out  and depreciating them as separate assets in order  to take advantage of higher depreciation rates listed under the "Building Fit-out (when in the books separately from building cost)" asset category.

"Property owners who have been splitting these components out from the cost of the building will have overstated their depreciation claim in the past, but we won't be asking them to adjust previous years' income," says Miss Ferguson. "However they will be required to add the value of the various 'components' they have been depreciating individually into the cost of the building, and combine the depreciation claimed for those individual assets."

This will identify the asset to be depreciated, the cost of that asset and the depreciation claimed to date. The building should then be used to claim depreciation at the correct rate. This will depend on the type of building and when it was acquired.

Property owners with cases still under investigation or going through the disputes process may be able to apply this approach from the first period not under dispute or being investigated. "A tax payer may, of course, decide not to settle and to take the matter through the disputes process if they do not agree with the Commissioner's treatment," says Miss Ferguson.

An Interpretation Statement on this ruling is being prepared for public consultation.


New business people are now able to get a tax discount for any voluntary payments they have made over the last financial year.

"The new discount is to encourage people to get a "head start" on their tax payments by making voluntary payments during a year when they're not obliged to pay provisional tax," says Naomi Ferguson, Deputy Commissioner Service Delivery.

"People who have just started in business, either self-employed or in a partnership, don't need to start paying provisional tax until their end-of-year tax exceeds $2,500. However, if they make voluntary payments before they need to start paying provisional tax they can claim the discount and get ahead with their payments."

Voluntary payments were introduced in the 2005-2006 tax year and this is the first year people will be able to claim the discount when they file their returns. The discount is 6.7% of the total voluntary payments made during the year or 105% of the end-of-year tax amount - whichever is smaller. The discount can be claimed either in the first year of business or a following income year as long as it is before provisional tax payments start therefore the biggest benefit will come from claiming it in the year with the highest end-of-year income tax.

Voluntary payments can be made at any time through automatic payments, direct credits, online banking, post (cheque only) or at any Westpac bank.

For more information on the tax discount for new businesses, or voluntary payments, visit the IRD website or phone Inland Revenue (toll-free) on 0800 377 774.



The National Compliance Unit of the Companies Office is responsible for monitoring all companies required to file an annual return under Section 214 of the Companies Act 1993 (“the Act”).

Several notices of impending or overdue annual returns are sent to the company’s registered office, address for communication, and every director.  

If companies fail to file annual returns, the Registrar gives notice under section 320 of the Act and advertises his intention to remove the company from the Register in the New Zealand Gazette and a local newspaper.  The Registrar also gives notice to people who have a security interest registered against the company in the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) that the company may be removed. 

The public have the ability to lodge, within a specified period, an objection to the removal of a company advertised.  The grounds for objecting are set out in section 321 of the Act.  One of the grounds for objecting is that the company is still carrying on business (section 321(1)(a)).  Any objection to the removal of a company must specify which ground is being relied upon.

The Registrar also informs IRD of all companies which have been advertised for removal.  IRD reviews the list of companies and identifies those companies with outstanding tax affairs.  Inland Revenue then lodges an objection with the Registrar (stating the relevant ground) and removal action is ceased.  These objections are reviewed every six months and IRD confirms whether the objections continue to be valid.

It may be some companies are deliberately failing to file their annual return as a way of removing the company from the Register.  If this is the case, directors should be aware if the company’s tax affairs are not in order, IRD will object to its removal.  It is, therefore, important that if a company is to be removed from the register, that you contact IRD on 0800 377 774 in advance to confirm that the company’s affairs are in order and to ensure no objection will be lodged to its removal.  

Alternatively, a formal removal process exists under section 318 (1) (d) of the Act, requiring the completion of a prescribed form and written confirmation from IRD that it  does not have an objection to the company’s removal from the Register.



One of the most difficult, yet important, issues you must decide as an business owner is how much to charge for your product or service. While there is no one single right way to determine your pricing strategy, fortunately there are some guidelines that will help you with your decision.

