The best tax minimisation strategy for business owners

We field a lot of questions from our clients – business owners who are looking to streamline their accounting services and get more time back in their day. And while we’re always happy to answer those questions, we do notice there are some more frequently asked than others.

One such question is: what are the best tax minimisation strategies for my business?

This is a very common – and understandable – question to ask. But our response often surprises people.

Here’s what we believe is the absolute best tax minimisation strategy for business owners.

There's a better question to ask

We have a simple answer to this popular question: This is the wrong question to ask!

As any business owner knows, taxes can be a headache. Between navigating complex tax laws, changing regulations, strict deadlines and multiple tax obligations that change as your company does, tax can be one of the most frustrating elements of owning a business – not to mention the end of financial year tax crunch.

So any strategies or methods you could use to reduce or minimise the amount you pay in tax and decrease some of that burden sounds like a good question to ask, right?

Wrong. Here’s why.

The most common tax minimisation strategy is counterproductive

The most common tax minimisation strategy is counterproductive

If you want to minimise tax, you need to maximise expenses. There’s no other way to reduce your tax bill.

Some common advice is to “Run the company at a loss” as a way for business owners to get a bigger tax return at the end of the year, but we firmly believe this approach is counterproductive to success.

It might be common advice, but it’s inherently flawed and we advise our clients against it. When you think about what it really means to run at a loss or maximise your expenses, you can see why.

Operating at a loss can very quickly create financial instability and jeopardise your cash flow, which can be hard to rectify. It can also create a negative perspective of your business if you have external stakeholders, like investors or a board of directors, who might start to lose confidence in the business if all they’re seeing are consistently high levels of expenses and losses.

Maximising your expenses to minimise tax also opens your business up to issues when asking for finance from lenders. If you’re applying for credit, any financial institution will review and evaluate your business performance to assess the risks of lending to you.

And if your business is running at a loss with maximum expenses, you may struggle to secure finance or only be able to borrow against high-interest rates.

So, what should you ask instead?

Running at a loss or maximising your expenses is an ineffective tax strategy. This kind of unsustainable approach to minimise tax typically only leads to high levels of stress for the business owner and low levels of success for the business.

Instead, we like to encourage our clients to ask this question: Are you optimising the tax efficiency of your business?

Focusing on tax efficiency instead of tax minimisation is a far more effective approach. While it might not reduce the amount of tax you’ll pay, it will ensure you’ve set your business up in a way that promotes cost-saving and also improves your ability to forecast accurately and secure your cash flow.

Strategies to increase tax efficiency

Strategies to increase tax efficiency

There are a number of effective strategies to improve the tax efficiency of your business, including:

  • Focusing on maximising superannuation contributions for company owners and directors throughout the financial year, as this will provide a tax refund.
  • Looking at how business wealth ties into your personal wealth and investing company profits smartly, like establishing a family trust fund or an SMSF.
  • Considering available business opportunities like mergers and acquisitions or investing in new companies or opportunities.

Regardless of your preferred tax optimisation strategy, you’ll notice when you focus more on how effectively you structure your business, where your profits are going and ensuring efficient management of your accounts, the goal of paying less in tax actually becomes the goal of making better decisions with the money you do get to keep.

We believe it’s crucial to provide business owners with true answers and advice that supports their long-term goals and objectives. And structuring your business effectively for tax optimisation is one of the best ways to improve financial performance.

If you’re not sure you have the correct set-up, contact us today to find out more about how we can support you.

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