William Buck New Zealand
As a fully integrated firm of Chartered Accountants and advisors, William Buck provides a complete solution. Putting you at the core of the business, our advisors work together to ensure that careful consideration is given to your business and personal wealth affairs.
Working closely with you and your team, our Business Advisors can help you plan and implement contemporary business strategies and practices to meet your business’s full potential.
Our commercially minded tax specialists offer clear, responsive advice to manage your tax risk, address local and international issues, and develop strategies to optimise your tax position.
Our highly experienced team of liquidators and trustees use their extensive expertise to assist in times of financial distress, achieving the best outcome for all stakeholders.
Our audit team has extensive experience in a range of engagements, giving stakeholders independent and objective assurance on financial information, transactions and processes.
By understanding not only what you want to achieve but why it’s important, our wealth advisors can create strategies attuned to your key priorities. The end result is a plan focused on your life goals.
Our Corporate Advisory team provides objective, strategic and commercial advice across a broad range of business issues. Our work spans the breadth each engagement from the origination of ideas to managing the transaction process, valuation and structuring.
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Our advisors understand the challenges and opportunities facing the professional services sector first hand. This experience together with our expertise helps to determine your strategic objectives and provide concise, relevant advice to help you achieve your goals.
Our property and construction team assist on a wide range of assignments from property development to construction and large infrastructure projects. Their diverse experience, technical expertise and commercial know-how to help you tackle the important issues.
Our retail and wholesale team works with a variety of businesses from family owned operations to franchises and larger chains, to provide advice and guidance on the issues that count.
Our transport and distribution team works with businesses to review their operations, improve efficiency and productivity and ensure compliance with the latest regulatory developments.
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We work with individuals, businesses and community organisations with a particular focus on the mid-market. Drawing on our extensive experience, our advisors will challenge your thinking and re-frame problems to understand their root-cause.
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By Angela Jeffrey
DIRECTOR, BUSINESS ADVISORY
By TOM LAUNDY
When doctors establish their own practice, start taking rooms, employing staff and purchasing equipment, they essentially create a new business. From a tax and structuring perspective, there are two businesses operating – the individual medical practice of the doctor and the new service business.
The service entity employs all staff associated with the practice, provides all administrative materials such as stationery, postage and telephones, operating premises and perhaps the equipment used by the practice. The service entity then charges a fee to the doctor for the supply of these services.
The use of this structure is extremely common within the medical profession and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has accepted the use of service entity arrangements. However, where there is an overcharging of service fees or a service fee is charged at non-commercial levels to the doctor/s, it can be seen as tax avoidance and attract substantial penalties.
In determining the appropriateness of a service fee, ask yourself, “If I did not control the service entity to which I am paying the service fee, would the level of the payment differ?” That is, would I pay an external provider the same amount that I currently pay my own service entity? If the answer is no and you would in fact be paying less, it is possible you are overpaying your service fee. The ATO are placing greater scrutiny on this area.
There have been a few cases in recent years, where the service entity arrangement has not been upheld by the courts and some taxes such as payroll tax have been made to be payable by these entities. However, if the service fee entity and its service fee arrangement is set up correctly and is appropriately documented, neither the relevant contract provisions nor employment agency contract provisions should apply. Therefore, payroll tax and employee entitlement provisions (such as leave and superannuation) would not be payable in these circumstances.
The key components of these arrangements are as follows:
These factors must exist in order for an arrangement to be considered a correctly administered service entity arrangement.
1. DO I NEED TO OPEN A SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNT TO RECEIVE THE PATIENT FEES OF THE INDIVIDUAL DOCTORS?
This is not a mandatory requirement, provided you can track and record each medical practitioner’s patient fees for each payment period and are able to use these numbers to calculate a service fee. We advise clients to maintain a patient fee liability account on the balance sheet for each doctor
utilising the practices services, to track this income, their service fee and the net payment owing to them. Where this process is followed, a separate bank account is not required.
2. DO I NEED A WRITTEN SERVICE AGREEMENT BETWEEN EACH INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL PRACTITIONER AND THE SERVICE ENTITY? SHOULD THIS CONTRACT BE A LEGAL CONTRACT PREPARED BY A SOLICITOR?
The answer to both of these questions is absolutely yes! This is the only way that you, as the owner of the practice, can be sure that you fall within the service fee arrangement guidelines and can gain some reassurance that the doctors utilising your
services will not be classified das employees or contractors
3. THE PRACTICE’S AGREEMENTS FALL UNDER THE EMPLOYEE AND CONTRACTOR PROVISIONS, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY PRACTICE?
If this does occur, then this may be very costly to your practice. This will mean that the practice must pay superannuation, leave entitlements and potentially payroll tax if you exceed the $1,100,000 taxable wages threshold.
It never hurts to seek a second opinion. As an AMA Queensland member, William Buck provides you with a complimentary consultation to review your financial laffairs and ensure you are compliant with tax legislation. This second opinion is at no risk to you and will give you peace of mind that you are doing the right thing and can stay off the ATO radar.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are in the nature of general comments only, and are not to be used, relied or acted upon with seeking further professional advice. William Buck accepts no liability for errors or omissions, or for any loss or damage suffered as a result of any person acting without such advice. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.