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  • Small business (sole trader) – Personal trainer running her own business ‘Fit for Life’

    Alice Farrell

    ‘It’s great to know that I can be good at my job and I don’t have to worry about things I don’t understand – like accounting. A lot has been automated and I still use my accountant when needed. This means I can focus on growing my new business.’

    I really wanted the flexibility to spend more time with my family and be in control of my income. I used to run group fitness classes at a gym and I really enjoyed it but I wanted to earn more money, so I decided it was time for me to start my own business.

    After completing my Certificate IV in fitness, I started my business "Fit for Life", offering one- on-one sessions for clients at their homes and also running group boot camps in local parks. As I’m establishing my client base, I still run group training sessions at the gym, so I have a regular income coming in from the gym plus the income directly from "Fit for Life."

    I learnt that by working for myself, I needed to look after my personal and business tax and make contributions to my existing super fund. I wasn’t 100% sure what I needed to do so I spoke to some friends already established as trainers at the gym who encouraged me to log onto my online profile.

    I logged on, answered a few questions and received all the information I needed to run my business. It was really easy and I even downloaded some tools to help me. One of these was an app that links to my calendar and reminds me when I need to provide information or pay tax. I also found a great business plan template and a checklist for new business in the fitness industry. I didn’t realise I needed to get public liability insurance.

    I found a list of recommended software packages to record everything for my business. I took this list to my tax agent George who suggested the best package for me and showed me how to use it too. It links to his software so he can provide me with advice when I need it. Having an agent makes it easy for me to manage my tax affairs, now that they are a little more complicated.

    I’m always on the go and rarely in an office, so I use my tablet to issue invoices to clients and collect payment from them. I can also take a photo on my phone to record work expenses which automatically uploads into my accounting software. This way I also have a soft copy of my receipts for when I claim deductions.

    I keep contributing to my existing super fund and it was easy to make regular contributions. After chatting to George, I feel comfortable I’m putting the right amount away to provide for my retirement. I know it’s a long way off, but I want to start to plan for this.

    Running my own business is awesome and managing it has been easier than I expected.

    What the ATO does

    • We have a single and secure entry to interact with government including business registrations and updating business details.
    • We have the appropriate understanding of other government obligations and are connected with other agencies.
    • We have access to data from third party sources, such as employers and banks, which allows us to pre-fill Alice’s return and keep an ongoing view of her tax position.
    • We have the ability to push relevant information to Alice and inform her employer of the changes to her tax rate if she elects that option.
    • A single government profile allows us to share the information we collect on Alice, so that she can be informed of her tax position at all times.
    • We use predictive analytics to ensure Alice is getting the information and support she needs, when she needs it, including about deductions and entitlements.
    • We receive and process information about Alice’s income, entitlements and deductions using analytics. This automatically adjusts her government obligations.

    How the ATO behaves

    • We collaborate across government to deliver the right information and outcomes.
    • We make it is easy as possible to get things right, and hard not to.
    • We understand and consider our clients' circumstances and offer prompt services tailored to their circumstances.
      Last modified: 19 Aug 2016QC 49929