The Do’s and Don’ts of Small Business Tax

By February 9, 2017Blog

Tips on Small Business Tax

Small Business Tax can seem like a foreign language, especially when there are so many grey areas. That is why Chris Morris, our Business Development and Business Restructuring Specialist, has provided a general list of small business tax do’s and don’ts.

DO – Begin with the end in mind.

To determine the right structure for your business it is important to understand where you’re heading and what you’re ultimately wanting to achieve. Whilst it is often beneficial to act early in business, it can be extremely costly to charge like a bull if your bull is charging in the wrong direction. The right structure at the start can save many thousands of dollars in tax in the future. It is important to understand your end goals before you set out to achieve them.

DON’T – Fall into the trap of using cash provisions for operations and not replenishing them.

Amounts relating to superannuation, income tax and employee PAYG withholding are often used in a business’s day to day operations, and there is nothing wrong with this! Although, when it comes time to actually pay these amounts, Owners often find themselves in a position where they don’t have the funds available to make the payments. Over time, this can snowball to the point where there are many periods that need to be paid. Without payment, this can attract general interest charges and other penalties and create undue pressure on business cash flow.

DO – Forecast your business position into the future.

Tax is based on profit. Therefore, to predict your tax payable, you should have a detailed profit & lost forecast. This is then used to form a balance sheet forecast and subsequent cash flow forecast. These financial reports are important for understanding your future position as well as identifying any key issues before they eventuate. Unplanned payments can kill a business’s cash flow and significantly hinder growth. In addition to creating forecast reports, successful business is constantly revisiting and updating the reports as required.

DON’T – Be afraid to ask for help.

Successful business owners are constantly asking questions. They understand the need for collaboration and use specialist advisors regularly as a permanent fixture to their business.

DO – Ensure you’re taking advantage of tax concessions.

At Advivo we are fluent in tax and understand the workings of all small business tax concessions and Research & Development (R&D) tax concessions.  If you’re unsure of whether your activities constitute R&D, or whether it would be worthwhile registering your business for the R&D concessions, just give us a call as this could save you thousands of dollars in tax savings if applicable.

DON’T – Buy a motor vehicle to save on tax.

I often get asked if people should buy a new vehicle before 30 June to save on tax.  My answer is, “To save on tax? No.  Because it makes economic sense? Yes”. Purchasing a vehicle comes with many factors and include the following:

  • Do you need a new vehicle? Weigh up the pros and cons including the age of the current fleet and anticipated future outlays on the existing vehicle(s) vs. new vehicle(s).
  • What will be the effect on your cash flow? If you’re trading old for new, understand any additional cash outlays vs. cash savings associated with making the purchase.
  • How will you finance the purchase (chattel mortgage vs leasing)? Chattel mortgages and leases are very different in reality and the choice of which financing option is best for your business can depend on many factors including cash flow, upfront GST claims, the health of your balance sheet and others.
  • Which entity is best to purchase the new vehicle? Ensure you’re purchasing the vehicle in the correct entity.  Your trading entity may not be the correct entity so it’s important you understand your structure and the reasons for it.

DO – Let your business stand on its own two feet.

What do I mean by this? Don’t constantly support your business with personal savings if it isn’t working. Fix what isn’t working or make the tough decision to stop doing it. Likewise, your business isn’t your personal ATM. Keep your personal expenses separate. ‘Clean’ financial statements that aren’t polluted by personal expenses help sell your business for a lot more money. It also makes it easier for the business to obtain finance if it’s needed.

And finally…

Ultimately, everyone’s circumstances are different, and whilst there is no ‘one size that fits all’ approach, the above is applicable in most situations.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Chris Morris, or any of the ADVIVO team. Contact us now on 07 3226 1800 or use our contact form.

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