ATO small business ideas or other business support (2023)

ATO small business ideas or other business support (1)


By measuring the income tax performance of small business taxpayers in Australia, we see that this population contributes over $89billion in income tax – this is around 87% of the revenue we expect from them.

We have a program that measures:

  • tax performance across all taxpayer populations
  • the effectiveness of the tax and superannuation systems.

As part of this, wemeasure tax gaps(estimates of the difference between the tax collected and the amount that would have been collected if everyone was fully compliant with tax law).

The latest estimate of the netsmall business income tax gapfor 2019–20 is $11.9billion or 11.6%. This is a preliminary estimate and will be revised in future years using updated data.

We work out our estimate by reviewing the tax returns of a random sample of small business taxpayers – we call this therandom enquiry program.

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The random enquiry program helps us to:

  • understand the taxpayer behaviours contributing to thetax gap
  • identify the support businesses need to get their tax right
  • devise strategies to increase willing participation in the tax system
  • target our resources to combat shadow economy behaviour most effectively.

Recent events have impacted our random enquiry program. This has reduced the size of the sample used in the 2019–20 preliminary estimate. For this reason, the reliability rating of our estimate has also been reduced.

We see common behaviours among small businesses that get their tax right. These tips will help you to pay the right tax.

Seek advice and support

A tax professional can help keep you on track and avoid costly mistakes.

Make sure you:

  • choose a tax agent or BAS agent who is registered with theTax Practitioners BoardExternal Linkor a reputable bookkeeper
  • keep your tax professional in the loop – regular contact will help them understand your business and give you the right advice
  • talk to your tax professional or come to us if you're unsure of something or considering making changes to your business.

Check your business structure

Unnecessarily complex business structures can overcomplicate tax obligations. Talk to your tax agent to ensure yourbusiness structuresuits the needs of your business.

Keep good records

Keeping good records is essential and will make it easier to report to us:

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  • Talk to your software provider or tax professional to check that your record keeping processes meet current requirements.
  • Make sure you conduct regular reconciliation processes by cross-checking figures with your bank statements and source documents (for example, till tapes, tax invoices and receipts).
  • Usesuitable digital systemsto run your business, such as point of sale software, accounting systems and mobile apps. These products can save you time and help you report accurately.

Get your income and expenses right

Ensure what you report is accurate:

  • Report all your business income, even if it has been paid in cash, or into a private account. We use data matching and benchmarking to help us identify hidden activities.
  • The figures you report need to be exact – so keep up to date records from the start and don't try and 'guestimate' after the event.
  • Make sure yourdeductions relate to your business, and that you have the required evidence to support your claims.

Most small businesses have some form of tax professional representation. We see many examples of the support and assistance tax professionals provide to small businesses.

Here's how you can help your small business clients report correctly:

  • Understand their business, not just their tax. Where possible, get to know your clients and their business so you're better positioned to help them report correctly.
  • Check that they have chosen a business structure that best suits their needs.
  • Talk to them about good record keeping practices and digital solutions (like accounting and point of sale software) to suit their business.
  • Make sure you get all the information you need to report correctly. Your clients aren't tax experts and they don't know what they don't know. Ask them some questions to ensure you have the full picture. This is particularly important for the clients you don't have regular contact with.
  • Where possible, work with the other tax professionals they use. Then you can ensure you are all on the same page and your figures match up.

To reduce the tax gap, we identify and help businesses that are not paying the right tax.

Improving small business tax performance

We are exploring ways to deliver quality services and provide ongoing help to improve the tax performance of small businesses, taking into account that the environment they are operating in is rapidly evolving.

Balanced compliance approaches are in place to support those in need and ensure fairness in the tax and superannuation systems.

It is important to recognise the role Australia's tax system plays in supporting the community. Protecting the integrity of the tax system and maintaining its effectiveness is critical.

Given the impact the shadow economy has on the tax gap and on honest small business owners, we will continue to focus on businesses that actively avoid paying the right tax.

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We'reenhancing our enforcement strategyto better target people doing the wrong thing. With increasingly sophisticated technology and data capabilities, it's getting easier to identify businesses that avoid paying their fair share. We have a range of approaches to address this behaviour, from applying penalties and interest, right through to prosecution.

Getting the right amount of tax paid in the first place is the most efficient way to administer the tax system. We foster willing participation by considering how we can make it easier for businesses to comply.

We provide a suite ofsupport tools and servicesto help small businesses meet their tax obligations. We look into what drives the kinds of mistakes businesses make so we can better target our products and make it easier for them to work with us.

Newly registered businesses are subscribed to theNew to Business EssentialsExternal Linkemail service. This delivers timely and helpful government information to them over the first 12months of operation. Through this service, new business owners are introduced to a range of government services and support.

