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ATO Small business tax-time toolkit

The ATO offers a range of tools and services to make it easier for you to get your tax and superannuation right. We want to help you manage and grow your business and get back on track if you need to. You can also speak with a registered tax or BAS agent for help.

Reporting JobKeeper payments

JobKeeper payments are taxable and need to be included in tax returns.

If you’re a sole trader who has received JobKeeper payments, you need to include the payments as business income in your individual tax return.

If your business is a partnership, trust or company, and your business received JobKeeper payments, you don’t need to include it as assessable income in your individual tax return, but you still need to report JobKeeper payments as either:

  • business income in your partnership or trust tax return
  • income in your company tax return.

Your accounting method will also affect the total JobKeeper payments that need to be included in your tax return. If your business operates on:

  • an accruals accounting basis
    • JobKeeper payments relating to valid business monthly declarations made on or before 30 June 2020 are included in your 2019–20 tax return
    • JobKeeper payments relating to valid business monthly declarations made on or after 1 July 2020 are included in your 2020–21 income tax return
  • cash accounting basis
    • JobKeeper payments you received on or before 30 June 2020 are included in your 2019–20 income tax return
    • JobKeeper payments received on or after 1 July 2020 are included in your 2020–21 income tax return.

If you have received a JobKeeper overpayment, you will need to repay the amount.

Depending on the circumstances, we may decide it does not have to be repaid (particularly if there was an honest mistake) and will let you know.

If you:

  • have repaid, or are repaying JobKeeper overpayments, you do not need to include the amount as assessable income in your income tax return. If you have already included the overpaid amount in your business income tax return in an earlier year, you will need to amend that earlier return to reduce your assessable income by the amount you have repaid.
  • don’t need to repay JobKeeper overpayments because we have waived it, you will still need to include the overpaid amounts as assessable income in your business income tax return.

Your employees won’t need to do anything different as the payments will be included as salary and wages, or an allowance, in the regular income statement or payment summary you provide as an employer.

Reporting cash flow boost credits

You don’t pay tax on cash flow boost credits, as they are non-assessable non-exempt income. How you report the amounts in your returns or financial statements is different depending on your business structure.

Cash flow boost credits do not need to be included in your tax return. However, if you have included the amounts in your gross income for accounting purposes, you can include it at:

  • item P8 business income and expenses as other business income and as an income subtraction reconciliation amount in the individual tax return for sole traders
  • item 5 as other business income and as an income subtraction reconciliation amount for partnership and trust tax returns
  • item 6R other gross income and item 7Q other income not included in assessable income for company tax returns.

Other government payments

If you’ve received an Australian, state or territory government grant or payment in response to recent natural disasters or COVID-19, you may need to include it in your assessable income.

Single Touch Payroll

With Single Touch Payroll (STP), you report employees’ payroll information to us each time you pay them through STP-enabled software.

STP started on 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees and 1 July 2019 for employers with 19 or fewer employees. If you haven’t started reporting through STP, you need to start as soon as possible.

Every year, employers must make an end-of-year finalisation declaration through STP. Generally, you need to make this declaration by 14 July each year. If you can’t make a finalisation declaration by the due date, you need to apply for a deferral.

You can finalise your data earlier if it’s ready. The sooner you finalise your employees’ information, the sooner they will be able to lodge their tax returns.

Reporting through STP means you no longer need to give your employees payment summaries or lodge an STP payment summary annual report with us.

Your employees can find the information they need in their income statement in ATO online services through myGov, or by contacting their tax agent.

JobMaker Hiring Credit

The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive for businesses to employ additional young job seekers aged 16–35 years.

Eligible employers can access the JobMaker Hiring Credit for each eligible additional employee they hire between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021.

Through the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme, eligible employers may receive payments of up to:

  • $200 per week for each eligible additional employee aged 16–29 years old inclusive
  • $100 per week for each eligible additional employee aged 30–35 years old inclusive.

All payments under the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme are assessable as ordinary income.

The normal deductions apply for amounts your business pays to employees if those amounts are subsidised by JobMaker Hiring Credits.

JobMaker Hiring Credits are:

  • not subject to GST
  • do not need to be included in your business activity statements (BAS).

Online services

Our online services help make it quick and easy to manage your tax and super:

  • ATO online services – sole traders can access this on any device to lodge their tax return, manage activity statements, PAYG instalments and accounts, make payment arrangements and more .
  • Online services for business – replacing the Business Portal, this new service allows you to prepare and lodge activity statements and annual reports, organise payment plans, manage accounts, and more, at a time that’s convenient to you
  • Business Portal – while you transition to Online services for business, the Business Portal will be available until it is decommissioned later in 2021.

ATO app – tax and super on the go

The ATO app gives you quick access to answers to frequently asked questions, handy tools and calculators, as well as:

  • Key dates – creates a list of due dates that you can save as reminders in your smartphone or tablet
  • Small business benchmarks – helps you compare your business’s performance against similar businesses in your industry
  • myDeductions – enables sole traders to track business income, expenses, and car trips – you can upload this information to pre-fill your tax return or email it to your tax agent at tax time (never miss out on claiming a deduction because of a lost or faded receipt again)
  • Voice authentication – enables sole traders to save their voiceprint for fast and secure identity confirmation over the phone.

Help to lodge and pay

It’s important to lodge on time, even if you can’t pay. This will give you certainty of your tax and super position, which means you’ll have a greater understanding of what you need to do, when to ask for help, and the support options available to you. If you forget a due date or are stressed that you won’t be able to lodge or pay on time, it’s never too late to ask for help.

We have options to help you if you’re having problems lodging or paying on time.

Tools to help you

Use our calculators and tools to help you run your business. These include:

Dealing with disasters

If you’re affected by COVID-19, or a natural disaster such as a bushfire, cyclone, flood, storm or drought, we can help you with your tax affairs so you can focus on your family and community.

Depending on your circumstances, we may:

  • give you extra time to pay your debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements
  • help you find your lost tax file number (TFN) after verifying your identity
  • re-issue tax returns, activity statements and notices of assessment
  • help you re-construct lost or damaged tax records
  • prioritise any refunds you are owed
  • set up a payment plan tailored to your individual circumstances, including an interest-free period
  • remit penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other languages

In addition to our range of tools and services, we have information:

  • on Tax for businesses – for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • in languages other than English (including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi and Vietnamese) to help people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds understand tax and super in Australia.

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