How is tax calculated?

Sole trader

A sole trader business structure is taxed as part of your own personal income - you are required to pay income tax at individual tax rates.

The tax-free threshold is $18,200.

The following rates for 2016-17 apply from 1 July 2016:

Tax income  Tax on this income
 Nil - $18,200 Nil 
 $18,201 – $37,000  19c for each $1 over $18,200
 $37,001 – $87,000  $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000
 $87,001 – $180,000  $19,822 plus 37c for each $1 over $87,000
 $180,001 and over  $54,232 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Note:  The above rates do not include the Medicare levy of 2%.

After claiming a deduction for all allowable expenses, you declare all your business income (along with any other income you may receive) using a separate business schedule in your individual tax return. After your first year in business, you generally will pay quarterly Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments that go toward the amount of tax you will have to pay at the end of the year.


A company business structure is taxed as a separate legal entity that does its own tax return.

There is no tax-free threshold for a company business structure. The company tax rate is currently 30%. For small business entities, the company tax rate is 27.5%.

Companies have to lodge an annual company tax return which shows:

  • the company's income
  • deductions
  • the income tax it is liable to pay.

Companies must lodge their own tax return, and if there is an associated trust, the trust must lodge its own tax return too.

As a director, if you draw wages as an employee or receive dividends from the company, you must report this as income when you lodge your own individual return. You may also need to lodge a fringe benefits tax return, if you receive fringe benefits.

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