Sole traders can get a head start on tax this year with new record-keeping functionality enhancements to the myDeductions section in the free Australian Taxation Office app, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said.
“Simplifying tax matters and accessibility for small business is something on which I want to focus as Small Business Minister. Having run my own for eight years, I have a first-hand appreciation of how reducing red tape can help business spend more time doing what it does best,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack said the record-keeping tool is the quick and easy way for sole traders to get into good record keeping habits by capturing transactions ‘on the go’. This also means sole traders won’t have the hassle of lost and faded receipts at tax time.
“Everywhere I go, I hear that small businesses want fast and easy services they can access when it is convenient for them—through a system or product they already use. The new record-keeping functionality provides this,” Mr McCormack said.
The changes mean that sole traders with simple tax affairs can now record business income, expenses, and vehicle trips on their smart phone or device in addition to employee work-related expenses. The sole traders can also easily email their detailed records to their tax agent or enter the data straight into myTax at tax time. The ability to upload data directly into a tax return will be made available in a later release.
“I know the ATO shares my passion for making systems simpler for sole traders and other small businesses—and this tool delivers on that commitment yet again,” he said.
“The story of every small business is different, which is why this tool is a result of ATO consultation with the small business community, in which many sole traders said that they don’t have or wouldn’t pay for record-keeping software,” Mr McCormack added.
“Many also have inadequate record-keeping practices, such as keeping receipts in a shoebox or the car glove box. This can make completing their tax return difficult, from the time it takes to gather all the paperwork, to missing out on deductions because of lost or faded receipts,” said Mr McCormack.
He also reiterated that returns are as easy as taking a photo of your receipt and entering a few details. “As long as the photo is an accurate copy, you can even throw away the paper receipt, although it is recommended that you back up the data regularly,” Mr McCormack said.
The ATO app updates are not taking work from the commercial software market.
“The ATO is aware of the great services commercial software providers offer. This update is designed to assist those sole traders who need the most help with their record-keeping, and don’t have access to record keeping software,” Mr McCormack said.
Sole traders can get started by downloading the free ATO app and opening the myDeductions tool. For more information visit the ATO app myDeductions webpage.