Stewart & Co Blog

Pink For A Day

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Stewart & Co are once again going Pink for a Day to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.  Breast Cancer Foundation NZ are a not-for profit charitable trust with a vision of zero deaths from breast cancer.  Their mission is to push for new frontiers in early detection, treatment and support for those with breast cancer.

1 in 9 New Zealand women are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.  Each day 8 New Zealand women on average are diagnosed with breast cancer.  But this isn't just something that affects women, 25 men a year are also diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand.  Almost everyone you talk to will have a story of someone they know having gone through treatment at some point in their lives.

So, on 16 October 2017 the team at Stewart & Co are going Pink for a Day to show our support and help raise much needed funds for this great charity.  We have set up a donations page with the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ so if you would like to make a donation please click on the link below.   100% of the funds raised go straight to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.


Plus, remember to print out your receipt for any donations over $5 and you can claim a tax credit back at the end of the year. 


Telephone Scam Warning

Warnings - Telephone Scam Targeting Widows & Widowers

 

We have been made aware recently of a telephone scam which is targeting widows and widowers.  The scammers are going through obituaries and then targeting victims when they are at their most vulnerable.  The stories we have heard have all been very similar and we urge our clients to keep themselves safe as well as ensuring their friends and family are aware of this scam.

 The scammers will telephone a relative of the deceased and tell them that they are from a Government agency and that it has come to their attention that the deceased had a large debt owing to them which the agency is there to help recover.  This call will often come at a time when family are trying to sort through financial records and put affairs in order and may sound quite plausible.  The scammers have very good spoken English however, the background noise makes it clear that they are calling from a call centre. 

 The scammer will detail the debt outstanding and eventually come around to the need to pay a debt collection fee.  They will then ask you to put through a payment to them and may ask that you allow them remote access to your computer using a program called TeamViewer.  They will then ask you to log into your online banking and allow them to put through a payment to a New Zealand bank account.  The initial payment may seem quite reasonable. They may also request that a payment be made via transfer using an agency such as Western Union for Money Gram. 

 Once this first payment is made, the scammers will then call back on a regular basis and request further payments due to increased recovery costs.  If the person being scammed starts to sound unsure, they become more aggressive in their approach. 

 Of particular note is that some people will actually receive money into their account from the scammers as an initial repayment of the debt.   This is obviously very encouraging and therefore the person will make more payments to the scammer to be able to recover the remainder of the debt.  Unfortunately, it is most likely that those funds will have come from another person being scammed who thinks they are paying a debt recovery fee.  The scammers will use previous victim's bank accounts to keep the scam going as long as possible. 

 If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, contact the police immediately.  The Police have a special team set up to work with victims of scams of this nature.  They also have officers available who can talk with people who are not yet ready to believe they are being scammed and help them to understand. 

 If you receive a call that you think sounds too good to be true or which may be suspect, hang up and call us with the details.  We can check many details for you and let you know whether the information sounds legitimate or not. 

 Scammers prey on people when they are most vulnerable and usually leave them feeling foolish and afraid to speak out.  Awareness of their methods is the best way to help those around you avoid being tricked out of their hard earned money. 

 

Budget 2017

25 May 2017 marked the first budget from Steven Joyce.  This was expected to be a "steady as she goes" budget and did not disappoint.  The main winners in this budget are low to middle income New Zealanders with the centre piece of the Budget being the Family Income Package which includes an increase in the tax rate thresholds and Working for Families Tax Credits. 

Tax Rate Threshold Changes

As expected, the tax rate thresholds have increased from 1 April 2018, meaning more money in the hand for most New Zealanders.  The tax rate thresholds from 1 April 2018 will be as follows:

 

 

Currently

From 1 April 2018

10.5%

$0 to $14,000

$0 to $22,000

17.5%

$14,001 to $48,000

$22,001 to $52,000

30%

$48,001 to $70,000

$52,000 to $70,000

33%

$70,001 +

$70,001 +

 

So what does this actually mean for you:

  • Individuals are taxed on a sliding scale in New Zealand.  The first portion of your income is taxed at 10.5%, the next portion at 17.5% and so on.
  • If you earn over $14,000 p.a. you will be paying less tax from 1 April 2018. 

For a person earning say $50,000 p.a. these threshold increases would result in the following annual tax saving:

 

Tax Rate

 

Annual tax prior to increase

Annual tax after increase

Saving

10.5%

1470

2310

 

17.5%

5950

4900

 

33%

660

0

 

Total Tax Paid

$8,080

$7,210

$870

 

Working For Families Tax Credits

Those on low incomes who receive the Family Tax Credit under Working for Families, as well as the Accommodation Supplement will more than likely see an increase in the credits they receive each week.   

Working for Families Family Tax Credits will rise by $9.25 a week for a first child under 16, and between $17.75 and $26.81 for other children.  It means families get the same rate for younger children as for those aged 16-18. 

An average boost of $35 a week for the Accommodation Supplement will help some 136,000 households.  Some households will receive more with areas in South and West Auckland and Christchurch being moved into categories which get higher payments to reflect the higher rents payable in these areas.  

Unfortunately, some households on middle incomes will get less with the income threshold at which Working for Families Tax Credits start to abate reducing from $36,350 to $35,000 and an increase in the abatement from 22.5 cents in the dollar to 25 cents in the dollar.  


Independent Earner Tax Credit

The Independent Earner Tax Credit of $10 per week for those earning between $24,000 and $48,000 has been removed.  The Government has said this was often not claimed by those entitled to it and the above changes should more than make up for the tax credit removal. 

 

What Else

  • Further tax cuts have been signalled once the Government has the money to do so. 
  • Couples on superannuation will receive an extra $13 a week. 
  • Mental Health & Disability Support are set to get a boost in funding.  An extra $224 million will be spent over the next four years on mental health support and an extra $205.4 million over the next four years for disability support. 
  • Auckland's City Rail is to get its first funding injection of $436m.
  • $392 million is to go on new schools and classrooms.
  • The school funding freeze is over, with funds being injected to keep up with the increase in demand due to growing school populations. 
  • Almost $47 million to be spent on new initiatives to cut burglary and youth offending.
  • Science and Innovation will receive an increase of $373 million funding.
  • Insurance premiums are set to rise by up to $69 a year with the increase in the earthquake levy to help top up the Natural Disaster fund.  
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