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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, accounting, or tax advice. The information contained herein is subject to change and may vary from time to time in your region. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.
Completing and submitting your business activity statement (BAS) is an essential part of being a business owner. As with most administrative and reporting tasks, it can be a big job if you’re not organised; but if you stay on top of your accounts throughout the year, preparing and submitting your BAS should be a breeze.
If your approach to bookkeeping is a little hit-and-miss or you’d like some support with lodging your activity statement, you can ask your accountant or bookkeeper to take care of your BAS obligations, as long as they’re registered to do so.
What is a business activity statement (BAS)?
If your business is registered for GST (goods and services tax), you need to lodge a business activity statement (BAS). Your BAS is a summary of your business’s revenue and key expenditures over a period, and helps you to report and pay taxes including:
- Goods and services tax (GST)
- Pay as you go (PAYG) instalments
- PAYG withholding tax
- Fringe benefits tax (FBT) instalments
- Luxury car tax
- Wine equalisation tax
What kind of businesses need to lodge a BAS?
Any business that’s registered for GST must lodge a business activity statement (BAS). You must register for GST and submit a BAS if:
- Your annual business income is $75,000 or more a year, or $150,000 or more for not-for-profit organisations
- You provide taxi travel (transporting passengers by taxi or limousine for a fare) as part of your business
- You want to claim fuel tax credits for your business
If your annual income is less than $75,000 (or $150,000 for not-for-profit organisations), you don’t need to register for GST, but you can if you choose.
When do I need to lodge my BAS?
The due date for lodging and paying your BAS is displayed on each BAS statement. Your GST reporting and payment cycle might be:
- Quarterly: For businesses who have a GST turnover under $20 million, where the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has not asked you to submit your business activity statement monthly.
If you lodge your BAS quarterly, your due date for each quarter is as follows:
|1. July, August and September
|2. October, November and December
|3. January, February and March
|4. April, May and June
- Monthly: For businesses with a GST turnover of $20 million or more.
If you lodge your activity statement monthly, it’s due on the 21st day of the month following the end of the taxable period. This means you’d lodge your January BAS on 21 February, for example.
- Annually: For businesses who have voluntarily registered for GST and that have a GST turnover less than $75,000 (or less than $150,000 for non-profits).
If you lodge your BAS annually, you must do this by 31 October.
You can lodge your business activity statement yourself, or work with a registered tax agent or BAS agent. You should check that anyone doing your BAS is a registered agent with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). Different submission dates might apply if you use a registered tax or BAS agent.
How do I lodge my business activity statement?
Business owners have a number of choices when it comes to lodging their activity statements. Most businesses who lodge their own BAS do it online, which gives them an extra two weeks to lodge and pay.
If you lodge your BAS online, you can use:
- The MyGov portal: If you’re an individual or sole trader, you can lodge, view and revise your activity statements using your MyGov account. Sign in at www.my.gov.au, then select ‘tax’ and ‘activity statements’ from the menu.
- The ATO’s Business Portal: If you’re not an individual or sole trader, you can manage your business tax affairs here.
- Online accounting software: Online accounting software like Xero and MYOB allows you to lodge your BAS directly from your accounting portal. Your accounting software must be Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled to be used for BAS lodgement.
What if I submit my BAS late?
If you’re finding it difficult to lodge and pay your business activity statement by the due date, you should contact the ATO as soon as you can. They may be able to work with you to set up a payment plan that lets you pay by instalments, rather than all at once. You still need to lodge your activity statement on time, even if you’re not able to pay by the due date.
Are there penalties if I submit my BAS late?
A failure to lodge (FTL) on time penalty might apply if you don’t lodge and pay your BAS on time. The ATO will warn you by phone or in writing if you’ve failed to lodge your activity statement and send you a penalty notice with your penalty’s details if you don’t rectify the situation.
What if I make a mistake on my BAS?
If you realise you’ve made a mistake on an activity statement that’s already been lodged, you can fix the mistake on your next BAS or revise the original BAS. Conditions will apply depending on whether you’ve made a credit or debit error. The ATO website has more information about fixing BAS mistakes or making adjustments.
Whether you submit your BAS monthly, quarterly or annually, keeping your accounts up to date should be a priority. Diarise to complete your activity statement at least a week before the due date to ensure you have enough time to submit it on time. (While it’s not a particularly lengthy task, many business owners will attest that it’s a tempting job to push to the following day’s to-do list!)
If you need help with your BAS, speak to your accountant or bookkeeper, or reach out to the Australian Tax Office directly by calling 13 28 46.