McLEAN AND CO. Chartered Accountants

Accounting          Taxation         Business Advice and Development Assistance           Audits                             

 P.O. Box 10 , Clive         133 Main Rd, Clive           Tel. (06) 8700952          Fax. (06) 8700955 

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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.  



We are happy to accept new clients.  We would be happy to assist colleagues and acquantances as new clients.



  1. Copying GST Returns

  2. Salary Sacrifice

  3. Property Investor Mistakes





It has been noted that, with IRD only now supplying one copy of a GST Return, that some clients have not been taking copies of the completed GST Return for their records. It is important that you take a copy before you submit it. There have been some instances noted that the information on these  was necesary for clients but not readily obtainable due to the non keeping of a copy, and we as Accountants need these for end of year reconciliations to ensure some protection of clients if there have been inaccuracies.  Make ensure to take a copy before you submit your Return to IRD. 



Salary sacrifice is an arrangement whereby an emploee's salary is sacrificed for the gain of an employer specified superannuation contribution.   An employer and employee can mutually agree that the employer's salary, or a future salary increase,  will be reduced by a specific amount.   The employer pays this amount as an employer contribution to their employee's superannuation scheme.

Employer contributions to a KiwiSaver or qualifying superranuation scheme are now exempt from Specified Superannuation Contribution Witholding Tax (SSCWT) to the lesser of :

So, if an employee "salary sacrifices" 4% of their total salary or wages and allows this amount to count towards the employer's contribution rate of 4% to their KiwiSaver or complying superannuation fund account, it won't generally be subject to SSCWT.    The employee will also pay less income tax because their annual salary will have reduced.   Howver, as the salary sacrifice is treated as an employer contribution it won't count toward the empoyee's tax credit entitlement.

There are implications for both employers and employees when entering into a salary sacrifice arrangement which need to be considered.  Two examples are :




Below is a summary that covers  commonly made faux pars by first-time investors.   Avoid these stumbling blocks and you'll have a far better shot at becoming a profitable property investor.

1. Strategy (or lack of): Strategy involves having a game plan, an idea of where you're heading and how you intend to get there. Without a coherent plan of attack to create a property portfolio, you are almost certainly setting yourself up for failure.

You need to  consider your approach to investing, including whether you'll go for income or capital growth, negative or positive gearing, new or established housing, short or long-term investment, houses or units or perhaps a combination of all of the above.

Whatever your method may be, you must plan your action and then action your plan.

2. Analytical, Not Emotional: First time home buyers will make a purchasing decision based on 90 per cent emotions and only 10 per cent logic. As an investor, you must reverse this ratio and make judgments based on 90 per cent logic or analysis and 10 per cent emotion.

When you talk yourself into desperately wanting a particular property because you have formed an emotional attachment to it, you will be far more likely to pay too much and over-capitalise on your investment.

You have a greater chance at obtaining a bargain if you can detach yourself from the entire buying process (and the property in question) and cease negotiations at your pre-determined "walk away" price, knowing there will always be another opportunity around the corner.

Separate your emotions from the hard financial facts and you will make far better investment decisions.

3. Headlong Rush or Dithering Fence-Sitting: There are two extremes with many property investors: those who rush out after being inspired by a book or seminar and buy the first property they come across (often paying too much and buying the wrong type of investment in the process), and those who attend seminar after seminar and over-analyse the investment journey to the point of complete inaction.

The former at least make a start and may learn from their mistakes, whereas the latter never overcome their fears long enough to actually make that initial purchase. Try to find a happy medium; avoid the headlong rush or the fence-sitter stance and you'll be making one less investment mistake.

4. Profit Impatience: Property investment will not make you a millionaire overnight, rather it is a long-term prospect that lacks the volatility in values of other commodities such as shares.

This is the strength of property - its ability to provide a steady gain in value over time. To be successful in property investing, you need to allow the power of compounding to work for you; whereby your money will earn more money and your interest will accumulate more interest.

5. Improper property selection: The logic here is simple. Don't buy an apartment in the outer suburbs where family homes are most in demand and vice versa. Being close to amenities such as schools, shops, sporting and medical facilities can often increase your profits, but don't buy right on their doorstep as this often makes a property less liveable.

6. Insufficient Research: Glancing through the local paper to get a rough idea on property prices in an area is not enough. Talk to real estate agents,  neighbours, the local council, the water authority, body corporate managers if applicable and the tenants and property manager if the home is currently let.

The bottom line is don't skimp on research - it's far too valuable.

7. Overestimating Income and Underestimating Expenses: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, particularly where dollars and cents are concerned and you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

Gain an idea of how much rental income you can expect to achieve by seeking median rental figures from the relevant Real Estate Institute and local property managers. Attend open homes to see how much the market is willing to pay for properties similar to the one you're considering. On the flipside, ensure you allocate enough funds for all potential expenses you'll incur whilst holding the property.

You are far better off over-estimating than under-estimating here, so consider a vacancy rate for about double the average, allow 10 per cent more for every outgoing including council and water rates,  insurance, management and strata fees, maintenance and interest charges because these will often increase unexpectedly.

Examine each potential investment analytically and ensure you make adequate allowances. By underestimating your income and overestimating your expenses you're more likely to avoid any nasty surprises.

8. Inappropriate Financing: Look for the longest term, lowest overall cost loan with a fixed rate - don't focus on the interest rate alone. Remember that this is a long-term purchase of a long-term asset and as such, needs to be financed adequately.

You should also consider how accommodating your lender will be when you're ready to make your next investment purchase.

9. Property Inspections: During the initial inspection you conduct on a property, you should not only be examining the home itself, but looking for clues as to the vendor's personal situation. For instance, if there are family photos displayed, yet only signs of one occupant, the seller may be going through a separation or divorce.

Examine the property carefully both inside and out. Are there any signs that work has been done to cover up a more serious problem, such as cracks that have been plastered over?

Thoroughly inspect all rooms taking note of paintwork, floor coverings, indications of damp or peculiar smells. Turn taps on to test water pressure and test appliances for any faults. In general, get a feel for what it would be like to live in the property so you know how your tenants might find it. Are they going to be comfortable in the home and if not, what would you need to do to make it more accommodating?

Be thorough and always do a second or third inspection at different times of the day to gauge how the property looks in different light and how its surrounds could impact on it, such as nearby road noise, etc.  Get a professional Building Inspection if you think appropriate.

10. Self Managing Properties: Some investors believe that paying a property manager to look after their investments is throwing away income that could be lining their pockets.

Property Managers can assist in finding  appropriate tenants and ensuring the laws relating to property management are adhered too, as well as the proper looking after of your property.

Some useful NZ related references:


and McLean and Co Articles on property matters

Residential Rental Property- Features and Taxation

The Four Ways to make Profits in Property

To Invest in Commercial or Residential Property?

Property Development

Rental Property Income and Expenses

Typical Property Investment Structures

Beating a Housing Bubble

What is an LAQC?

Taxation Requirements and Keeping of Financial Records for Rental Properties


Obtaining a Business Loan- Key Steps









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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