The Australian Taxation Office has a wealth of data that small businesses can use to their advantage, or which the ATO might use against them.

The ATO has released updated benchmark data to help small businesses measure themselves against their rivals – and avoid breaking the law.

ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt said businesses could use the benchmarks to gauge the strength of their business and their rivals.

“We want small businesses to stay afloat, so our benchmarks are a great way to ensure your business is viable, competitive and not at risk of venturing into rough water,” he said.

Mr Holt said the ATO also had a use for the benchmarks – to identify small businesses that might be reporting all their income.

“Think of the benchmarks like the red and yellow flags on the beach. If you stay between the flags, you’ll be less likely to attract our attention,” he said.

The ATO’s benchmarks take into account different business types and locations.

The data is drawn from more than 1.5 million small businesses, and covers more than 100 industries in these 11 categories:

  • Accommodation and food
  • Building and construction trade services
  • Education, training, recreation and support services
  • Health care and personal services
  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive electrical services
  • Machinery and equipment repair and maintenance
  • Architectural services
  • Veterinary services
  • Retail trade
  • Transport, postal and warehousing