small business tax

How Much Tax Does a Small Business Pay in Australia?

Navigating the landscape of small business tax in Australia is a pivotal aspect of running a successful enterprise. The tax rates you are subject to can significantly influence your financial planning and overall business growth. For the 2023/2024 financial year, small businesses need to be acutely aware of the primary tax rates, which are set at 25% and 30%, depending on various eligibility criteria. These rates not only affect your bottom line but also determine how competitive you can be in the marketplace.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of small business taxation, guiding you through the different tax brackets and key taxes that are essential knowledge for any Australian small business owner. Whether you’re looking to optimize your tax payments or simply trying to stay compliant with Australian tax laws, understanding these components will serve as a foundation for your fiscal strategies.

To further support your financial planning, it’s worth noting that some regions like New South Wales (NSW) offer additional measures to assist small businesses. These measures, modeled off cash flow boost payments, provide significant support such as up to $10,000 per week for eligible businesses. Expanding your knowledge beyond taxes alone and acquiring key skills for a Modern CFO can also greatly benefit your business’s financial stability and growth potential.

Understanding Small Business Tax Rates in Australia (2023/2024)

Navigating the tax landscape is crucial for small business owners, especially when it comes to understanding applicable tax rates. In Australia, for the 2023/2024 financial year, small businesses face two primary tax rates: 25% and 30%. These rates play a significant role in financial planning and can influence a company’s bottom line.

Tax Rates at a Glance

  • 25%: This is the reduced rate for eligible small businesses, known as base rate entities.
  • 30%: The standard company tax rate applicable to all other businesses.

By comparing these two figures, you can immediately recognize the potential savings for qualifying small businesses. The 5% difference could be substantial when considering the overall taxable income of a business.

Eligibility for Lower Tax Rate

Determining whether your business qualifies for the lower 25% tax rate involves several criteria:

  • Annual Turnover: Your business must have an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million.
  • Passive Income: Less than 80% of your total income should be passive in nature, such as interest, dividends, or rent.

If your business meets these conditions, you could benefit from the reduced rate. It’s essential to accurately assess your eligibility to avoid any discrepancies when filing taxes.

Comprehensive Financial Management

Efficient handling of finances goes beyond just knowing tax rates; it requires comprehensive management of accounting and bookkeeping functions. Outsourcing these tasks can provide you with more time to focus on core business goals.

For insights into finding top-tier accounting and bookkeeping solutions, consider visiting iKeep Bookkeeping, which offers comprehensive outsourced accounting and bookkeeping solutions that can make business decisions easier.

Additionally, embracing modern financial practices like e-invoicing can streamline transactions and might even impact your tax processes positively. To understand how e-invoicing could benefit your small business and possibly affect its taxable income, take a look at Your Guide to e-invoicing by iKeep Bookkeeping.

The right knowledge and tools are indispensable for small businesses aiming to navigate the complexities of Australian tax rates effectively. Ensuring that you meet the eligibility criteria for reduced tax rates can make a significant difference in your fiscal planning and overall financial health.

Key Business Taxes Every Australian Small Business Owner Should Know

Understanding the landscape of key business taxes in Australia is essential for small business owners. Tax compliance not only ensures legal operations but can also provide financial benefits when managed effectively. Two primary tax rates are predominant: the standard company tax rate of 30% and a reduced rate of 25% for eligible small businesses.

1. Company Tax

The distinction between the two company tax rates is critical. Small businesses that qualify as base rate entities pay tax on their profits at a reduced rate of 25%. To be eligible, your business must have an annual turnover of less than $50 million, and passive income must comprise less than 80% of total assessable income. Conversely, companies that do not meet these criteria are subject to the full company tax rate of 30%. The difference in rates underscores the advantage that smaller, active businesses have in terms of tax savings.

For assistance with managing your books and understanding how these taxes affect your financial statements, professional bookkeeping services can be invaluable. Consider exploring iKeep Bookkeeping’s insights on hiring a bookkeeper.

2. Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital Gains Tax applies to the profit made from the sale of an asset. If you sell a business asset for more than you paid for it, you’ll have a capital gain which is taxable income. However, if your asset sells for less than its cost basis, you incur a capital loss which can offset future capital gains.