Working with tax professionals and our other partners

We understand the value our partners provide to the small business community. We work closely with them to help small businesses understand their obligations.

Key partners we work with include:

  • tax professionals (Tax agents, BAS agents, bookkeepers and business advisors)
  • other business advisory groups (such as Financial Councillors Australia)
  • industry associations
  • financial institutions and legal advisors
  • education providers

other departments across all levels of government, including the Australian Securities and Investments CommissionFair Work OmbudsmanDepartment of Prime Minister and Cabinetstewardship forums and other key stakeholders such as the Small Business Family Enterprise OmbudsmanSmall Business CommissionersSmall Business Champions.Helping business owners who have made mistakes

Tax can be complicated, and we know that business owners can make honest mistakes.

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If you make a mistake, we'll explain where you've gone wrong and how to get it right next time. As part of our audit process we consider the nature of the error and whether the taxpayer is a candidate forpenalty relief.

If you’ve done the wrong thing but you want to turn things around, come to us. We can help business owners whovoluntarily discloseto get back on track.

Helping business owners under difficult circumstances

It has never been a more challenging time to be a small business owner. If you're going through a difficult time, whatever the reason, we haveoptions available to help you.

We can arrange payment plans, lodgment and payment deferrals if you are struggling to meet your tax or superannuation commitments. You can speak with us directly or ask someone to do this on your behalf.

We want to work with you before your situation gets more difficult. But it’s never too late to ask for help.

Improving small business tax performance is a key focus area in ourCorporate plan.

We will achieve this by collaborating with partners to build a digital first tax ecosystem, enabling seamless tax reporting from business source systems.

By enhancing our use of data and introducing new tools and systems we will help small business owners by:

(Video) Small businesses unfairly targeted by the ATO to receive greater compensation access

reducing their compliance costs ensuring they have timely information available to help with decision making

Products likeSingle Touch PayrollandeInvoicing, pave the way for a future with increased automation and a more seamless experience for small business taxpayers.

  • reducing complexity and minimising the likelihood of mistakes.
  • creating a level playing field and reducing opportunities for tax avoidance.


    How do I contact ATO? ›

    1. Ask the operator to connect you to 1300 146 094 Fast Key Code 1 1 8. You will be transferred to an officer who can help you.
    2. You can also phone +61 3 9268 8332 for a free interpreting service and ask to be connected to 1300 146 094 .
    Apr 3, 2023

    How do I get my tax back Australia? ›

    You can apply for your refund for free online at, however it can be extremely confusing! We suggest using a Tax Agent specialising in tax return for seasonal workers if you feel need some help. If you leave Australia permanently before 30 June, you can lodge your tax return early.

    What does the ATO do? ›

    The ATO's role is to effectively manage and shape the tax and superannuation systems to support and fund services for Australians. In this role, we administer the tax law and key elements of the superannuation law, and provide advice to Treasury to support the development of tax legislative measures.

    What is the meaning of ATO? ›

    See authorization to operate (ATO).

    How to get a $10,000 tax refund? ›

    Individuals who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) may be able to receive a refund of more than $10,000. “If you are low-to-moderate income and worked, you may be eligible for the Federal and State of California Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC).

    Can foreigners claim tax back in Australia? ›

    The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) allows Australians and overseas visitors to claim a refund (subject to certain conditions) of the goods and services tax (GST) and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) paid on goods bought in Australian and then taken out of Australia.

    How much is the average tax return refund Australia? ›

    How do tax refunds work in Australia? Over 14 million people lodge a tax return each year in Australia and of those who receive a refund (about two-thirds) on average they receive just over $2,800 each, resulting in a collective refund of more than $30 billion.

    What is an ATO business? ›

    Assemble-to-order (ATO) is a business production strategy where products that are ordered by customers are produced quickly and are customizable to a certain extent. It typically requires that the basic parts of the product are already manufactured but not yet assembled.

    Who owns ATO? ›

    Image of Who owns ATO?
    The Treasury, fully Department of the Treasury, is the Australian Government ministerial department responsible for economic policy, fiscal policy, market regulation, and the Australian federal budget.

    Who controls the ATO? ›

    The ATO is led by Chris Jordan AO, Commissioner of Taxation and Registrar of the Australian Business Register and the Australian Business Registry Services, and is supported by the Executive Committee and other corporate committees. The ATO is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity within the Treasury portfolio.

    What is the ATO process? ›

    Generally the steps in the ATO process align with the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) and include: Categorize the system within the organization based on potential adverse impact to the organization. Select relevant security controls. Implement the security controls. Assess the effectiveness of the security ...

    What is ATO payroll? ›

    ATO is a form of paid administrative leave status initiated by appointing authorities for a variety of reasons. Most often, ATO is used when an employee cannot come to work because of a pending investigation, fitness for duty evaluation, or when work facilities are unavailable.

