As the National Disability InsuranceScheme (NDIS) has grown since its introduction in 2013, so has the number of participants and those providing supports and services. The NDIS is a wide-ranging, national scheme and the rules associated with it can be complex. This has led to a certain amount of confusion, here are some of the most common misunderstandings we’ve come across.
Does a Provider need an ABN?
An Australian Business Number (ABN) is an identifier that is used when registering a business for certain taxes and concessions. All businesses, or ‘enterprises’, need such a number to be recognised by the government.
Whether a service provider needs an ABN will, however, depend on their particular status. If you’re a self-employed individual providing services to one or more scheme participants, an ABN isn’t strictly necessary. You can simply declare your business income on your personal tax return and you will be taxed accordingly.
Should your business start to grow and you employ other service providers, you will then be classed as an enterprise and will need an ABN. Even if this doesn’t happen, you may feel it beneficial to have a number. Your clients may feel better if they’re supported by an ABN-registered worker and you may be able to claim tax concessions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Additionally, if you work through an agency or another service provider, it may be a condition that you have a number. Even if it isn’t, they are legally obliged to withhold almost half your fees and forward the amount to the tax office.
Obtaining an ABN is a simple process, you just need to apply on the Australian Tax Office website.
Who provides the NDIS service?
In effect, any individual or company that is capable of providing services that NDIS participants need is able to do so. These services are wide-ranging and can be anything from gardening and decorating to care services that may require some medical qualifications and experience.
When dealing with self-managed participants who handle their own needs or with third party managers working on behalf of plan-managed participants, you will communicate with them directly and need to convince them of your abilities. For NDIA-managed participants, you will have to register with the NDIS and may choose to do so even if not strictly necessary. In that case, you will have to satisfy the governing body of your competence, conform to quality guidelines and safeguarding rules, and your performance will be monitored.
Do I need to have an office?
Again, this comes down to the size and style of your operation. If you are an individual provider of services and supports, an official office base is not necessary since you will not generally receive visits. You will need to raise invoices and carry out administrative tasks but these can be undertaken from a spare room at home or even from the kitchen table.
As your business grows and you employ staff, an office may then be come a necessity. Until then, however, it may simply be a needless expense.
Being an NDIS provider is really about providing services competently and safely, and looking after your clients. How you do that will depend on the type and extent of your service.
PROVIDERplus is an expert when it comes to assisting NDIS providers register and grow their businesses. Check out NDIS registration assistance page for more information on how PROVIDERplus could help you.