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Tax-time tips to prepare for a downturn

Like many businesses in our current environment, you may be expecting a downturn in your turnover for the next financial year. We’ve put together some tips on how to prepare from a tax perspective.

From staffing challenges and supplier constraints to customer behaviours and global events, there are many reasons your business might be preparing for a quieter financial year. Here are some things you might be able to do now in terms of your tax planning to get ready for the year ahead.

If your business has been impacted by an emergency event or disaster, call the ATO’s emergency support line 1800 806 218 or visit their website.

Take control of your planning

If you’ve taken a look at your expected taxable income (that’s the assessable income for your business minus any allowable deductions) for this current financial year (2021-22) and created projections for your likely taxable income for next financial year (2022-23), that’s a great start. By knowing a downturn in your income could be likely, you can take control of your tax planning now.

Speak to your accountant

If you don’t already use the services of a certified accountant, now could be the perfect time to work with one. Take a look at our Choosing an accountant information guide to help you make the right decision about your support network.

Your accountant can help you with tax planning strategies you might not have considered, such as taking advantage of depreciation measures. For example, they might help you explore what’s known as temporary full expensing, which allows you to immediately deduct the business portion of the cost of eligible depreciating assets that are first held and first used (or installed ready for use) for a taxable purpose between 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2022.

Review your cashflow

Depending on your situation, there could be some tax advantages to prepaying some of your 2021-22 expenses in the current financial year. This could include expenses such as your rent, insurance or subscriptions to professional associations. Speak to your accountant for advice, as you may be eligible to deduct up to 12 months of the following year’s expenses in the current tax year.

You might also be able to take a look at your invoicing and shift some of it to next financial year, rather than account for that income in this financial year. Always check with your accountant to make sure this is an appropriate strategy for your business.

If your business makes a loss, you may be able to claim a deduction for it in a future year, offset it as a current year loss or carry back your tax loss. Find out more about business losses.

Consider other income

If your business received government income such as JobKeeper payments or any COVID-19 stimulus payments, remember that you will need to include them as assessable income in your business income tax return.

You may be eligible to apply for a range of small business grants or payments to help support your cashflow. For example, there may be stimulus payments available or the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program if you have apprenticeships in your business. Remember to speak to your accountant about whether these would need to be included as assessable income for your business.

Learn about your deductions

If your business is new, ask your accountant about whether you could be eligible to deduct any start-up expenses such as obtaining legal or accounting advice on your business structure, or set-fees such as your ASIC company registration fee.

Even if you have been in business for some time, you might be surprised at some of the items you can and can’t deduct for your business.

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