Guide to business activity statements (BAS)
Businesses operating in Australia are required to submit a business activity statement (BAS) at least once a quarter. This statement helps you report and pay various taxes to the ATO.
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What is a business activity statement?
A business activity statement is a report that is submitted by a business to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). On the basis of this report, various business taxes are paid to the relevant tax office. The BAS contains details about the various types of taxes that may need to be paid by a business. These taxes are:
- 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
Every BAS is unique to a business and may or may not include all the types of taxes as mentioned above. Your business activity statement will only include a detailed report about those types of taxes that your business is eligible to pay.
What do I need to do before I submit my BAS?
There are certain reporting requirements that need to be completed before you can submit a valid BAS to the tax office. Here are some of the main reporting requirements of a typical BAS:
- Reporting period. Your business activity statement should clearly mention the reporting period on it. The start date as well as the end date of the reporting period should be stated.
- Document ID. This is a number that is unique to every business as well as unique to every statement. Hence, every BAS that you submit will have a different document ID. This ID helps to identify your BAS if and when required.
- Australian Business Number. The ABN is another mandatory requirement for a business activity statement. With the help of the ABN, the taxation authorities can determine which business the BAS is being submitted for.
In addition to the above, a BAS will also mention the date when the report was lodged as well as the date when the relevant tax was paid. The mode of payment (such as cash, cheque etc.) must also be mentioned on the BAS. Finally, the most important requirement on a BAS is the details of the tax that is being reported and paid by the respective businesses.
At the end of the business activity statement, there is a section for a summarised version of the taxes being reported. Your BAS should also clearly mention whether you have a pending tax liability or you are expecting a refund from the taxation office.
How do I submit a business activity statement?
Once you have completed the BAS and signed it, you need to submit it to the Australian Taxation Office before the due date for final submission. The due date is typically mentioned at the top of the BAS form. Depending on whether you are required to submit the BAS monthly or quarterly, your due date will differ accordingly. In the event that the final submission date is a public holiday or a weekend, the ATO allows businesses to submit the BAS on the first working day after the holiday. If you do not submit the BAS and pay the tax in a timely manner, your business could have to suffer penalty payments.
The completed business activity statement can be submitted to the ATO through several channels. These include:
- ATO online business portal
- ATO online services (you will need a myGov account linked to the ATO)
- Through a registered BAS agent
- Directly from Standard Business Reporting–enabled software
- Over the phone, if you have nothing to report
If you choose to lodge your quarterly activity statements online you may be eligible for a two-week deferral.
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When is my BAS due?
The due date will differ for quarterly and monthly reporting:
|Q1: July, August and September||28 October|
|Q2: October, November and December||28 February|
|Q3: January, February and March||28 April|
|Q4: April, May and June||28 July|
Your business activity statement is usually due on the 21st day of the month following the end of the taxable period. If you are a school or associated body, you will be automatically granted a deferral of your December activity statement, which will be issued with a deferral date of 21 February.
How do I pay my business activity statement?
You can pay the ATO any of the following ways:
- Direct credit
- Direct debit
- In person at Australia Post
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to submit a business activity statement?
It is mandatory to file a BAS for every tax period as specified by the ATO. Whether or not you have done any business in that period is irrelevant. Once you have received a BAS form from the ATO, you have to complete and submit it. If no business has been transacted in that particular tax period then the BAS for that period will be referred to as a nil report.
Can I make payments towards a future BAS?
Yes. You're able to make voluntary payments to offset future BAS liability by using any of the available payment methods. You just need your payment reference number (PRN) on hand.
I've made an error on my BAS. How do I amend it?
If the mistake was on a previous BAS you can make the correction in your current one. If you are not currently submitting a BAS then you will need to lodge a revised BAS to correct the mistake. You can do this through your myGov account, the ATO business portal, from your business software if it's enabled for Standard Business Reporting or by phoning the ATO directly.
My BAS due date falls on a weekend. What do I do?
If the due date for your business activity statement falls on a weekend or public holiday, the ATO will allow you to pay the following business day.
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