If you run a small business, there are a lot of dates to keep in your head when it comes to keeping up with your obligations to the Australian Tax Office. To make your life a little easier, we've prepared a calendar of key dates for the 2016-17 financial year when it comes to Aussie small business tax time.
Any business in Australia has plenty of things to stay on top of when it comes to tax and government filings: business activity statements, fringe benefits tax returns if you have employees that use these benefits, GST returns, payroll tax returns, and superannuation. It all kicks off in July and continues on until the next July, especially if you're tardy with your paperwork.
It can be hard to keep on top of all the various tax breaks and incentives small and medium businesses are eligible for. There are a lot of them. Here are a few other tax breaks and incentives your business might benefit from.
If you're running a business and managing most or all of your tax affairs yourself rather than using a registered tax agent, the ATO's website is the place to go for a comprehensive run down of all the dates in each month and throughout the year you'll need to have some contact with the tax office.
One note: we've included all the relevant dates for quarterly filings of activity statements, rather than monthly ones as well. If you're filing monthly — and who wants all that headache? — the ATO's website is the place to go.
Last year, under Treasurer Scott Morrison's 10-year corporate tax reduction plan, the small business tax rate dropped from 28.5% to 27.5%. Starting on July 1st 2017, the definition of "small business" eligible for the cut will be expanded from $2 million maximum annual turnover to $10 million. The $20,000 small business asset write-off has also been extended to the $10 million bracket.
If you're a small business owner, the 2017 Federal Budget has one very useful inclusion for you. the continuation of a $20,000 instant asset write-off for equipment expenses.
In July, you'll also have to deal with your employees' personal PAYG income tax returns — sending those off to your employees by 14 July at the latest. 21 July is the date that your paper Q4 2016-17 business activity statements are due in, and 28 July is that deadline for quarterly PAYG and GST paperwork.
That last date, too, is when you'll have to have made Q4 quarterly superannuation guarantee payments to your employees' accounts. If you don't do this by 28 July, you'll have to pay a super guarantee charge.
In August, you'll have to have your Q4 quarterly BAS in to the ATO on 11 August if you're lodging electronically, giving you some extra time over the paper equivalent. You need to have this in so you can get the right amount back on your income tax return later.
14 August is the go-to date for an annual PAYG witholding summary for your employees, which helps the tax office calculate how much tax your employees have been paying to the ATO already and determines whether they've paid enough personal income tax to qualify for a tax return after their deductions.
Work in construction? Businesses in the building and construction industry need to complete a Taxable payments annual report by 28 August.
Also: Fuel tax credit rates are indexed in February and August in line with the consumer price index. Visit the ATO fuel tax calculator.
Unless you do your Business Activity Statement monthly, nothing interesting happens for any quarterly submissions in September. Use this time to get your paperwork ready in advance of the months ahead. Now's the right time to organise your business's income tax affairs for the end of October.
On 28 October, your Q1 2017-18 business activity statement is due if you're filing paper quarterly, as well as Q1's super for your employees. Getting the current year's tax affairs in order early gives you a massive head start and avoids any late payment fees while you're playing catch-up later.
And here's the big one: 31 October is your deadline for filing your small business's 2016-17 income tax return if you're a sole trader (individual), or whether you operate a partnership or trust. If you didn't do your last year's business income tax on time, either, this is the threshold for another year's late fees and tax on those payments. It's also when your GST filings are due if you do them annually.
Don't be late: If you file your small business tax after October 31 this year, you may be liable to pay a late lodgment penalty to the ATO which varies between $180 and $900. In addition to that, if you have a tax liability calculated as part of your tax return and you're late in paying it, you'll be charged 9.01% interest on that payment from its due date for the 2016-2017 tax calendar year.
One caveat: If you generally lodge your small business tax return through a registered tax agent, they'll be the one to tell you specifically when you'll need to have all your paperwork in order and ready to go. Rely on them for information rather than making a best guess through the ATO's website — that's what you're paying them for.
In November onwards, it's all about the 2017-18 financial year and beyond. You'll be submitting your Q1 quarterly activity statements electronically on 11 November, for example.
With that, your obligations for the 2016-17 financial year to the Australian Tax Office end — as long as you've paid on time and submitted all your documentation correctly.