• Tax Advice

How does tax work as a sole trader in Australia?

Wondering how tax works as a sole trader in Australia? Let’s break it down!

In Australia, a sole trader is an individual running a business on their own, without partners or a company structure. Taxation for sole traders is tied to the individual, not the business entity itself. Here’s how taxation works for sole traders and the process of registering as one:

How does Tax Work as a Sole Trader in Australia?

Sole traders are taxed at individual income tax rates. Their business income is treated as part of their personal income.

Sole traders Tax-Free Threshold is earning up to $18,200. Tax rates increase progressively based on income.

Sole traders can deduct legitimate business expenses from their income to reduce taxable profit. These expenses include operating costs, supplies, equipment, and more.

Suggested Read: Sole Trader Tax Deductions in Australia: A Comprehensive Guide

Sole traders PAYG (Pay-as-you-go) installments allow quarterly tax payments, helping sole traders manage their tax obligations throughout the year.


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    Are you a Sole Trader in Australia?

    A sole trader is an individual running a business as an individual entity. This includes freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, and small business owners operating without partners or a company structure.

    How to Register as a Sole Trader in Australia?

    To register as a sole trader in Australia:

    1. ABN (Australian Business Number): Obtain an ABN for your business. It’s a unique identifier necessary for dealings with the ATO and other businesses.
    2. Business Name Registration: If you plan to operate under a business name other than your own, register it with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission).
    3. Tax File Number (TFN): Use your individual TFN when reporting income and lodging tax returns.
    4. GST Registration: If your business earns over $75,000 per year, register for GST.
    5. Record Keeping: Maintain accurate records of income, expenses, and other financial transactions related to your business.
    6. Reporting to ATO: File Business Activity Statements (BAS) and annual tax returns, accurately reporting your business income and expenses.

     Sole Trader Tax Vs Company Tax Vs Partnership Tax Australia

    Are Sole Traders Eligible for Tax Deductions?

    You can claim tax deductions for sole traders in Australia in 2023 and 2024 for following:

    • Motor vehicle and travel expenses

    Suggested Read: Your Complete Guide to Work-Related Business Trip Tax Deduction

    • Home office expenses
    • Equipment and tools
    • Insurance
    • Professional fees
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Training and education

    These deductions can be claimed for expenses directly related to earning assessable income as a sole trader

    How to Return Sole Trader Tax Australia?

    Step 1: Gather Necessary Information and Documents

    Collect all relevant financial records, including:

    • Income statements (invoices, sales records)
    • Expense receipts (office supplies, equipment, rent)
    • Bank statements
    • Records of assets bought or sold for the business

    Step 2: Determine Your Taxable Income

    Calculate your business profit by deducting legitimate business expenses from your total income. Ensure accuracy and transparency in expense claims.


    • Total Income: $60,000
    • Deductible Expenses: $20,000
    • Taxable Income = $60,000 – $20,000 = $40,000

    Step 3: Complete the Tax Return Form

    Use the individual tax return form (usually Form Individual Tax Return 2024) provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

    Step 4: Report Business Income and Expenses

    • In the tax return form, report your business income under the relevant sections.
    • Deduct eligible business expenses in the appropriate categories. Provide accurate details and evidence for each deduction.


    • Income Section: Enter total business income ($60,000)
    • Deductions Section: Itemize deductible expenses ($20,000) – office supplies, rent, equipment.

    Step 5: Declare Other Income (if applicable)

    Declare any other sources of income outside your sole trading business, such as investment income or capital gains.

    Step 6: Submit the Tax Return

    After completing the form, review for accuracy and completeness. Submit the tax return to the ATO by the specified deadline.

    Step 7: Pay Tax Owed or Claim Refund

    If you owe tax, arrange payment to the ATO by the due date. If you overpaid during the year, you’ll be eligible for a refund.

    Step 8: Keep Records

    Maintain meticulous records of your tax return and all supporting documents for at least five years in case of ATO audits or inquiries.

    Additional Tips:

    • Seek Professional Assistance: Consider consulting a registered tax agent or accountant for guidance and to ensure compliance with tax laws. You can also automate the entire process by using an AI-Powered Tax Assistant App – Taxly.Ai.
    • Use Online Tools: ATO’s online services like my Tax can streamline the tax return process for sole traders.

    The Bottomline 

    Sole trader taxation in Australia has been an integral component of the individual income tax system in Australia. Sole traders report their earnings, expenses, and business activities to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) through a tax return, using individual tax file numbers (TFNs) and Australian business numbers (ABNs) as required. They must register for for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if annual turnover reaches or exceeds $75,000. PAYG (Pay-as-you-go) installments system allows quarterly tax payments, easing the annual tax burden.

    • Jaxon Rylah

      Jaxon Rylah, an Australian of diverse heritage, brings a wealth of expertise to his role as an Author at Taxly.ai. With over 5 years of experience in the field, Jaxon's deep understanding of accounting principles and regulations allows him to provide...



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