Home' Border Enterprise : Winter-Spring 2010 Contents 42 enterprise
TAX TIPS FOR HOME
• Losses incurred may not be able
to be offset against other income
streams, such as wages or
• Business income may affect
Centrelink payments and allowances.
• Check your eligibility to claim
the small-business tax break, an
additional 50 per cent deduction, for
some new business assets.
• Seek independent and personalised
advice from a qualified tax
Although there are several serviced office
players in Australia, with various product
packages available, for about $250 an individual
could expect access to a well-equipped office in
a central office location at least one day a week,
as well as an address, local phone number,
receptionist and mail forwarding services.
Many people working from home cite low
overheads and cost savings as two of the
main reasons for doing so, yet there is a
proportion of home workers earning higher
than average salaries.
Earlier this year, to gain insight into the
workings of sole operators and small businesses
with five or less employees, Gerrish, a
successful business coach, consultant and
author, conducted the Understanding Micro
The online questionnaire revealed 17 per cent
of respondents had personal income levels of
$104,000 or more, four times the amount found
in the general population.
But regardless of income level, gender or
occupation, there are potential tax deductions
and legalities of which home-based workers
should be aware.
Although recommending people seek the
advice of a registered tax accountant, the
principal at Sydney accountancy firm ZM
Partners, Maurizio Zappacosta, says there is
a range of home office expenses that can be
claimed on a proportional basis --- including rent
or interest on a home loan, the cost of utilities
such as gas, council, water and land taxes,
telephone and internet costs, along with the
depreciation on office equipment.
Home-based accountant Janna Fikh, principal
at Fletcher Tax Accountants, says it is important
that anyone setting up a business from home
check they have adequate insurances, such as
public liability and professional indemnity, as well
as clarifying if GST is applicable to their venture.
ALMOST a quarter of the
Australian workforce, in varying
degrees, has embraced the
concept of working from home.
About 2.4 million Australians,
including farm workers, are employed from a
personal residence. Of these, 764,700 people
call home their primary place of work, according
to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.
The founder of flyingsolo.com.au, a micro
business community that supports solo and
small business owners, Robert Gerrish, says
there are two key groups of home workers.
"Those that run a business from home and
those whose employer allows them to be home-
based," Gerrish says.
Of those who call home their main workplace,
55 per cent are women, 83 per cent are older
than 35 and 39 per cent have children younger
But it's not just mums working part-time
juggling childcare duties. A range of male and
female professionals, largely serviced-based, are
embracing the concept.
work under their own
roof at least some of
the time, reports
In terms of occupational groups, most men
who work primarily at home are managers while
clerical and administrative occupations top the
list for females.
Gerrish says research done on his site in
2008 showed coaching, consulting, mentoring,
advertising and marketing, technology,
finance and insurance, health and wellbeing,
web development and sales as sectors well
represented in the working-from-home segment.
"Home workers are largely service-based ...
mostly independent people selling their own
skills," Gerrish says.
Despite interest in the work-from-home
sector, there is a perception that those who are
employed from a personal residence are not
serious business players.
"There are some people, often from the bigger
end of town, that still have a rather patronising
view of people that work from a home office,"
"I know this is changing but it's still there and
for some businesses, particularly people in
finance, like planners or mortgage brokers, they
probably don't go around boasting about the
fact they have a home office."
To overcome such negativity, as a growth
strategy or simply to be seen, some home-
based workers are also using serviced office
facilities on a part-time basis.
Gerrish, whose home office is in Sydney's
eastern suburbs, uses a serviced office in the
city's central business district two days a week
to meet with current and prospective clients. Other
home-based workers are doing a similar thing.
"It just makes it easier to have a home office ...
you can just dip into a serviced office when you
need it," he says.
The vice-president for Regus, a global player in
the serviced office industry, William Willems, says
interest from home-based businesses is growing.
"We have 20 locations in Australia and New
Zealand but in two to three years it will be 50
minimum," Willems says.
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