Taxes

Ensuring you're registered for the correct taxes is essential to running your business. Taxes can change over time, as governments amend, remove or introduce taxes.

There are several taxes that you may need to register for, depending on the size and type of business you're starting. Some registrations are optional, but can make life easier if you have them.
 
If you’re a small business with an annual turnover of less than $10 million, you may be able to access small business tax concessions from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
 
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has developed a Small Business Tax Time Toolkit to help small business owners get it right this tax time, whether they use a registered tax agent or lodge their own tax return. The toolkit includes information about keeping good records, small business concessions, business expenses and more.

You should be aware of the different taxes that may apply to your business and how to register for them.

For information on the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Single Touch Payroll Reporting Requirements (STPR) for all employers visit the ATO website.
  • Tax File Number (TFN)

    You must have a TFN regardless of the type of business you're starting. If you plan to operate your business as a sole trader, you can keep your individual TFN. If you're operating as a partnership, company or trust, you'll need to register a separate TFN for the business.
     
    REGISTER NOW
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)

    GST is compulsory if your business has a current or expected turnover of $75,000 or more a year ($150,000 or more for non-profit organisations). It's also compulsory if you provide taxi travel (including ride-sharing or ride-sourcing), regardless of turnover.

     
    Once you're registered for GST, any invoices you send to customers must include a GST component.
     
    REGISTER NOW
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding

    As an employer, you have a role in helping your workers meet their end-of-year tax liabilities. You do this by collecting ‘pay as you go (PAYG) withholding’ amounts from payments you make to:
    • your employees
    • other workers, such as contractors, with whom you have agreements
    • businesses that don't quote their ABN.
     
    You must register for PAYG withholding if you will be withholding tax from payments to workers or other businesses. ‘PAYG withholding’ is different to payroll tax.
     
    Learn more about your PAYG obligations here.
     
    REGISTER NOW
  • Payroll tax

    Payroll tax is a state tax calculated on wages you pay to your employees. 
     
    You become liable for payroll tax in South Australia when your business has a wages bill of more than $600,000 a year for employees anywhere in Australia, if any of those employees perform services in South Australia.
     
    You must register with RevenueSA if you are required to pay payroll tax. As a guide, RevenueSA recommends registering when your wages bill is consistently more than $11,538 per week.
     
    REGISTER NOW
  • Income tax and deductions

    Just as you may have lodged an income tax return as an individual, your business must lodge an income tax return to report its income to the ATO.
     
    Federal income tax is levied on the taxable income of a person or a business. It's calculated on assessable income, minus any allowable deductions. You must keep accurate and complete records of all your assessable income and the deductions you intend to claim.
     
    The type of income tax return you need to lodge, and when you need to lodge it, will depend on the business structure you have used for your business.
     
    • Sole trader. Report your business income in your individual tax return.
    • Partnership.  Lodge a partnership tax return. You will also include your share of the partnership’s income or loss in your individual income tax return.
    • Company. Lodge a company tax return. If the company pays you a wage or other payments such as directors fees, you must report these payments in your individual tax return.
    • Trust. Lodge a trust tax return. Any trust distributions made to you must be included in your individual tax return.
     
    Read more income and deductions for business and business tax returns.
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)

    Providing perks, or fringe benefits, to your employees can attract FBT. This might include:
    • a company car
    • discount or free car parking
    • low-interest loans
    • Christmas parties
    • payment of private expenses as part of a salary package.
     
    You should register for FBT as soon as you decide to start providing fringe benefits to your employees.

    REGISTER NOW
  • Land tax

    Land tax is an annual tax payable by owners of land that helps fund public services such as education, health and public safety.
     
    If your business owns property then it's likely you'll have to pay land tax on that property. However, you should find out if you have any entitlements, as land owned by some types of organisations can be exempt from land tax.
     
    Revenue SA provides information about land tax, who is liable and how it is calculated.
  • Capital Gains Tax

    Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is the tax you pay on any capital gain you make by selling assets such as property, shares, vehicles, or even your business. These are called CGT events.
     
    CGT is not a separate tax, but part of your income tax.
     
    The most common way of making a capital gain or loss is by selling assets, such as property, shares, vehicles, or even your business. These are called CGT events. 
     
    There are four small business CGT concessions that can be used to reduce your capital gain. If you meet certain conditions you can apply for as many concessions as you're entitled to until the capital gain is reduced to nil.
     
    Read about what tax applies if your home is the principal place of business.
     
    Visit the ATO website for more information on CGT concessions and CGT events.
  • Excise duties

    Excise duty is a tax on certain goods produced or manufactured in Australia. These goods are called excisable goods, and include alcohol, petroleum, tobacco and coal.
     
    You must be registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) before you can:
    • produce, store, deal in or manufacture excisable goods
    • move excisable goods underbond - that is, excisable goods on which duty has not been paid
    • lodge returns and claims.
     
    Visit the ATO's excise licences page for information on how to obtain a licence for alcohol, tobacco, petroleum and alternative fuels.
  • Stamp duty

    Stamp duty is a tax on written documents and certain transactions, including:
    • motor vehicle registrations and transfers
    • insurance policies
    • mortgages
    • transfers of property such as businesses, real estate and certain shares.
     
    Stamp duty is charged at either a flat or proportional rate, based on the value of the transaction and depending on the document or transaction.
     
    Revenue SA provides different methods for lodgement, determination and payment of South Australian stamp duty documents.
  • Rates

    Rates are property taxes charged by local government (councils) on properties in their area. You'll receive a rates bill from your local council on any property your business owns.
     
    Councils use rates to pay for public and community services such as running the council, roads, bridges, kerbing, parks and gardens, immunisation, libraries, community activities, tree planting and pest eradication.
     
    The price, method of valuation and timing of rates payments varies, depending on the council in which you are doing business and the value of your property.
     
    Speak to your local council to find out what rates and charges apply to your business.
  • International tax

    If you are a foreign resident doing business in Australia or an Australian doing business overseas, your tax obligations will be affected by tax treaties between Australia and other countries, and by the scale and nature of your business.
     
    See the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO's) international tax section for information on tax issues for resident and non-residents.

Planning templates

Use these free planning templates and guides to help you better plan, prepare, manage, and exit a business. Investing time into proper research and planning can help turn your ideas into reality, and prepare you for what’s to come.

Business plan

A business plan works as a guide when your business is operating; how you operate, planning the future and preparing for risks. It is also often a required document for finance applications.

Marketing plan

An effective marketing plan can help you set clear, realistic and measurable marketing objectives for your business. It can boost your customer base increasing your bottom line.

Emergency plan

Your business is critical to your financial wellbeing, so you’ll want to protect it as much as you can against emergencies and disasters.

Succession plan

Planning for the day you leave your business is a valuable investment.

More help

It’s important to seek help early from the range of advice and support services available to you.

Learn More

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If you need any assistance, please call (08) 8226 8956 for information relating to small business or visit us at the Small Business Shopfront, 99 Gawler Place, Adelaide.