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Tax top of mind for New Zealand small businesses

Xero research suggests tax top of mind for New Zealand small businesses ahead of general election

Small businesses air concerns ahead of general election with tax, health & safety and immigration anticipated to impact business most

Wellington, 3 August 2017 — Small businesses are expecting the upcoming election to impact their bank account, both within the business and personally, according to new research released today by leading small business platform Xero.

Tax is the top concern for New Zealand small businesses, with almost half of all those surveyed (47%) believing the amount of tax their business pays will be impacted. Almost the same number of those surveyed (45%) thought their personal tax will be impacted too.

Health & safety and immigration follow closely behind tax as policies small businesses say will impact their business, while healthcare and superannuation take out the number two and three spot for policies that will impact them personally.

Craig Hudson, New Zealand Country Manager at Xero says it’s clear why tax is playing on the minds of small businesses because it has implications for business and personal bottom lines, but also represents challenges for changes to tax compliance.

“Managing tax compliance can be daunting for any business, but particularly for small businesses where owners are not tax experts and usually focused on running their business or developing competitive new products and services,” says Mr Hudson.

“Using technology, such as digital integrations with government systems, will play a key role in simplifying tax compliance and speeding up tasks like administering GST, staff taxes and benefits, ACC, KiwiSaver, company and personal tax.”

“Beyond tax, small business owners have a myriad of issues to contend with. It’s understandable how much attention tax gets, but we’re also seeing immigration as a driver to hire good talent, and crucial to small business success.”

The research also showed men and women also seem to have different concerns for how they’ll fare personally in the election. 36% of women believe their health care will be impacted, compared with only 29% of men. Meanwhile men seem more concerned about the impact of immigration on business (26%), whereas women expect to feel this impact less at just 14%.

Auckland small businesses (28%) were less likely to think changes to healthcare policies will impact them personally, compared to Wellingtonians (32%) and Cantabrians (34%). Whereas Aucklanders (24%) were more likely to think they’ll be personally impacted by immigration policy changes, versus small business owners in Wellington (12%) and Canterbury (12%).

Mr Hudson says while small businesses are clear the election will impact their businesses and themselves personally, the jury is out on whether the impact will be for better or worse.

“A modest 17% believe their businesses will fare better in light of the election, while just 15% are bracing for a negative impact on business. More importantly a whopping 37% of small businesses simply aren’t sure how the election will affect their business,” says Mr Hudson.

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