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Reducing ACC Levies for Contracting Arborists

Richard Tregoweth - Friday, July 16, 2010

If you are a self-employed contracting arborist paying your own ACC levies you might be interested in this article.

Back in February, parliament passed a bill that reduced some ACC entitlements, changed work assessment rules and raised the ACC levy for self-employed business owners. So what? you could argue! Believe me, it is a big deal if you are paying your own ACC levies and are expecting income protection in the event of a work related accident.

In order to receive ACC payments following an accident, a contracting arborist would need sufficient documentation to prove income and/or financial loss. Unfortunately, arborists are not known for their book keeping ability and they consistently do 'cashies' which represent undeclared earnings. Proving actual income often presents a problem when they come to claim.

As an example, Doug is a 28-year-old contracting arborist earning $50K per annum in his contracting job and he has a $500 per week mortgage to pay. His ACC Levies are $3664 per annum. One day he arses out of the tree and applies for ACC. First thing Doug has to do is prove his income (which, as we can see, is no easy task).

Let's say Doug is the perfect book keeper and does not do cashies so ACC do agree to pay, Doug would receive $717 per week. If he got sick (instead of being injured) and could not work Doug would be shit out of luck regardless of his book keeping skills.

But there are other options available to Doug. For instance he could privatize a portion of the ACC cover, saving a considerable amount on levies, and insure his mortgage under a separate cover. This means Doug will receive an agreed amount at claim time. That is, he does not have to prove his income following an accident because the amount is agreed on beforehand.

If Doug arsed out of the tree using this model he would receive $372 per week from ACC plus $500 to cover his mortgage making a total of $872 per week. That's an increase of $172 per week! But wait, there's more - because he has agreed to an amount beforehand his ACC levies are reduced to $2126 per annum (instead of $3664). And, if Doug gets sick and can't work he still gets $500 per week under private cover. The total cost under this scheme is $2811 per annum, considerably less than ACC only at $3664.

Have a look at the video below presented by Risk Advisor, Matt Thomson. Matt uses the example of a self-employed builder in the video but that could just as easily be a self-employed contracting arborist.

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