The Inland Revenue Department has been working with Xero to help small businesses streamline their tax administration. You can now file your GST return directly from Xero.
You can find out how to do this here.
For more help with GST check out the the business.govt.nz website which has plain English information outlining what you can and cannot claim for and how to register.
With nearly one third of all payments in the NZ economy processed through the Xero platform, Xero is in a position to do some analysis on key trends.
There has been much publicity over the heavy handedness of Fonterra towards it's suppliers, however, it appears that Fonterra may be symptomatic of a wider problem.
Xero believes that only one in nine invoices issued by small businesses is paid on time. The proportion of invoices that were more than a month overdue had risen from 24 per cent to 40 per cent over the past year said the company's New Zealand managing director Anna Curzon.
This does make cash flow difficult for small businesses who need to carry the overdue payments whilst still needing to make payments of their own. Businesses using Xero can use Invoice Reminders with some success to chase up those slow payers (see the earlier blog post on this), however, there is no doubt that chasing up payments can be time consuming and frustrating.
You can read more about the Xero analysis here.
We are pleased to be part of the pilot programme for online filing of GST returns directly from Xero. Xero and Inland Revenue have been working on this for many months and today I saw the results.
We finalised our GST return in Xero in the normal way. Then there was an option to directly file the return. After authenticating with myIR login details, it was magically filed. No more duplicate keying into the IRD website, making typing errors, or forgetting to do it at all. In fact, it was SO easy I thought I had missed something. But no, that's all there is to it. File your return directly from Xero.
This is what we love about Xero. They are continually innovating and are have such a large market share in New Zealand they can influence the way we interact with government agencies such as IRD. And kudos to the IRD for working with Xero to save us so much time.
We're looking forward to this functionality rolling out to all Xero clients soon.