If your company is based in Australia, you must file Business Activity Statements (BAS) with the ATO, even if you did not conduct any business during the reporting period.
These statements are used to record and pay several sorts of taxes, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) you collected, Pay as You Go (PAYG) instalments or withholding, Fuel Tax Credits (FTC) and Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) (FBT). Alternatively, if you pay a quarterly PAYG payment, you must additionally file a BAS.
The BAS is how your tax due is determined. However, the type of tax you must pay is decided by variables other than your company’s revenue. The number of employees, benefits offered, items purchased or sold, and company registration location all affect how much and what form of tax you must pay.
What Should Be Included in Your BAS
On the BAS form, provide the reporting period, Document ID, ABN and signature. If you need to contact the ATO, the Document ID and your ABN will be required to identify your company.
As previously stated, even if you do not conduct any business during the reporting period for your BAS, you must still submit. The ATO refers to your statement for that time as a nil report.
How to Lodge Your BAS Properly
Fortunately, the ATO makes it simple for businesses to comply with their obligations by offering various lodgement options. They provide an online business site and a BAS portal, although both are only available to BAS Agents, tax agents and major firms.
However, using an accounting system to generate the information automatically will make it much easier—regardless of how many times a year you must send.
BAS lodging also requires either a myGov account linked to an ATO online account or an ATO ID and password. If a business does not yet have an ATO account, the ATO will create one. An ATO ID can only be made by an owner or director, who must verify via email.
If a company currently has an ATO online account, it must link it to an existing or new myGov account. Alternatively, a business can call the ATO to arrange payment.
The ATO has dedicated support teams to help businesses pay the right amount of tax at the right time and to help them lodge BAS on time.
What Your BAS Should Include
- GST on taxable goods or services supplied during the period
- GST credits (input tax credits) that have been claimed during the period
- PAYG withholding payments made (if your business is registered for GST), including superannuation contributions and payroll tax
- Fringe benefits tax (if applicable)
- Fuel tax credits (if applicable)
- GST on sales of goods imported into Australia
- FBT on benefits provided by the business
- FBT rebates (if applicable)
What If I Don’t File My BAS?
The ATO can issue a penalty if a business fails to lodge a BAS.
If a business could have lodged its BAS online but chose not to, it could face a penalty of up to $1.1 million. If a company could have lodged its BAS using the approved e-commerce provider but chose not to, it could face a penalty of $200 per day for each BAS is late. However, it will not face a fine if a business could not have lodged its BAS using the approved e-commerce provider because it is not GST-registered.
A business may be exempt from the penalty if it can show that it could not complete its lodgment on time because of circumstances beyond its control.
When a business lodges a BAS late, an assessment of tax will not be raised until the next reporting period. At some time in the quarter, a business will have to pay more tax than it should have to and then claim a refund when the assessment is raised.
Many Australian businesses have an accountant or bookkeeper who takes care of their BAS and tax obligations. Besides checking that the BAS is accurate, these professionals can sometimes help lower your tax bill and give advice on improving business profitability.
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