Business activity statements
Understanding business activity statements in the time that it takes to reverse park.
Understanding the requirements of a business activity statement (BAS) is actually a lot less daunting than reverse parking.
Unlike most reverse parks, you can conquer this two-minute read in only two point-turns: learning what you have to include on your BAS and mastering tips on the best way to prepare it.
The amount of taxes you are required to pay for your business can be a little overwhelming. One tool that simplifies this process is a BAS.
BAS is a government form that all businesses must lodge to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). It’s a summary of all the business taxes you have paid or will pay to the government during a specific period.
Most Australian businesses will lodge their BAS monthly, quarterly or annually. The following information walks you through how to complete a BAS statement, from what you should include, to preparation and, finally, lodgement of your BAS.
What to include on a BAS
A BAS outlines the amount a business pays of the following taxes:
- Goods and services tax (GST)
- Pay as you go (PAYG) income tax instalments
- Pay as you go (PAYG) tax withheld
- Fringe benefits tax (FBT) instalment
- Luxury car tax (LCT)
- Wine equalisation tax (WET)
- Fuel tax credits
- Instalment notices for GST and PAYG instalments
Preparing your BAS
At first, preparing your BAS can be a little challenging and time consuming.
Here are three tips to help simplify success:
1. Keep accurate records
Thorough records will be your best friend when it comes to preparing your BAS.
Keep and categorise all the business invoices and receipts as soon as you get them, as this will save you time when preparing your BAS. Accounting software can make this process easy and quick.
Update your accounts every week with all relevant information of transactions the business has conducted. These records should include the date, type of transaction, description and GST (if applicable).
At the end of the period, total all these records, complete the BAS form and lodge it to the ATO.
Keep records of your BAS lodgements (and make sure they match those of your own accounting systems) for at least five years.
Here are some tips to help you avoid common GST BAS pitfalls.
2. Sort your accounts by category
Set up your accounting system based on the categories of the BAS form. This will make reporting your BAS much easier.
Make sure that you include all statements for the given period of the BAS submission. Using MYOB online accounting software can help you do this accurately.
3. Know your BAS lodgement dates
You can lodge your BAS monthly, quarterly or annually. How frequently you lodge will usually depend on the rate of your cash flow.
Avoid drama with the tax office by keeping on top of when your BAS is due. If you feel like you might not make the BAS lodgement date, contact the ATO before the date to avoid any repercussions.
Many businesses make mistakes when filling out their BAS forms, so we’ve put together a list of common errors to avoid. You read more about that here.
Lodging your BAS
You can lodge your BAS online through MyGov or through a registered tax agent. If you have an accountant or bookkeeper, this is a task that they can take care of for you.
You can find the dates you’re required to lodge your BAS here.
Top 3 takeaways
- A Business Activity Statement (BAS) summarises the tax that your business has paid.
- Lodge your BAS to the ATO at regularly intervals, either monthly, quarterly or annually.
- To keep on top of your BAS obligations, remember to keep accurate records, sort your accounts according to their relevant BAS category and be mindful of your BAS lodgement dates.
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