    What is ATO accounting? ›

    Accounting and Tax Outsourcing Services (ATO)

    How do people get large tax refunds? ›

    By contributing more toward your tax bill with each paycheck, you'll increase the amount you pay in during the year—and thereby increase your chances of getting a bigger refund.

    Why did I get $800 from the IRS? ›

    The IRS says 1.5 million people are owed a median refund of more than $800 because they haven't filed their 2018 tax return yet. "That's the median refund, half the refunds will be more, half will be less. But you don't know until you prepare the return and file it," said Michael Devine of the IRS.

    How do I get the biggest tax refund when self employed? ›

    To get the biggest tax refund possible as a self-employed (or even a partly self-employed) individual, take advantage of all the deductions you have available to you. You need to pay self-employment tax to cover the portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes normally paid for by a wage or salaried worker's employer.

    Do you pay tax in Australia if you live overseas? ›

    Australian residents are generally taxed on all their worldwide income. Temporary residents of Australia and foreign residents are generally taxed only on their Australian-sourced income, such as money they earn working in Australia.

    How much tax do non-residents pay in Australia? ›

    The current foreign resident tax rates or non-resident tax rates (for the 2020-2021 tax year) are as follows: [0 – $120,000] 32.5 cents for each $1. [$120,001- $180,000] 37 cents for each $1 over $120,000. [$180,001 and over] 45 cents for each $1 over $180,000.

    Does Australia tax expats? ›

    Non-residents are subject to Australian tax on Australian-source income only. An exemption from Australian tax on certain income is available for individuals, potentially expats, who qualify as a temporary resident.

    How much tax will I get back if I earn $60 000 in Australia? ›

    Example of tax refund calculation
    Annual Income$60,000
    Tax Paid$15,000
    Tax on income$12,247
    Tax refund amount$2,753

    What is the average tax refund for 75k salary? ›

    The average tax refund in 2020 for someone making between $50,000 and $75,000 was $1,992. The average tax return for someone making $200,000 or more was $4,334.

    How much tax will I get back if I earn $35 000 in Australia? ›

    If you make $35,000 a year living in Australia, you will be taxed $3,892. That means that your net pay will be $31,108 per year, or $2,592 per month.

    How do I contact ATO about a dispute? ›

    You can contact ATO Complaints on 1800 199 010 or the Compensation Assistance Line on 1800 005 172 to discuss your options.

    What does ATO mean office? ›

    Administrative Time Off (ATO)

    How do I contact the ATO clearing house? ›

    register for the clearing house by phoning 1300 660 048.

    How do I resolve a tax dispute? ›

    disagree or resolve an issue.
    Make sure to:
    1. Submit your appeal by the appeal date on your notice.
    2. Provide a copy of the notice you're appealing.
    3. Write a letter, or you may use the Request for Appeal Before the Office of Tax Appeals (FTB 1037) , to explain why you don't agree with our determination.
    Sep 22, 2021

    How do I win a refund dispute? ›

    To win a chargeback dispute as a merchant, you must have evidence that is compelling enough to persuade the cardholder's bank to reevaluate the case. Depending on the reason for the chargeback, your evidence needs to prove you: verified the identity of the shopper. processed the transaction correctly.

    How do I get a refund from a dispute? ›

    How to request a chargeback. If asking the merchant for a refund didn't work, request a chargeback with your credit card issuer. Many card issuers let you dispute transactions by phone, mail or online. You may also be able to submit a dispute directly through your card issuer's mobile app.

    Why does the ATO call? ›

    Scammers pretending to be from the ATO are calling people and telling them they have a tax debt that they need to pay straight away. We will use phone, email and SMS to contact you. But we will never: send a pre-recorded message to your phone.

    What does ATO mean in customer service? ›

    Assemble-to-order (ATO) is a business production strategy where products that are ordered by customers are produced quickly and are customizable to a certain extent.

    Does ATO call from no caller ID? ›

    Phone calls from the real ATO will show as 'No caller ID' on your mobile phone. Hang up on anyone who says they are from the ATO and threatens to arrest you. You can phone us on 1800 008 540 to check if we needed to speak to you. Delete all pre-recorded messages saying they are from the ATO.

    How much super should I have at 40? ›

    See how your super measures up against your age group
    AgeMen ($)Women ($)
    30 - 34$78,546$56,943
    35 - 39$125,234$84,960
    40 - 44$173,159$115,896
    45 - 49$224,161$146,437
    6 more rows

    How do I link my Gov to ATO? ›

    Link your myGov account to the ATO
    1. Sign in to your myGov account.
    2. Select View and link services on the myGov home page.
    3. Under Link a service heading, select Link next to Australian Taxation Office.
    4. Select I agree to the terms and conditions of use.
    5. Enter or confirm your personal details.
    Dec 8, 2022


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