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Demystifying Small Business Taxes: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know in 2023

As a small business owner, navigating the complex world of taxes can be daunting. But fear not! By understanding the fundamentals of small business taxes and staying informed about changes and available resources, you can seize opportunities to maximise deductions and minimise liabilities.

This comprehensive guide, “Demystifying Small Business Taxes: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know,” will empower you to conquer the intricacies of income tax, capital gains tax, goods and services tax, and payroll tax, positioning your business for long-term success.

Key Takeaways

  • This article provides an overview of the key small business taxes in Australia and their associated obligations.
  • By claiming tax-deductible expenses and utilising tax concessions, small businesses can reduce their taxable income.
  • Staying informed of current ATO resources and legislative changes is essential for small businesses to remain compliant with taxation laws.

Understanding Key Small Business Taxes

Understanding the key small business taxes in Australia is the foundation of a successful tax strategy. These taxes encompass:

  1. Income tax
  2. Capital gains tax
  3. Goods and services tax
  4. Payroll tax

These taxes vary depending on factors such as profits, assets, and employee wages.

We will now examine each of these taxes more closely to assist you in staying on top of your tax obligations.

Income Tax for Small Businesses

Income tax for small businesses is based on the company’s taxable income, which includes all assessable income minus allowable deductions. The rate at which your business pays income tax depends on its type and size, with the full company tax rate ranging between 26% and 30%. For example, sole traders are taxed as part of their personal income, with a tax-free threshold of $18,200.

Businesses can also reduce their taxable income by taking advantage of income tax concessions. Base rate entities are eligible for the lower company tax rate from the 2017/2018 income year onwards. To be classified as a base rate entity, certain conditions must be met.

Bear in mind that various tax rates apply to different income types like capital gains and passive income. Hence, a firm grasp of income tax intricacies allows small businesses to make informed decisions about their tax obligations and when to pay tax.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a tax imposed on the profits gained from the sale of assets, such as property or shares. The CGT rates are similar to income tax rates, but with some key differences. The discount method is not usually employed by companies when computing capital gains. However, it may be applicable to certain capital gains made by life insurance companies. Certain assets, like a primary residence, may be exempt from CGT.

For small business owners, understanding the CGT discount method, applicable if the asset has been held for at least 12 months, proves invaluable. This approach can help reduce the tax paid on capital gains, and knowing when and how to utilize it can lead to significant savings in the long run.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a 10% tax applied on consumer goods and services, affecting both businesses and consumers. The government sets the GST rate at 10%. Businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million may be eligible for GST concessions, which can help minimize their tax burden.

Keeping abreast of GST rates and concessions is vital for small business owners because they directly influence the business’s cash flow and overall tax liability. Grasping the eligibility criteria for GST concessions and their applicability to your business can significantly impact your bottom line.

Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is a tax imposed by each state and territory on businesses whose total wages exceed the relevant threshold per state or territory. Payroll tax rates in Australia are determined by the region and total wages paid each month, which means that rates can vary depending on your business’s location.

Beyond payroll tax, employers are required to adhere to the PAYG withholding system, mandating income tax withholding from an employee or contractor’s wages. Staying current with payroll tax rates and thresholds, and comprehending your PAYG withholding duties, is crucial for small business owners to maintain compliance and healthy cash flow. To ensure smooth operations, it’s essential to pay payroll tax on time.

Reducing Your Small Business’s Taxable Income

Claiming tax-deductible expenses and taking advantage of tax concessions are the most effective strategies for reducing your small business’s taxable income.

We will now examine some common tax-deductible expenses and tax concessions, which can aid in minimising your tax liability and boosting your business’s profitability.

Tax-Deductible Expenses

Tax-deductible expenses are costs incurred in running your business that you can claim as deductions on your tax return. Examples of tax-deductible expenses include:

  • Home office expenses
  • Vehicle and travel expenses
  • Clothing and laundry expenses
  • Education expenses
  • Other work-related expenses

Understanding the different tax-deductible expenses your business can claim is fundamental in reducing its taxable income. By diligently recording and documenting these expenses, you can ensure that your business fully leverages available deductions and reduces its tax liability.

Tax Concessions and Incentives

Tax concessions and incentives are special provisions in the tax code that provide benefits or relief to certain individuals or businesses, encouraging specific activities or industries. Eligible businesses can take advantage of the temporary full expensing scheme. This scheme allows businesses to deduct the business portion of the cost of eligible depreciating assets first held and used, or installed ready for use between 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2023..

Keeping updated about tax concessions and incentives is crucial for small businesses seeking to lower their tax liability. By understanding how these provisions impact your business and claiming them on your tax return, you can significantly reduce your taxable income and enhance your business’s profitability.

Navigating Tax Obligations and Reporting

Navigating tax obligations and reporting can be complex, but maintaining accurate records for tax purposes, understanding reporting requirements, and seeking professional advice when needed can help your small business stay on top of its tax affairs.

We will now examine the significance of record keeping and reporting, along with the advantages of seeking professional advice.

Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements

Record keeping and reporting requirements for small businesses include retaining original documents for at least five years and ensuring electronic records are easily accessible. This is essential for accurately filing taxes and staying compliant with tax laws.

In addition to income tax returns, small businesses must also meet payroll reporting requirements, such as submitting payroll information directly to the ATO.

Keeping precise records and comprehending your reporting obligations are key elements of managing your small business’s tax matters. By maintaining a systematic method for monitoring income and expenses, you can ensure your business’s compliance with tax laws and evade potential legal and financial problems.

Seeking Professional Advice

Seeking professional advice from a tax accountant can help small businesses in the following ways:

  • Maximise deductions and credits
  • Ensure compliance with tax laws
  • Receive personalised guidance and expertise tailored to your business’s unique needs
  • Navigate the complexities of tax obligations and reporting requirements
  • A competent professional can provide the necessary assistance to help your business thrive.

Collaborating with a proficient business consultant or accountant can provide valuable insights into your tax matters, identify deductions and credits, and ensure adherence to tax laws. Additionally, networking with fellow small business owners and participating in industry associations can offer useful insights and recommendations for finding trustworthy professionals in your locality.

Superannuation Guarantee and Employee Benefits

Superannuation guarantee and employee benefits are essential aspects of small business tax obligations. As an employer, you are required to contribute to your employees’ superannuation funds and comply with SuperStream requirements.

We will now examine the superannuation guarantee rates alongside the recent changes in employee eligibility.

Superannuation Guarantee Rates

Superannuation guarantee rates have increased to 11% as of 1 July 2023, requiring businesses to update their payroll and accounting systems accordingly.

Small businesses need to be cognisant of this rate increase, given its direct impact on their tax obligations and overall employee benefits.

Employee Eligibility and SuperStream

Employee eligibility for superannuation guarantee contributions has expanded with the removal of the $450 per month threshold and changes to eligibility for workers under 18 years old. Employers are obligated to pay superannuation to workers aged under 18 who work more than 30 hours a week. This is a new requirement for businesses to adhere to..

SuperStream is an electronic system mandated by the Australian Taxation Office for employers to make superannuation guarantee contributions to super funds. Complying with SuperStream regulations is vital for small businesses, as it streamlines the process and makes superannuation payments more efficient.

Staying Updated with Tax Changes and ATO Resources

Staying updated with tax changes and ATO resources is crucial for small businesses to remain compliant and take advantage of available support.

We will now discuss the ATO Small Business Newsroom and resources, along with the significance of staying updated with legislative changes.

ATO Small Business Newsroom and Resources

The ATO Small Business Newsroom and resources provide valuable information, tools, and learning resources to help businesses navigate tax and superannuation obligations. The newsroom offers:

  • News articles
  • Fact sheets
  • Webinars
  • Other educational resources

These resources assist small business owners in staying informed and compliant with their tax obligations.

Frequent visits to the ATO Small Business Newsroom and utilising the provided resources will help you stay current with the latest tax and superannuation regulations, and offer guidance on obligation compliance. Taking the time to educate yourself and stay informed can safeguard your business from potential legal and financial issues down the line.

Keeping Up with Legislative Changes

Keeping up with legislative changes, such as the lodgment penalty amnesty program and superannuation guarantee rate increases, is essential for small businesses to remain informed and compliant. The lodgement penalty amnesty program, for example, provides small businesses with remitted failure to lodge (FTL) penalties for eligible lodgments.

For small business owners, it’s paramount to stay updated on legislative changes that could affect their tax obligations and to utilise available support. Regular visits to the ATO website and subscribing to their news updates can help ensure your business remains compliant and adapts to the constantly evolving tax environment.



Navigating the complexities of small business taxes can be challenging, but with a solid understanding of the key taxes, available deductions, and concessions, as well as staying updated with tax changes and ATO resources, your business can thrive. By diligently managing your tax obligations and seeking professional advice when needed, you can minimise your tax liability, maximise profitability, and secure the long-term success of your small business.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of your taxes or need assistance with financial tax planning, consulting tax advisors at Sleek will save you time, money, and potential headaches. At Sleek, we provide accounting services to aid you with an efficient and seamless tax process.


As a sole trader, you are taxed as part of your personal income and will pay 30% on every dollar earned by the company.

For those with an ABN, the requirement to file an annual income tax return is in place regardless of business profitability or the tax-free threshold. Any income earned must be declared, and tax can be assessed based on a combined income over $18,200. The tax-free threshold is usually claimed on the first $18,200 of income earned in the year.

The key small business taxes in Australia are income tax, capital gains tax, goods and services tax, and payroll tax.

Small businesses can reduce their taxable income by claiming tax-deductible expenses, taking advantage of tax concessions and incentives, and optimizing their accounting methods.

Tax-deductible expenses for small businesses may include home office, vehicle and travel, clothing and laundry, and education expenses.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and may not be specifically relevant to everyone’s personal situation. It should not be considered financial advice or a substitute for professional tax or accounting advice. Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and laws can vary. For tailored advice, please consult a qualified professional. Contact Sleek for further information on how we can help you.

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