Guide to end of financial year for sole traders
Get familiar with common sole trader tax deductions and make the most of tax time.
End of financial year is an important time for your small business. With some preparation and planning, you can make tax time work for you – not against you.
Here we’ll walk you through what you can do to get prepared for tax time, and help you think about what business expenses you may be able to claim.
As a sole trader, the first thing you’ll need to do is get your financials in order.
You’ll need a record of your business financials for the year, which usually comprises of a balance sheet and profit and loss statement.
A balance sheet is a statement of your financial position for the year. It outlines your assets (stock, cash, money owed to you) and liabilities (loans, money you owe). It also shows your net assets or equity.
A profit and loss (P&L) tells you how much money your business made over a period of time. It lists your income and expenses. Subtracting your total income from total expenses allows you to calculate your profit.
As a sole trader, you may not have made PAYG payments throughout the year. Depending on your business income, you may be faced with a big tax bill to pay at the end of financial year. It may be difficult to estimate your tax costs but try to put an amount of money aside on a regular basis throughout the year in preparation for tax time.
This is one of the most important things you can do as a sole trader to ensure your cashflow isn’t affected when it comes to tax time.
You can generally claim a deduction for most expenses you have to keep your business running. It’s important to keep a record of your business expenses by keeping receipts you’ve accumulated throughout the financial year.
Some examples of tax deductions include:
Find out what you may be able to deduct on the ATO website.
If you operate some or all of your business from your home, you may be able to claim tax deductions for some home-based business expenses, such as:
The expenses of motor vehicle trips for business purposes are generally tax deductible. This usually means travel between business locations. You may also be able to claim depreciation on the vehicle for the loss of value and wear and tear on the vehicle.
Similar to tax deductions for vehicle use for business purposes, you may also be able to claim depreciation on the loss of value and wear and tear on equipment used in your business.
Depreciation deductions may be claimed on most asset types as long as it’s used for your business, including:
You can also claim the cost of repairs and insurance cover on your tools and equipment and any interest on money you borrowed to buy these items.
Find out more about equipment tax deductions on the ATO website.
Start to consider whether you’ll need new equipment in the coming year, or if existing equipment needs to be repaired or replaced. Depending on your purchase, eligible vehicles or equipment may also provide immediate tax deductions.
Under recent changes introduced by the government, eligible businesses can claim an immediate deduction for the business portion of the cost of an asset in the year the asset is first used or installed ready for use - subject to certain conditions. Find out more about instant asset write-off and temporary full expensing.
Help your business get equipped for the year ahead with a business vehicle or equipment loan. Don't forget to consider what monthly repayments your business can afford. Equipment financing can also be helpful when you don't want to tie up your working capital.
Yes, sole traders may be eligible to claim the instant asset write-off, provided they qualify as an eligible business.
Find out more about eligibility, requirements and exclusions on the ATO website.
A simple plan can remove a lot of the stress associated with tax time – and it can also make you feel empowered to take control of your taxes.
By following these steps and getting prepared for tax time early, you’ll be on the right track when it comes to end of financial year, so you’ll have more time to spend on running your business.
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.
The taxation position described is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current tax laws and their interpretation. Customers must seek their own independent tax advice in relation to their individual circumstances.