The ATO as released updated benchmark data to ‘help small businesses across the country….. gauge the strength of their business and keep an eye on their competition”.

The benchmarks also help the ATO identify small businesses that may be doing the wrong thing and not properly reporting some or all of their income.

“Think of the benchmarks like the red and yellow flags on the beach.  If you stay between the flags, you’ll be less likely to attract our attention,” said the Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt.

Updated benchmark data for more than 100 industries is now available for the following categories:

  • Accommodation and food;
  • Building and construction trade services;
  • Education , training, recreation and support services;
  • Health care and personal services;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Automotive electrical services;
  • Machinery and equipment repair and maintenance;
  • Architectural services;
  • Veterinary services;
  • Retail trade; and
  • Transport, postal and warehousing.

“If you use a registered tax professional, it’s also a good idea to have a chat with them about where your business sits in comparison with our benchmarks.  They might have some advice about steps you can take to improve your performance.  We also encourage tax professionals to use the benchmarks to initiate conversations with their small business clients.”

Benchmark data is drawn from over 1.5 million small businesses around the country, which ensures businesses can confidently calculate the benchmark ranges for their industry.

“Businesses operating outside the benchmarks may trigger a red flag for businesses we suspect could be engaging in the black economy,” Mr Holt said.

“A frequent red flag is a business reporting minimal profit while the business owner seems to be maintaining a lifestyle far exceeding their personal income.”

The benchmarks are one of the tools the ATO is using to crack down on the black economy along with data matching and referrals from the community.

Ref: ATO media release, 5 March 2019

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