If you are considering operating a business at home you will need permission from your local council. In most cases you will need to register or obtain planning approval, depending on the nature of the business.
TIP: Regulations and approval processes may vary between councils so it is important to do your research before starting your business. Failure to comply with local council requirements could result in an infringement or business closure.
Home-based businesses are usually categorised as a:
- home office
- home occupation
- home business
The definition of each category will be in your local council town planning scheme.
Contact a planning officer at your local council for more information about permits and approvals.
Operating a food business at home
Many food businesses operate from residential premises, including:
- bed and breakfast establishments
- farm-stay accommodation
- food prepared for fundraising events
- food prepared for market stalls and fetes
People that prepare food on residential premises that is intended for sale are considered food businesses and must comply with the Food Act 2008.
See the Department of Health’s fact sheet on food preparation in residential premises.
Tax implications for home-based businesses
If you operate a home-based business, you may be able to claim tax deductions against some of the costs if you:
- work from home occasionally and your place of business is somewhere else (for example, a tradesperson) or,
- have an area of your home set aside that is only used for your business.
You may be able to claim for:
- a proportion of your electricity, gas or phone bills
- a proportion of rent, mortgage, interest, rates, insurance etc
- office furniture or equipment
To find out about eligibility and what you can claim visit the Australian Tax Office website.