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Helping small businesses be competitive

Last updated 2 July 2017

Small business benchmarks are a guide to help you compare your small business against similar businesses in your industry. They are updated with new information every year, and are available for over 100 industries.

Using information collected from the tax returns and activity statements of over 1.4 million small businesses across Australia, the benchmarks show industry averages of business income to business expenses.

Compare your business

The quickest and easiest way to see how your small business compares is by using the business performance check tool in the ATO app, which does the calculations for you:

  1. Download the ATO app from Google Play, the Windows Phone Store or the Apple App Store.
  2. Go to Business.
  3. Select Business performance check.
  4. Have the information you need ready and enter the figures into the tool.

The tool will calculate your business’ performance for you. Remember, the information you enter into the tool isn’t recorded and will only be used for completing the tool.

How small businesses will benefit

Seeing how your small business compares to the industry standard is a good way to check if your business is on track. If your business is within the benchmark range, you can generally be satisfied that you are doing just as well as your competitors.

If you’re outside the benchmark

There can a number of reasons why your business is outside the benchmark range. It may be due to particular circumstances, incorrect figures on your tax return, or your business may have potential areas for improvement.

The benchmarks are published as a range to recognise the variations that occur between businesses, for example, due to factors such as location and business circumstances.

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Example 1: Business above benchmark range for its industry

 Helping small businesses be competitive – Example 1

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Example 2: Business below benchmark range for its industry

 Helping small businesses be competitive – Example 2

End of example

If your business is significantly outside the key benchmark range for your industry, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have done anything wrong. But it does indicate something is unusual and we may contact you to find out more. You should check your records and ensure you can explain and support why you’re reporting outside the benchmarks for your industry.

How we use benchmarks

We use the benchmarks to protect honest businesses – it is one of the risk indicators we use to identify businesses that may be deliberately doing the wrong thing.

If a business does not meet their record keeping requirements, we may also use the benchmarks to determine how much tax they should have paid.

More information

For instructions, a checklist of what you need and more information in English, visit Small business benchmarks.

You can also contact a registered tax professional if you need more help.