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Tax Working Group's capital gains proposal keenly awaited

Monday 18th February 2019

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New Zealand is probably going to get a capital gains tax and the likely outline of how that could play out will probably be the economic highlight this week.

But competing for public attention will be the gearing up of the company reporting season with a swag of major companies including Port of Tauranga, A2 Milk, Fletcher Building and Meridian Energy all announcing their first-half results.

And the latest Global Dairy Trade auction result due early Wednesday will be keenly scrutinised to see whether it can continue the winning streak demonstrated in the past eight auctions.

The long-awaited Tax Working Group's final report will be unveiled on Thursday and all the indications are that it will contain a plan for imposing such as tax.

“Me and everyone else out there who has followed this in any shape or form will be incredibly surprised if a capital gains tax isn't there,” says Mark Lister, head of wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

“You're never sure, but that's the expectations. The interim report was pretty clear that was the direction that the group was heading,” Lister says.

Certainly, both the Labour Party and the Green Party have supported a capital gains tax.

“For me, it's just about the detail about how it may be applied and the exemptions.”

The government is likely to offer some initial thoughts before it formally responds in April.

“The intention is for the effective date to be no earlier than April 1, 2021. This would essentially give the country an opportunity to voice their opinion on any proposals,” Lister says.

As New Zealand's reporting season gears up, the earnings season in the United States is starting to wind down, although a number of household names, including Walmart, Kraft Heinz and Hewlett Packard, will be reporting results this week.

As of Friday last week, 79 percent of the companies within the S&P 500 Index had reported and 70 percent of them had beaten earnings estimates; 62 percent had exceeded sales revenue forecasts.

Lister says the overall earnings growth rate so far for the companies in that key index was more than 13 percent higher than had been expected on Jan. 1.

New Zealand's farmers will be hoping for more of the same after the past five Global Dairy Trade auctions recorded increases.

At the last auction, the headline index rose 6.7 percent, much stronger than had been expected. The index is now 18.8 percent higher than late November and is now just 5.6 percent lower than its peak in May last year.

Whole milk powder prices, the key price for Fonterra farmers, were stronger still, rising 8.4 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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