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  • Work out if you need to lodge a company tax return



    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

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    To work out whether your organisation needs to lodge a company tax return, you need to:

    • determine whether your organisation is a non-profit company or other taxable company
    • know your organisation's taxable threshold for lodgment
    • calculate your organisation's taxable income.

    Lodgment rules

    For income tax purposes, taxable non-profit organisations are treated as either:

    • non-profit companies, or
    • other taxable companies.

    A non-profit organisation does not need to be incorporated to be treated as a company for income tax purposes.

    Non-profit companies that are Australian residents have a taxable threshold. If the taxable income of an Australian non-profit company in an income year is below the threshold, it is not required to lodge a tax return for that year.

    The taxable threshold for the 2011-12 income year is $416 of taxable income.

    However, the ATO may notify a particular company that it is required to lodge a return.

    Other taxable companies are taxed on every dollar of taxable income. They must lodge a tax return each year.

    Non-profit companies and other taxable companies use the company tax return.

    Calculating taxable income

    Taxable income is calculated as the difference between an organisation's assessable income and allowable deductions.

    Taxable income = assessable income − allowable deductions

    The taxable income of a club, society or association is calculated in the same way as a company for tax purposes.

    One particular issue that affects many clubs, societies and associations is the taxation treatment of mutual dealings with members.

    As a result of the mutuality principle:

    • receipts derived from mutual dealings with members are not assessable income (these are called mutual receipts)
    • expenses incurred to get mutual receipts are not deductible.

    Mutual receipts are not subject to income tax because they are not assessable income - not because they are exempt income.

    Because of the mutuality principle, revenue and expenses of an organisation fall within one of three categories for income tax purposes.

    Revenue and expense categories













    The three categories are used in the following four steps to calculate an organisation's taxable income.

    Step 1: Classify revenue into non-assessable, assessable and apportionable.

    Step 2: Classify expenses into non-deductible, deductible and apportionable.

    Step 3: Separate the apportionable items by appropriate methods.

    Step 4: Calculate the taxable income.

    Lodging a company tax return

    If your organisation is a non-profit company that is an Australian resident and its taxable income is over $416 for the 2011–12 income year, it will need to lodge a company tax return.

    If your organisation is an 'other taxable company' and its taxable income is greater than $0 for the 2011–12 income year, it also needs to lodge a company tax return.

    Taxable income is rounded down to the nearest dollar, that is, cents are ignored.

      Last modified: 10 Feb 2017QC 26072