To illustrate, assume your business bought property for $200,000 and sold it later for $300,000; the $100,000 profit is subject to CGT. Small businesses may benefit from CGT concessions under specific conditions, which can significantly reduce or even eliminate CGT liability.

3. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST is a broad-based consumption tax set at a flat rate of 10%. It applies to most goods and services sold or consumed in Australia. Your business must register for GST if your annual turnover is $75,000 or more. The GST collected from customers needs to be remitted to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), but you’re entitled to claim credits for the GST included in the price of purchases for your business operations.

When setting prices for goods and services, including GST considerations is vital; pricing strategies directly impact profitability and cash flow. For deeper insights into aligning bookkeeping practices with GST requirements, iKeep Bookkeeping’s services may offer guidance on using Xero bookkeeping to streamline this process.

4. Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is a state-based tax assessed on wages paid by employers and varies across different regions in Australia. It’s imperative to understand that payroll tax thresholds and rates differ among states and territories; thus, they directly affect businesses with employees across multiple locations.

You calculate payroll tax by applying the relevant rate to your total wage bill once it exceeds the exemption threshold specific to each state or territory—rates range from ACT’s high of 6.85% down to NT’s lower rate of 5.5%. Businesses should stay informed about regional variances and potential exemptions when planning their payroll budgets.

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2. Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a significant tax that affects small businesses in Australia. Understanding and navigating CGT correctly is crucial as it applies to net capital gains from selling assets, which can have an impact on financial decisions and asset management strategies.

What is a capital gain?

A capital gain refers to the profit made when selling a business asset, such as property or shares, for more than its purchase price.

How does CGT work?

  • When you sell a business asset for more than the purchase price, you have a capital gain that is subject to CGT.
  • Conversely, if you sell an asset for less than its cost base, you have a capital loss that can be used to offset any gains made in the same financial year.

How to calculate CGT

Here’s a step-by-step guide on calculating CGT:

  • Calculate the sale price of the asset and deduct any associated costs like legal fees or commissions.
  • Subtract the cost base from the reduced sale price to determine your capital gain.
  • Apply discounts: If you’ve held the asset for over a year, you may be eligible for a discount – 50% if you are an individual or trust, or 33.33% if you are a superannuation fund.

Example calculation

To illustrate, let’s say you bought company shares for $20,000 and sold them for $30,000 two years later with $1,000 in associated costs:

($30,000 – $1,000) – $20,000 = $9,000

Your capital gain would be $9,000. With the 50% discount for holding the shares longer than one year:

$9,000 x 50% = $4,500

This discounted amount would then be added to your assessable income and taxed at your company tax rate.

Exclusions from CGT

It’s important to note that not all assets are subject to CGT. Some exclusions include:

  • Personal use assets
  • Your main residence

The value of professional bookkeeping services

To ensure compliance with CGT regulations and potentially reduce your taxable income through strategic asset management, it’s advisable to consider hiring professional bookkeeping services. They can provide valuable insights into optimizing your financial records and effectively managing tax obligations.

Discover the benefits of hiring a virtual bookkeeper for small businesses, including limiting overhead costs through outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping tasks.

Streamline your financial operations

Staying informed about CGT changes is crucial as legislation evolves and tax rates change annually. Exploring automation tools like payroll management services can streamline your financial operations and maintain accurate records for CGT calculations.

Learn how iKeep’s payroll management service offers expert solutions that ensure legal compliance and efficiency for businesses of any size in Melbourne.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Goods and Services Tax, commonly known as GST, is an important part of business taxes in Australia. It is a consumption tax that is applied to most goods and services sold or used in the country, with a fixed rate of 10%. Small businesses need to have a good grasp of GST in order to comply with regulations and maintain their financial well-being.

How GST Applies to Business Transactions

Here are some key points to understand about how GST impacts business transactions:

  • Registration: If your business has an annual turnover of $75,000 or more, you are required to register for GST. This includes not only sales but also other types of income such as lease payments or interest.
  • Invoicing: Once you are registered for GST, you must include the tax in the price of taxable sales and issue tax invoices for transactions over $82.50 (including GST).
  • Reporting: The amounts collected and paid for GST are reported through the Business Activity Statement (BAS), which is usually submitted on a quarterly basis.

Pricing Strategies with GST

When setting prices for your goods and services, it’s important to take into account the impact of GST. While the ultimate burden falls on the end consumer, as a business owner you must calculate the GST portion accurately to ensure proper pricing. Input tax credits play a crucial role here; they allow you to claim credits for the GST included in the cost of business purchases that directly relate to selling your own taxable goods and services. These credits help reduce the overall amount of GST that you have to pay to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Managing GST Obligations

By effectively managing your GST responsibilities, you can avoid common pitfalls that can negatively affect your cash flow. For example, hiring a knowledgeable bookkeeper can provide valuable guidance on these obligations and ensure that you are correctly tracking all eligible input tax credits. Understanding the benefits of professional bookkeeping can be extremely helpful in navigating this complex area.

“Having a skilled bookkeeper on your team can save you time, money, and headaches when it comes to managing GST and other financial aspects of your business.” – Benefits of Hiring a Bookkeeper for Your Business

Staying Updated with GST Changes

It’s important to always stay informed about any changes in GST legislation that may impact your business operations. The ATO regularly provides updates on any modifications to rates, thresholds, or reporting methods that could affect your compliance requirements.

Exploring Offshoring Options for Accounting Functions

For those considering outsourcing their accounting tasks, it can be helpful to understand the common misconceptions surrounding offshoring. This knowledge can empower you to make informed decisions about how to effectively manage tax-related responsibilities such as GST. Check out our blog post on dispelling myths around offshoring to gain a better understanding of this topic and discover potential solutions for handling complex tax matters like GST.

4. Payroll Tax

When you run a small business in Australia with employees, understanding payroll tax is crucial to ensure compliance with state and territory regulations. This key business tax is levied on the wages you pay to your workers, which means that it directly affects your financial planning and operational costs.

Payroll Tax Rates and Thresholds

Payroll tax rates and thresholds are not uniform across the country; they vary significantly by region. Here are some examples:

  • New South Wales: The rate is 5.45%, with a threshold of $1.2 million annually.
  • Victoria: Businesses face a rate of 4.85%, with the threshold set at $650,000 annually.
  • Queensland: The rate ranges from 4.75% to 4.95%, with different thresholds applying based on total wages.

How Payroll Tax is Calculated

The calculation method for payroll tax involves determining the total monthly wages paid, including salaries, superannuation contributions, and certain contractor payments, then applying the respective regional rate if your wages exceed the designated threshold. Due to regional variations, businesses operating across multiple states must be especially diligent in their calculations.

Managing Payroll Tax Complexity

If you’re seeking assistance or transparency throughout this process, consider reliable online bookkeeping services that can help manage payroll complexities efficiently. Services like iKeep Bookkeeping provide expertise in handling business bookkeeping requirements in Melbourne and across Australia.

Key Differences Between Payroll Tax and Company Tax

Remember, while company tax rates are set at 25% or 30% depending on your business size and income type, payroll tax depends on where your employees are located and how much you pay them. Staying informed about these taxes contributes significantly to your overall compliance strategy and helps avoid unexpected liabilities.

In the next section, we will delve into deductible expenses and concessions available to small businesses, which can potentially reduce taxable income and optimize tax outcomes.

Exploring Tax-Deductible Expenses and Concessions for Small Businesses

Tax-Deductible Expenses and Concessions


Understanding tax-deductible expenses is crucial as you navigate the complexities of small business taxation in Australia. These are costs incurred during the operation of your business that can be subtracted from your total income, effectively reducing your taxable income. By lowering taxable income, you not only decrease your tax liability but also improve cash flow and overall financial health of your business.

Here are some common examples of deductible expenses:

  • Office supplies and equipment: Items necessary for your day-to-day operations such as computers, printers, and office furniture.
  • Business travel: Costs associated with travel for business purposes, including transportation, accommodation, and meals.
  • Marketing and advertising: Expenditures on promoting your business through various media channels.
  • Utilities: Electricity, water, and internet services used in the business premises are claimable.
  • Wages and salaries: Payments to employees are deductible, provided they are not family members employed under non-commercial terms.

