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
  • Mail

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:

Quarterly reporting

QuarterDue date
Q1: July, August and September28 October
Q2: October, November and December28 February
Q3: January, February and March28 April
Q4: April, May and June28 July

Monthly reporting

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:

  • BPAY
  • Direct credit
  • Direct debit
  • Mail
  • 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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60 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    FulanOctober 1, 2018

    Is a loan to a business declared on the activity statement?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Fulan,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Yes, loans are also included. They are included under expenses and tagged as “non-CGT principal”. If you are having difficulty in completing your BAS form, it is best to seek help from a BAS agent.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    adamNovember 10, 2016

    Im confused about what material costs are when doing the bas a carpenter, so are material costs the cost of materials that I charge the client? or is it materials like tools, saw blades, drill bits and fixings and things I need for my job?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeNovember 10, 2016Staff

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that is a financial comparison and information website that helps users make better decisions. We are not BAS agents. It would be best for you to get help from a registered BAS agent to be able to prepare an accurate business activity statement. You could also get the services of an expert tax consultant to help you in this regard.


    Default Gravatar
    LisaApril 10, 2015

    My paper bas did not arrive
    I rang ato to ask to resend but a week and a half and still not arrived!!
    My computer is so slow I can’t do online
    Have $ to pay but really worried I can’t seem to get my bas
    I have never had this problem before

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyApril 13, 2015Staff

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that is an online comparison and general information service.

      Unfortunately we can’t assist in this matter, we’d recommend that you get in touch with the ATO again to explain the situation regarding your BAS.


    Default Gravatar
    BrookeMarch 4, 2015

    Is there a threshold on earnings before a BAS need to be lodged?
    I was thinking of creating an online store which I don’t think will generate more than $5000 per year.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyMarch 5, 2015Staff

      Hi Brooke,

      Thanks for your question.

      When you register for an Australian business number (ABN) and GST, the Australian Tax Office will automatically send you a BAS when it is time to lodge.


    Default Gravatar
    RichardMarch 3, 2015

    I have lost my current BAS form – I think it is due today what do I do ?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyMarch 3, 2015Staff

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you’ve lost or haven’t received your paper BAS, you can obtain a copy by phoning the Australian Tax Office on 13 28 66. It’s probably best to let them know that it was due today as well.


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