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Deducting tax from payments to a contractor 28 Feb 2017

Generally, if someone working for you appears to be an employee, they probably are for tax purposes.

There are a whole lot of tests you can apply but if you supply the equipment, premises, agree on hours of work etc you have probably got an employee. Ideally, if the person is a contractor you should have a “contract for service” prepared by an employment law specialist that reflects the actual arrangements. It is important to get this right because if you get it wrong not only would you be liable for the PAYE and penalties etc you could have a claim for holiday pay and/or personal grievance!

Some clients also have problems determining whether they should deduct schedular tax. In this case the rule is simple. If the occupation is listed as being subject to schedular payments, you deduct tax. If it is not listed you don’t deduct tax. You can find the list at this URL: http://www.ird.govt.nz/payroll-employers/make-deductions/withholding-tax/emp-deductions-salaries-wt-activities.html

If you are reading this and you are a contractor, don’t forget if your income exceeds $60,000 you have to register for GST. Inland Revenue is discovering lots of cases where this is being overlooked.

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