10 Essential Tasks for Small Business at End of Financial Year (EOFY)

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, it's time for small business owners to complete bookkeeping, tax returns for 2014-15 and begin planning for 2015-16.

Putting the hard work in now can help you get your business organised and work smarter in the year ahead.

We have put together 10 essential tasks for your end of financial (EOFY) year to-do list.

1. Record keeping and compliance

Some of your yearly responsibilities as a small business owner may include:

*Summarising income and expenses in a profit and loss statement.

*Conducting a stocktake.

*Summarising your record of debtors and creditors.

*Collating records of asset purchases or expenditure on improvements to assets to calculate depreciation

expense claims and for capital gains tax purposes.

*Completing and lodge your income tax return.

*Lodging yearly reports or returns for PAYG withholding, fringe benefits tax (FBT), Goods and Services Tax (GST), and the taxable payments reporting system.

*Meeting SuperStream requirements.

If you are unsure about your obligations, visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website or call the ATO on 13 28 66.

2. Find out what tax deductions you can claim

Be sure to do your homework and know exactly what tax deductions you can claim. You may be able to claim deductions if your business:

*has set up a website

*has motor vehicle expenses

*uses diesel fuel

*is based at home

*has travel expenses

*uses machinery, tools or computers.

The Government proposed changes to asset deductions as part of the Small Business and Jobs Package in the 2015-16 Budget.

Once enacted by parliament , you'll be able to immediately depreciate any eligible asset costing less than $20,000 which you buy from 7.30pm on 12 May 2015 until 30 June 2017. This means you'll be able to deduct the assets in the financial year in which you first use or install the asset.

3. Use a registered tax agent

Ensure your tax agent is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) . There's no protection for taxpayers who use unregistered tax or Business Activity Statement (BAS) agents .

4. Keep up to date with tax changes starting next financial year

The Government announced a range of other measures and changes as part of the Small Business and Jobs Package that you should keep up to date on. Many of them start next financial year, including:

*Tax breaks for small businesses that apply from 1 July 2015.

*Immediate deductions for professional services for costs relating to start a business. This change applies from the 2015-16 income year.

*Changes to FBT and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) to reduce red tape for small business. These changes apply from 1 July 2016.

5. Be wary of tax refund scams

There are a number of scams that target small business around tax time. Common tax time scams include:

*Tax refund scams where the scammer will claim you have overpaid your taxes and are entitled to a refund. However, in order for you to receive this refund, they will claim that you need to pay a fee for administration or transfer costs.

*Tax owed scams where the scammer will claim that you've underpaid your tax and will need to repay the amount you owe immediately. In order to make this payment, they may request your credit card or debit card details, or ask you to send money through a money transfer.

6. Review your finances

Sit down with your accountant or bookkeeper and review your finances.

Look at whether you met your targets last financial year and what you can do differently next financial year.

Set performance targets for the year to help you stay on track. Create a cash flow forecast to manage any potential shortfalls and ensure you can still pay your staff and suppliers.

7. Review and update your business and marketing plans

Take time to set yourself up for the year ahead. Regularly reviewing and updating your plans will help you to:

*remind yourself of your goals and priorities

*assess whether your strategies are working

*adapt to any new changes in your environment

*make the most of new opportunities as they come your way

*prioritise and maximise your effort (work smarter, not harder!).

8. Review your business structure

As your business grows and expands, you may decide to change your business structure, or to restructure your business.

9. Review your insurances

Check that you have the right insurances in place for your business. If your circumstances have changed, you may need to update your level of cover.

Read the product disclosure statements (PDS) for your insurance policies carefully - don't assume you're covered. Look up the definition of certain terms such as floods as they may vary among insurers.

10. Backup and secure your files

Backup and store your registration, financial and customer data, and other important business documents in a secure off-site location. This can help ensure your business can stay up and running during unexpected events, such as natural disasters.

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