Changing regulations are one of life’s certainties. Especially for accountants, who know to expect a multitude of changes when the New Year sets in. Some are minor. Some are significant. But all are, of course, absolutely mandatory. Here we provide a rundown of five new changes and the key dates to mark in your calendar this year.
Tax and payroll changes
In Australia company tax will drop by 1.5 per cent from July 1, 2015.
In New Zealand, businesses will have to change for all earners subject to Accident Compensation Commission levy. On April 1, 2015 the maximum earnings liable for the increase jumped slightly, from $118,191 to $120,070.
The New Zealand minimum wage also rose on the same date by 50 cents, from $14.25 to $14.75; training wages also rose 40 cents to $11.80 an hour.
Super contribution changes
Updated Australian Tax Office superannuation thresholds show the maximum contribution base will rise to $50,810 per quarter from July 1 2015.
This is an increase from $49,430 for the 2014/2015 financial year.
The superannuation thresholds update by the ATO also indicated the superannuation lump sum low-rate to jump from $185,000 to $195,000 for 2015/2016.
The ATO is putting in place a new system that aims to standardise the way employers pay super. Many employers still lodge their employees’ super by sending cheques or depositing it at the local bank.
For large to medium employers (20 or more employees) aim to start from 3 November 2014, but no later than 30 June 2015.
For small employers (19 or fewer employees) SuperStream obligations commence from July 1 2015 and they have until 30 June 2016 to meet the requirements when sending contributions on behalf of employees.
The new financial services licence
From July 1, 2016 accountants will need to hold a new financial services licence qualification to provide advice on a range of financial matters on which they were previously exempt from the need to hold one. The list is long and significant for accountants looking to move beyond the world of compliance. You will need a new qualification to provide advice on:
- Superannuation products
- Simple managed investment schemes as defined in the Corporations Regulations 2001
- General and life insurance
- Basic deposit products
The changes take effect on July 1, 2016. But experts say changes need to start being implemented as long as a year in advance. Between now and then there are plenty of questions to ask about what kind of financial services licence class is right for you.
Reporting changes for NZ charities
April 1 also marks the date from which charities in New Zealand file their first set of new financial statements. In a move designed to ease business’ regulatory burden, the government has done away the requirement for many companies to file “general purpose” financial statements under the Financial Reporting Act. The changes for small businesses kicked in last year. But charities have been given an extra year to adapt and may be seeking financial advice. Those with operating expenses under half a million dollars will not need to conduct an audit, while those with expenses between $500,000 and one million dollars can choose between an audit and a review.
Accountancy, once a rather traditional trade, is rapidly being moved and revolutionised by technology and demand that goes beyond compliance and tax lodgements. It is imperative for today’s accountants to stay on top of legislation changes and emerging trends.
Marking the previously mentioned dates in your diary is a great start but if you’re looking to learn more about the latest developments within the industry, download our free ebook Beyond compliance: Five trends changing the world of accountancy by clicking on the button below.
Please note that this article is intended for general information only and is not legal advice. You should seek professional advice suitable to your own circumstances.