The media is currently giving high exposure to the issues facing dairy farmers - dairy payments down, farm incomes dropping, and farms failing financially with banks calling in receivers and liquidators. The news seems bleak. At GRA we realise a farm is more than a business; it is also a home, and the idea of losing your home is never a palatable one. But it is important for farmers, and others facing similar dilemmas, not to turn a blind eye and hope the problem will go away.
Rather, it is an opportune time to look at asset protection
to ensure the potential downside is limited should the worst happen. It is bad enough to lose your business, but to lose all your assets as well can be devastating. The good news is, with the right asset protection structures in place, your assets can be protected.
Good structures put people in a stronger position to negotiate with financers, but it is important to address this sooner rather than later. Don’t leave it to the last minute, as many structures need time before they become 100% effective.
The same advice applies to people who may be facing challenges with the IRD. The IRD are very aggressive in going after people who fail to pay their tax, so you need to be proactive if you are failing to meet your obligations. (I wrote a blog about debt with the IRD, in March 2014
.) Ensure you have the correct structures in place, and get some help as soon as you start getting behind. The vast majority of the time things can be resolved or greatly improved, but you need to act quickly before the situation gets out of hand. We know of a number of people who didn’t take this advice, and they have ended up doing community service, in prison, or with ankle bracelets courtesy of Her Majesty.
Whether you are a dairy farmer facing hard times, or a business owner struggling to meet your tax obligations, put your hand up and get some professional help now
. In saying that, be very wary of accountants who do not have expertise in this area – these situations need to be dealt with carefully and with specialised knowledge. Get in touch with us at GRA if you are facing such challenges – we have had a great deal of success in this area. However, the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to help you.