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Business Activity Statements: All you need to know

What is Business Activity Statement (BAS)?

A business activity statement (BAS) is a form that qualifying businesses must submit to the ATO to report their tax obligations. If your business generates revenue over $75,000, or if you have a not-for-profit generating over $150,000, you'll need to do a Business Activity Statement (BAS).

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires you to fill out a BAS so you can report on and pay your tax liabilities on the one form at the same time.

The BAS is made up of summaries of reportable earnings and spendings for your business. This information will include all business earnings and spendings with:

  • GST tax status

  • GST free tax status

  • Overseas incomes, spendings and wages

  • Total PAYG withheld from wages

  • PAYG instalments.

PAYG instalments on a BAS relate to the ATO looking for an annual tax estimate for a company and demanding a “prepayment” of this amount.

What specifically appears on your BAS will depend entirely on your business. A BAS can include some or all of the following payments:

  • Goods and services tax (GST)

  • Pay as you go (PAYG) income tax instalment

  • Pay as you go (PAYG) tax withheld

  • Fringe benefits tax (FBT) instalment

  • Luxury car tax (LCT)

  • Wine equalisation tax (WET)

  • Fuel tax credits

When do I need to lodge a BAS?

The ATO lists the following cycles for BAS reporting:

  • Quarterly – if the GST turnover of your business is less than $20 million and it has not been specified that you must report monthly.

  • Monthly – if your GST turnover is $20 million or more.

  • Annually – if you are voluntarily registered for GST and your GST turnover is under $75,000 ($150,000 for not-for-profit bodies).

Most business will find they're required to lodge their BAS quarterly, but if you're unsure, the due date for lodging and paying is displayed on your BAS.

If you find the due date lands on a weekend or public holiday, don't stress — you have until the next business day to lodge and pay.

Businesses reporting once a quarter need to do so by the 28 October, 28 February, 28 April and 28 July. If you report quarterly, you have three options:

  • Work out, report and pay GST quarterly

  • Work out, report and pay GST quarterly and provide further information annually in an annual GST information report

  • Pay a set GST instalment amount quarterly and report annually in an annual GST return.

Every business owner is bound to mix up tax-related dates every now and then.

If you have a good reason for being late with your BAS, you can ring the ATO and request an extension.

The benefits of a BAS

Business Activity Statements are a great way of keeping an eye on every part of your business finances.

Because your BAS requires you to track your income and expenses in detail to be able to calculate your GST and other liabilities, the insight it gives your business might mean that it's worth doing it more than frequently than every quarter.

We recommend making your BAS reporting a regular part of your business admin so there isn't any surprises come reporting time.

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