In addition to these expenses, specific concessions are designed to support small businesses. One of the most significant is the small business asset write-off scheme. This concession allows you to immediately deduct assets’ costs rather than depreciating them over several years. It’s an opportunity that facilitates immediate reinvestment in your business while reducing your tax bill.

To fully leverage these tax deductions and concessions, meticulous record-keeping is a must. Services like iKeep Bookkeeping ensure that all transactions are accurately recorded, easing the process come tax time.

While these deductions can significantly impact your bottom line, it’s essential to stay within the ATO’s guidelines—deductions must be directly related to earning income and substantiated by clear records and receipts.

For personalized guidance on managing financial record keeping or understanding complex deductions and concessions relevant to your small business situation, consider reaching out to industry experts like iKeep Bookkeeping.

By staying informed about tax allowances and seeking professional advice when needed, you position your business well for financial success.

The Impact of State-Specific Factors on Small Business Taxation

Taxation for small businesses in Australia is not only governed by federal laws but is also significantly influenced by state-specific factors. Understanding these regional distinctions is critical as they can affect your business’s bottom line. While federal taxes such as company tax, GST, and CGT are standardized across the country, state taxes like payroll tax vary and are subject to different rates and thresholds.

A Closer Look at Tasmania Tax Rates and Thresholds

In Tasmania, the tax structure for businesses hinges on the amount of Australian taxable wages paid. The payroll tax rates are tiered:

  • 4% for businesses with annual taxable wages between $1.25 million and $2 million
  • 6.1% for those with taxable wages exceeding $2 million

This progressive system means that as your business grows and crosses these wage thresholds, the rate of payroll tax increases accordingly. It’s essential to monitor your wage expenditure not only to manage payroll effectively but also to prepare for the associated tax liabilities.

For small businesses in Tasmania, it’s beneficial to understand how these specific tax rates might impact strategic decisions—such as hiring new employees or increasing salaries—and their timing. For example, if your business is approaching the higher threshold towards the end of a financial year, it could be advantageous to defer certain wage-related expenses to the next period.

Understanding Western Australia Tax Rates and Thresholds

Shifting focus to Western Australia (WA), we encounter a different set of parameters. Here, small businesses face a flat payroll tax rate of 5.5%, which applies once you exceed an annual Australian taxable wage bill of $1 million. However, there is an important distinction for larger wage bases:

  • The same rate of 5.5% continues up to an annual wage amount of $7.5 million.
  • Beyond this threshold, other factors may come into play affecting the overall taxation.

Businesses operating in WA must diligently track their wage expenses throughout the year to ensure they remain compliant with state taxation laws while seeking opportunities to optimize their tax position.

As with any aspect of business operations, embracing modern solutions can offer newfound efficiencies in managing such complexities. Resources discussing The Impact of Modern Bookkeeping—including automating back-office tasks with tools like Xero and QBO—highlight how technology can streamline financial management.

For small businesses across Australia, especially those operating in Tasmania and Western Australia, staying abreast of changes in state-specific tax rates and thresholds is crucial. With tailored bookkeeping services such as those offered by iKeep Bookkeeping, small businesses can ensure they are not only meeting their compliance requirements but also leveraging financial data for strategic decision-making.

Arming yourself with comprehensive knowledge about state-specific taxation helps safeguard your business against unexpected liabilities and positions you for sustainable growth within your regional economic landscape.

In addition to understanding tax regulations, there are other key factors that contribute to small business success. For instance, following 5 Principles for Financial Success can provide valuable insights as these principles are shared by all successful businesses. Moreover, it’s essential to discern the difference between bookkeepers and registered BAS agents as it can

Understanding Western Australia Tax Rates and Thresholds

When you operate a business in Western Australia, you must navigate through the state-specific tax rates and thresholds that directly impact your financial planning. Western Australia’s tax system is designed with a progressive structure, which means the rates increase as your annual Australian taxable wages grow.

