ato logo

Your business income and taxes

Find out what you need to do to report to us when you run a business.

Last updated 25 November 2020

If you operate a business, you will need to pay income tax on money your business earns. You must lodge a tax return to report your taxable income or loss. The type of tax return form you use depends on your business structure.

If you're registered for other taxes, such as GST, fuel tax credits or PAYG withholding, you report these to us on a business activity statement.

If you need help, phone the Business tax infoline on 13 28 66.

Your tax return

Income tax is the tax you pay on any money your business earns. Each year, you need to lodge a tax return to tell us how much money your business has made and how much tax you've paid.

If you have set up your business as a sole trader or as a partnership, you will use your own tax return to report this money (see Tax for individuals – lodging your tax return). If you have set up your business as a company or trust, you use a different type of tax return just for your business.

If you’ve made a profit you will probably have to pay some tax. It's best to put money aside throughout the year to help pay for your tax.

See also:

Activity statements

Activity statements are different to tax returns. Businesses use an activity statement to report and pay other taxes, such as goods and services tax (GST) and pay as you go (PAYG).

If you're registered for GST, we will send you a business activity statement (BAS). We send most businesses their BAS every three months. If you run a small business, you may only have to do yours once a year.

You must lodge your activity statement on time even if you have no amounts to report for the period or you're having difficulty paying.

If you're not registered for GST, we will send you an instalment notice (instead of a BAS) in your first or second year of business.

See also:

Indigenous artists who live or work in isolated areas

Indigenous artists are not required to quote an Australian Business Number (ABN) if that artist works or lives in an isolated area, known as Special or Ordinary Zone A geographic regions. Also, tax will not be withheld from payments even though the artist hasn’t quoted an ABN.

Therefore, in these circumstances, if you:

  • are the Indigenous artist, you don't need to quote an ABN and will not have tax withheld
  • run a business and pay an Indigenous artist, you will not require an ABN to be quoted and will not withhold tax.

See also: