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Accounting Income Method (AIM) for Provisional Tax – what you need to know

Posted 2 years ago in Advisors by Joanne Stanyer
Posted by Joanne Stanyer

In New Zealand, provisional tax has long been recognised as a stress point for small businesses. Many small business owners struggle to grasp the concepts of provisional tax and terminal tax. This isn’t surprising, as there are so many things to think about every day, just to run the business.

Another pain point with provisional tax is the mismatch between when a business makes a profit and when it pays its provisional tax. Under the old rules of provisional tax, payments are made three times a year in equal amounts. However, most businesses don’t earn their income equally over the year. This mismatch can create pressure on the business’s cashflow if taxes are paid earlier than the profit is made. AIM will also reduce the risk of penalties and interest on provisional tax.

The power of cloud accounting

Under the provisional tax rules before AIM was introduced, a business’s provisional tax liability was calculated either as a fixed increase over last year or as an estimate of the current year’s result. Both of these methods can produce results that are very different from the actual business performance especially given the outside influences which can affect business performance, including everything from economic pressures to natural disasters. Xero and AIM overcome these problems by using the power of cloud accounting, coupled with the experience of your business adviser.

At Xero, we know that almost all business owners rely on their advisers for provisional tax advice. Many advisers also guide their clients on the choice of software that is most appropriate for their business. We know that it is crucial to help business advisers to understand and accept AIM if it is to be widely adopted by small businesses.

AIM will help bring your business adviser closer to your business as it is designed to be calculated as part of the business’s GST return process. The same work you do to get ready for GST, will get you ready for AIM. Your business adviser will use your data from Xero to calculate your AIM provisional tax every two months. This gives your business adviser another opportunity to help you with advice about your business performance, as well as providing valuable tax advice.

AIM available in Xero Tax

We have worked with the Inland Revenue to develop AIM for business advisers in New Zealand and this is in Xero Tax as part of Practice Manager. We understand that sharing up-to-date information and collaborating on advice are essential features of AIM, and Xero makes this easy.


Mark Scowen
February 12, 2018 at 7.31 am

1st of April is rapidly approaching, when will you have more information on how this will work and what users need to do to be ready?

Anthony Cooke
February 15, 2018 at 9.21 am

So, the major users who would benefit from this – financially savvy business owners who do their own GST – are going to be locked out of using AIM for at least the first year – unless they spend more money getting their accountants to do AIM for them?

That’s a bit silly, I think. Guess I’ll have to wait for the second year or whenever IRD and Xero ‘get over themselves’ re. this.

Which means that AIM functionality will only be used and therefore tested by businesses who are less financially competent? What’s the point of that?

Bruce Robinson
February 28, 2018 at 2.00 pm

I agree. If payroll and inventory capabilities are available in the main Xero product, why not AIM – it’s supposed to be simpler than the current rules, after all?

Cathy Hurley
February 27, 2018 at 4.53 pm

My thoughts exactly Anthony Cooke. I want to be able to do this myself but looks like its not going to be available. I run my profit and loss at the end of each month and pay the amount to IRD just so we don’t get into issues of not having paid enough on the provisional dates. Bit of a hit and miss as to whether the figures are correct and this AIM looked like my solution. Seems a bit pointless that they aren’t offering it to users of Xero when it is part of our job each month.

Steven Brenssell
March 15, 2018 at 12.18 pm

Total agree with Anthony comments and find it disapoionting that a forward looking company like xero is behind its competitor Myob in offering AIM

Claire Barning
March 15, 2018 at 12.46 pm

I totally agree with the comments above, we are able to do our GST, but locked out of AIM. Trust us Xero, we know when we need help and are not backwards about contacting our accountants/tax agents when we need them, but help us to keep our costs down please by making it available to us the business owners!

April 29, 2018 at 1.04 am

Totally agree with the comments regarding giving the capability to business owners.

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