Breaking down business industry codes

Breaking down business industry codes


A business industry code (BIC) is a five-digit code you include on relevant tax returns and schedules that describes your main business activity. BICs come from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) codes and are added to by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for tax return reporting purposes.

Employers must use the correct business industry code on their tax returns to ensure their return is lodged in the right category. Using the correct code for your business helps to reduce the risk of being incorrectly targeted for compliance activities, avoids processing delays and ensures employers receive services and information relevant to their business type.

The business industry code describes the main activity of the business. This can change over time if your business diversifies its products and services. The code is broken down into sections:

  • ANZSIC system is first divided into 19 divisions, described by one letter (A to S).
  • Divisions are broken down into subdivisions numbered with two digits. There are a total of 96 subdivisions.
  • Subdivisions are broken down into groups. Each group is numbered with three digits, with the first two digits derived from the subdivision to which it belongs.
  • Groups are broken down into classes. Each class is numbered with four digits, the first three digits derived from the group to which it belongs.
  • The ATO adds a fifth digit to this system to provide further specifics.

Employers who have changed their business’ products and services can use the ATO’s business industry code tool to check their code before lodging their tax return. If your code has changed, inform your accountant before lodging. Once you have the right code, you can also use small business benchmarks to see how well you are performing compared to competitors in your industry.

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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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