For businesses with annual taxable wages exceeding $1 million but less than $7.5 million, the payroll tax rate is set at 5.5%. This rate remains consistent for businesses with wages between $7.5 million and $100 million. It’s important to note these percentages reflect the state’s commitment to ensuring larger enterprises contribute a fair share towards state revenue.

Western Australia Payroll Tax Rates:

  • 5.5% for taxable wages over $1M and up to $7.5M
  • 5.5% for taxable wages over $7.5M and up to $100M

Just like Tasmania, where tax rates range from 4% to 6.1%, Western Australia showcases how various states or territories may implement their own variations in tax policies, including both rates and thresholds, catering to the unique economic landscapes within their regions.

While managing your business finances during challenging times, such as a lockdown, you might seek ways to improve cash flow and reduce expenses. In this context, understanding the intricacies of your state’s tax obligations becomes even more crucial.

If you are keen on diving deeper into financial strategies that could benefit your business during unforeseen events like lockdowns, you may find our article on 8 Tips for COVID Lockdown helpful—it provides insight into additional support measures for businesses.

For those who want a granular understanding of financial record-keeping which plays a pivotal role in accurate tax reporting and compliance, learning about bookkeeping can be greatly beneficial. You may find valuable information on bookkeeping essentials here.

By staying informed about these regional taxation differences, you can better strategize for fiscal responsibilities and ensure compliance with local laws—key components in maintaining the financial health of your small business in Western Australia.

Considering the Option of Outsourcing Tax Functions for Small Businesses

When small business owners face the complexities of tax management, they often look towards outsourcing tax functions as a strategic approach. Engaging professional accountants has several compelling advantages:

1. Expertise and Accuracy

Firms like D&V Philippines specialize in financial services, offering a level of expertise that ensures compliance with tax laws and regulations. Their seasoned accountants are adept at navigating the intricate tax environment in Australia, mitigating risks associated with reporting errors.

2. Time-Saving

Outsourcing frees up valuable time for business owners. Instead of delving into the nuanced world of taxes, entrepreneurs can focus on core business activities that drive growth and profitability.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

It might seem counterintuitive, but hiring external experts can be more cost-effective than managing tax functions in-house. By eliminating the need for dedicated staff and ongoing training, businesses can optimize their financial resources.

4. Adaptability

Professional accounting firms offer scalable solutions that adapt to the changing needs of your business, whether you’re expanding operations or adjusting to new tax legislation.

5. Technological Edge

With access to state-of-the-art software and tools, firms like D&V Philippines provide efficient and reliable financial reporting.

It’s essential for small business owners to stay informed about tax management while also considering the benefits of seeking expert advice. By outsourcing tax functions to reputable firms, one can ensure that their financial obligations are handled proficiently, affording peace of mind and allowing them to concentrate on their core mission.

For those concerned about privacy when engaging third-party services, it’s important to partner with firms that prioritize client confidentiality. Entities like iKeep Bookkeeping understand the importance of secure information handling, which is paramount when outsourcing sensitive tasks like tax functions.

Additionally, small businesses can further enhance their operations by learning from the experiences of successful entrepreneurs. Richard Bell’s story provides valuable insights on setting up for success, offering practical advice that can be applied to various business scenarios.

By choosing outsourcing as an avenue for managing taxes, small businesses position themselves advantageously in a competitive market where efficiency and compliance are non-negotiables.


Navigating small business tax in Australia requires continuous learning and strategic planning to ensure compliance while mitigating financial pressures. As you’ve seen throughout this article, understanding the nuances of various taxes—company tax, CGT, GST, and payroll tax—is vital for small business owners.

Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Stay Informed: Remain proactive about the latest tax rates, deductions, and concessions.
  • Strategize: Utilize allowable deductions and concessions to lower tax liabilities.
  • Expert Consultation: Engage with professional advisors who can provide personalized guidance tailored to your business needs.

Remember, effective tax management is not just about meeting legal obligations; it’s a crucial factor in the financial health of your small business in Australia. With careful attention to detail and a willingness to seek expert advice when necessary, you can navigate the tax landscape successfully.



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