Before we get to the actual pricing models, here are some of the factors that you need to consider:
Positioning - How are you positioning your product in the market?  Is pricing going to be a key part of that positioning? If you're running a discount store, you're always going to be trying to keep your prices as low as possible (or at least lower than your competitors). On the other hand, if you're positioning your product as an exclusive luxury product, a price that's too low may actually hurt your image. 
Demand Curve - How will your pricing affect demand?  You're going to have to do some basic market research to find this out, even if it's informal.  Get 10 people to answer a simple questionnaire, asking them, "Would you buy this product/service at X price? Y price? Z price?"  For a larger venture, you'll want to do something more formal, of course -- perhaps hire a market research firm. But even a sole practitioner can chart a basic curve that says that at X price, X' percentage will buy, at Y price, Y' will buy, and at Z price Z' will buy.
Cost - Calculate the fixed and variable costs associated with your product or service. How much is the "cost of goods", i.e., a cost associated with each item sold or service delivered, and how much is "fixed overhead", i.e., it doesn't change unless your company changes dramatically in size? Remember that your gross margin (price minus cost of goods) has to amply cover your fixed overhead in order for you to turn a profit. Many business owners under-estimate this and it gets them into trouble.
Environmental factors - Are there any legal or other constraints on pricing?  Also, what possible actions might your competitors take?  Will too low a price from you trigger a price war?  Find out what external factors may affect your pricing.
The next step is to determine your pricing objectives. What are you trying to accomplish with your pricing?
Short-term profit maximization - While this sounds great, it may not actually be the optimal approach for long-term profits. This approach is common in businesses where cash flow is the overriding consideration. It's also common among smaller businesses hoping to attract  funding by demonstrating profitability as soon as possible.
Short-term revenue maximization - This approach seeks to maximize long-term profits by increasing market share and lowering costs through economy of scale. For a well-funded company, or a newly public company, revenues are considered more important than profits in building investor confidence. Higher revenues at a slim profit, or even a loss, show that the company is building market share and will likely reach profitability., for example, posted record-breaking revenues for several years before ever showing a profit, and its market capitalization reflected the high investor confidence those revenues generated.
Maximize quantity - There are a couple of possible reasons to choose the strategy. It may be to focus on reducing long-term costs by achieving economies of scale. This approach might be used by a company well-funded by its owners and other "close" investors. Or it may be to maximize market penetration - particularly appropriate when you expect to have a lot repeat customers. The plan may be to increase profits by reducing costs, or to upsell existing customers on higher-profit products down the road.
Maximize profit margin - This strategy is most appropriate when the number of sales is either expected to be very low or sporadic and unpredictable. Examples include custom jewelry, art, hand-made motor vehicles and other luxury items.
Differentiation - At one extreme, being the low-cost leader is a form of differentiation from the competition. At the other end, a high price signals high quality and/or a high level of service. Some people really do order caviar just because it's the most expensive thing on the menu.
Survival - In certain situations, such as a price war, market decline or market saturation, you must temporarily set a price that will cover costs and allow you to continue operations.


There is  no "one right way" to calculate your pricing. Once you've considered the various factors involved and determined your objectives for your pricing strategy, now you need some way to crunch the actual numbers. Here are four ways to calculate prices:
Cost-plus pricing - Set the price at your production cost, including both cost of goods and fixed costs at your current volume, plus a certain profit margin. For example, your widgets cost $20 in raw materials and production costs, and at current sales volume (or anticipated initial sales volume), your fixed costs come to $30 per unit. Your total cost is $50 per unit. You decide that you want to operate at a 20% markup, so you add $10 (20% x $50) to the cost and come up with a price of $60 per unit.    So long as you have your costs calculated correctly and have accurately predicted your sales volume, you will always be operating at a profit.
Target return pricing - Set your price to achieve a target return-on-investment (ROI). For example, let's use the same situation as above, and assume that you have $10,000 invested in the business. Your expected sales volume is 1,000 units in the first year. You want to recoup all your investment in the first year, so you need to make $10,000 profit on 1,000 units, or $10 profit per unit, giving you again a price of $60 per unit.
Value-based pricing - Price your product based on the value it creates for the customer. This is usually the most profitable form of pricing, if you can achieve it. The most extreme variation on this is "pay for performance" pricing for services, in which you charge on a variable scale according to the results you achieve. Let's say that your widget above saves the typical customer $1,000 a year in, say, energy costs. In that case, $60 seems like a bargain - maybe even too cheap. If your product reliably produced that kind of cost savings, you could easily charge $200, $300 or more for it, and customers would gladly pay it, since they would get their money back in a matter of months. However, there is one more major factor that must be considered.
Psychological pricing - Ultimately, you must take into consideration the consumer's perception of your price, figuring things like:
Positioning - If you want to be the "low-cost leader", you must be priced lower than your competition. If you want to signal high quality, you should probably be priced higher than most of your competition.
Popular price points - There are certain "price points" (specific prices) at which people become much more willing to buy a certain type of product. For example, "under $100" is a popular price point.  Meals under $5 are still a popular price point.   Dropping your price to a popular price point might mean a lower margin, but more than enough increase in sales to offset it.
Fair pricing - Sometimes it simply doesn't matter what the value of the product is, even if you don't have any direct competition. There is simply a limit to what consumers perceive as "fair".    If it's obvious that your product only cost $20 to manufacture, even if it delivered $10,000 in value, you'd have a hard time charging two or three thousand dollars for it -- people would just feel like they were being robbed.     A little market testing will help you determine the maximum price consumers will perceive as fair.
Now, how do you combine all of these calculations to come up with a price? Here are some basic guidelines:
Your price must be enough higher than costs to cover reasonable variations in sales volume. If your sales forecast is inaccurate, how far off can you be and still be profitable?   Ideally, you want to be able to be off by a factor of two or more (your sales are half of your forecast) and still be profitable.
You have to make a living. Have you figured salary for yourself in your costs? If not, your profit has to be enough for you to live on and still have money to reinvest in the company.
Your price should almost never be lower than your costs or higher than what most consumers consider "fair". This may seem obvious, but many business owners seem to miss this simple concept, either by miscalculating costs or by inadequate market research to determine fair pricing.  Simply put, if people won't readily pay enough more than your cost to make you a fair profit, you need to reconsider your business model entirely.  How can you cut your costs substantially?  Or change your product positioning to justify higher pricing?
Pricing is a tricky business. You're certainly entitled to make a fair profit on your product, and even a substantial one if you create value for your customers. But remember, something is ultimately worth only what someone is willing to pay for it.






The information provided in this email newsletter is for informational purposes only.   McLean and Co. accept no responsibility for the opinions and information expressed in the information provided and it is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind.    The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and use of this document.   Readers are asked to seek professional advice pertaining to their own circumstances.    The McLean and Co. email newsletter may be copied and distributed subject to the following conditions:
All text must be copied without modification and all pages must be included.
This document must not be distributed for profit.    


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