Managing your tax, super and insurances as an independent support worker

As an independent support worker on the Mable platform, you are operating your own business. That means you’re your own boss, which is wonderful, but it also means managing your tax and financial obligations. Mable makes it easier for you to stay across your taxation obligations, with the documentation and information you need stored in and easily accessed from your secure online account.

First and foremost, to work as an independent support worker, you must have an Australian Business Number (ABN). If you haven’t already organised this, it’s free. Learn more about and apply for an ABN here.

In this article, we’ll run through some useful information in regards to your taxation obligations and deductions, how others put money aside for superannuation, and what is covered by your insurance.

Keeping track of your tax requirements

Because your income may not be consistent from month to month, it can be tricky to know how much income tax you’ll have to pay for the year. One way to handle this is to set aside some money every month – or even weekly, if you prefer – so that it’s available for when you have to pay the Australian Taxation Office at the end of the financial year.

PAYG (income tax)

Your accountant can set up a PAYG (Pay As You Go) system and you can pay it quarterly. Bookmark Money Smart’s online income tax calculator or the ATO’s simple tax calculator so you can refer to it easily. Enter your earnings figure for the week (or month) to arrive at the income tax figure you’ll need to pay. Once you are paid, transfer the tax amount to a separate bank account that you keep specifically for tax purposes. Each quarter, simply pay what you’ve put aside to the ATO.

You must submit your tax return by 31st October each year, although your accountant may be able to arrange an extension, if necessary.

GST

If you earn over $75,000 per year, you must register for GST. Then, you must lodge a regular Business Activity Statement (BAS) every quarter.

For answers to your questions, you can contact the ATO on 13 28 61 or access the ATO self-service website.

Tax deductions

There may be some business costs that you can claim against your income at the end of the financial year, resulting in paying less tax.

Tax deductions for work-related expenses may include:

  • PPE and hand sanitiser
  • Sunscreen, if your activities with your client involve being out in the sun
  • The cost of your Police Check and Working With Children Check
  • a percentage of your Mobile phone and internet bills
  • Working from home expenses (such as a percentage of your home for a dedicated work space)
  • Computer equipment used for work
  • Self-education and training expenses like text books and stationery, travel to and from a course (such as First Aid, CPR and tertiary qualifications)
  • The cost of managing your tax affairs (such as paying your accountant or a tax advisor)
  • Car expenses, tolls and public transport costs
  • Meals paid for and consumed during a support session at a venue such as a café
  • Tools and equipment according to the services you provide (such as exercise equipment, podiatry instruments, sensory toys, etc.)
  • Travel expenses such as accommodation, transport and food that are not reimbursed by the client
  • Industry-related magazines and books

Whether you can claim the items above will depend on your personal situation. 

Important points about tax deductions

To claim tax deductions for your work as an independent support worker, you must not have been reimbursed for these expenses and you must keep all the receipts that you think may be applicable. Remember that you can only claim the work-related percentage of your expenses, such as a percentage of your mobile phone or internet bills. Your accountant can help decide which can be claimed, and how much.

The ATO’s myDeductions app can help you keep track of all your expenses, and is available for iPhone and Android.

Your superannuation responsibilities

As an independent support worker, it’s up to you to put aside money towards your superannuation. Calculate 10% of your ordinary time earnings on a regular basis (weekly, monthly or quarterly) and put that money aside in a separate account or, ideally, a superannuation fund.

You should be able to claim a full deduction for contributions you make to your super until you turn 75. You may also be eligible for the super co-contribution payment, which means the government will match your contribution up to certain limits, unless you’ve claimed your contribution as a tax deduction. Again, it’s a good idea to talk with your accountant about this.

Example of superannuation payment

If, during the first quarter of the financial year (1 July – 30 September 2021) your ordinary time earnings were $8,000, the super contribution you would have to pay for that quarter would be: $8,000 x 10% = $800.

Your Business Net Income Statement for EOFY

At the end of the financial year, you can access a summary of the net monthly business income you’ve received from your clients. It’s called your Business Net Income Statement and shows your month-by-month business income, plus your business net income for the financial year, (minus your support worker Mable platform fee).

You can access your Business Net Income Statement here from as early as July of the new financial year. Alternatively, you can log onto the Mable website and select ‘Billing’ from the left-hand menu, then select ‘Business Income’. Statements from previous financial years will also be accessible.

Your statement can be sent to the ATO along with other EOFY documents.

Top tax takeaways

  1. Apply for your free ABN.
  2. Set up one bank account for your earnings and another for you to transfer money to pay your tax.
  3. Open a superannuation account. This Canstar page can help you shop around.
  4. Bookmark a tax calculator tool to help you calculate the tax you have to pay.
  5. If you earn over $75,000 per year, you must register for GST, lodge a quarterly or annual BAS and pay your GST.
  6. Visit the Airtax website for answers to common tax questions for support professionals.
  7. Download your Business Net Income Statement for your end of financial year records to send to the ATO.

Insurances

As an independent support worker on the Mable website, the following insurance cover is made available:

Group Personal Accident Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability insurance. BUT! It’s critical to remember that you are only protected by this suite of insurances for work arranged and invoiced via the Mable platform! This includes ensuring that you establish an agreement with a client, and that it has been formally accepted.

Note: The above information is provided for guidance only and should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice. We recommend you speak with an accountant, tax adviser or your financial adviser and we expressly disclaim any responsibility for any action taken or not taken based on this information.