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Reducing errors when claiming business expenses

The ATO has identified particular areas relating to business expenses that are commonly entered incorrectly in tax returns. Owners should take the time to carefully review tax returns to ensure all information is correct.

Individuals who use a motor vehicle entirely for their business can claim a deduction for the whole amount. However, if they use the vehicle for a mix of business and private use, they will need to divide the expense amount and only claim the business portion.

Business expenses must be kept separate from an individual’s private expenses, such as personal rent, fines, travel, food and renovations of a private residence. Those who operate their small business as a company or trust need to be aware that paying private expenses from these accounts may have other tax implications such as fringe benefits tax and shareholder loans.

In the event a business is upgrading its accounting software, remember to check that business and private expense codes are correct. The business expenses must be claimed at the GST exclusive rate if they are registered for GST, not the GST inclusive rate.

Small businesses should note that falsely or incorrectly claiming expenses is not something the ATO takes lightly. Penalties can apply based on the extent of the misinformation.

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PAYG instalments for business and investment income

October 29, 2020

Pay as you go (PAYG) instalments are payments you can make throughout the year to avoid accumulating a large tax bill to pay at the end of the year. Making these payments is a great way to budget for income tax and keep a healthy cash flow.

To qualify for PAYG instalments, you must earn over a threshold amount from your business or investment income (also known as instalment income).

The amount that you pay in PAYG instalments throughout the year will be offset against any owed tax for the entire year. But it is important to lodge your activity statements and pay all PAYG instalments before lodgment of tax returns if you want these to be included in your tax assessment.

There are two options for calculating and paying PAYG instalments: