Don’t get caught out in the cold this tax time – take advantage of the ATO’s online tools and resources to help you get your tax done, quickly and simply. Let’s take a look at some of the things the ATO has on offer for small businesses.
ATO Online services and digital self-help tools
ATO Online services and digital self-help tools are the easiest way to resolve your tax queries. You can save time waiting in call queues as most business reporting and transactions can be done securely and efficiently through our Online services for business.
Another great resource is ATO Community – our online peer-to-peer platform that allows members of the community to ask and share information about tax and super. With more than 117,000 members and over 225,000 posts, it’s a great way to get your questions answered. At the moment, the trending questions from small business owners include what expenses are eligible for the new small business boosts and what deductions they can claim.
Have you used Ask Alex, our virtual assistant on our website? Alex can answer your questions about tax to help you find the information you need. The Small business newsroom is another great resource for all your tax and super questions. The Small business newsletter is a subscription-based service that provides you with the latest tax and super news delivered to your inbox.
Our website also has a range of tools and services to make it easier for you to get your tax and super right. Find out about our tax time essentials, online services, learning resources and more at ato.gov.au/sbsupport
Small business tax time toolkit
If you use a motor vehicle for business purposes, or run your business from home (even some of the time), it’s worth checking out our small business tax time toolkit for 2023.
The toolkit includes links to useful information, tools, calculators, learning resources and other support and services, as well as updated fact sheets on:
- Home based business expenses – if you’re claiming a deduction for the costs of using your home as a place of business.
- Motor vehicle expenses – if you’re claiming a deduction for motor vehicle expenses for your business.
- Travel expenses – if you’re claiming a deduction for expenses you incur when travelling for your business.
- Digital product expenses – if you’re claiming a deducion for the cost of digital products used in running your business.
- Using your company’s money or assets – if you’re a director or shareholder of a company that operates a small business, and you take money out of your company or use its assets.
- Pausing or permanently closing your business – if you’ve had to pause or permanently close your business.
Keep your information and business secure
Tax time is also a good time to review your own vulnerability to cyber criminals as we expect scammers to be active this time of year. Review how you protect your personal information and learn how to verify or report a scam if you come across something suspicious.
The Small business newsroom has advice and guidance on how to protect your myGovID as well as implementing the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Essential 8 mitigation strategies to help you protect your business.
Essentials to strengthen your small business
Essentials to strengthen your small business is a new free online learning platform with short, self-paced courses to help you improve your business. The courses have been specifically designed for the needs of small businesses. Information is accurate and up to date, and it’s more interactive than the ATO website (you can even test your knowledge with our quick quizzes). You can choose what you want to learn and customise a learning pathway that is right for your business depending on your lifecycle stage, business structure and industry. You can complete each course at your own convenience, enabling you to stop and save your progress and return to it at another time.
There are currently 21 courses, covering different:
- lifecycle stages – thinking about starting a business, starting a business, running a business, changing a business and closing a business
- reporting obligations – e.g. if you have workers, or need to report GST or FBT.
- learning needs – e.g. if you want to learn more about good record keeping, improving cash flow or growing your business
- circumstances – e.g. if you want help setting up a business, want to check if your business is viable or if you are thinking of closing your business.
We will continue to add new courses in the future. Let us know if you would like a course on a particular topic. We’ll develop it if there’s enough interest, and we can point you in the right direction on the ATO website in the meantime.
The Essentials to strengthen your small business platform will be launched soon, so keep an eye out on the Small business newsroom and other ATO communication channels.
Staying on top of cash flow
Good cash flow management practices can give an accurate picture of a small business’ financial position. This allows for the management of unforeseeable events which can help to increase your business’s resilience.
New cash flow resources for small businesses are available at https://business.gov.au/finance/cash-flow
These resources support small business owners to improve their financial literacy so they can better manage their cash flow, meet their obligations, and ask their advisers the right questions.
Small businesses can use them as a self-help tool, or as a shared resource with their adviser to support cash flow coaching conversations.
Small business technology investment boost
Small businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million can now get an additional 20% tax deduction for expenditure incurred to support their digital operations or digitise their operations.
This applies to eligible expenditure incurred between 7:30 pm AEDT on 29 March 2022 and 30 June 2023. The boost is for business expenses and depreciating assets and is capped at $100,000 of expenditure per income year. You can receive a maximum bonus deduction of $20,000 per income year. For more information, visit ato,gov.au/technologyboost
Small business skills and training boost
The second boost allows small businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million an additional 20% tax deduction for expenditure incurred on external training courses delivered to employees by registered training providers.
The boost applies to eligible expenditure incurred from 7:30 pm AEDT on 29 March 2022 until 30 June 2024. Again, expenditure is capped at $100,000 with a maximum bonus deduction of $20,000 per income year.
For more guidance, visit ato.gov.au/skillstrainingboost
Remember, a registered tax professional can help you with your tax and super and is also a helpful resource.
Emma Tobias is an Assistant Commissioner for the Australian Taxation Office in the Small Business line. Her focus is to help support small businesses by leading and influencing their experience across the tax, super and registry systems. Emma collaborates with small businesses, industry partners and government agencies to drive an improved small business experience and digital services. Her area also helps small businesses manage cash-flow and digital readiness, assisting them as they look to recover and succeed after the challenges of the last few years.