Book out your bach, avoid a tax headache!

Date: 18th December 2011

Recent years have seen a surge in popularity in the short-stay rental of holiday homes. The internet has made it easier to list, book and review baches and cribs which are available when owners aren’t in residence.

Inland Revenue have recently issued a paper proposing new rules on mixed-use assets (including holiday homes) where there is a mixture of business and personal use, with revised criteria that should be adhered to when booking out the bach. But until the rules are formally changed, the current policies still apply.
Firstly, it’s vital that your intentions are bona fide. You must market the holiday home in a commercial manner such as setting up and using a website for the property, registering the property with a reputable holiday home website or listing the property for short stay rental with local real estate agencies. These efforts cannot be seen to be ‘token’, you should be accepting offers from suitable renters.
Secondly, your own (plus family and friends’) use of the property must be diarised so you can determine the days in a year that the property was available for renting out.
If the property is owned by an individual or a family trust the expenses relating to the property including the utilities (power, rates, insurance), maintenance and interest on debt will be apportioned according to the number of days in a year the house was available for rent.
There are GST issues too. Short stay accommodation is a taxable supply for GST purposes so if the annual rent you are receiving exceeds $60,000, the owning entity (individual, partnership, company or trust) is required to register for GST and return GST on the outputs (rent) and inputs (expenses and improvements) made and received. This threshold may seem high but some do have more than one holiday home in the same entity! This threshold includes the market value of free or cheap use of the bach by persons associated to the owner.
The value of the property becomes a taxable supply when registration occurs and when the property is sold or the entity de-registered. Both the income tax and GST issues can be quite tricky so we recommend consulting us to make sure all the tax bases are covered correctly.


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