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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.

What is a business activity statement?

If you run a business, you will probably need to lodge a business activity statement. This is a report that is submitted to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) either every month or every quarter, depending on the type of business you run.

On the basis of this report, various business taxes are paid to the relevant tax office. These taxes can include:

  • 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 of the above types of taxes. Your BAS will only include a detailed report about those types of taxes that your business is eligible to pay.

What do I need to include on my BAS?

You will be sent a form by the ATO which details everything you need to provide. The primary sections include:

GST

There are different options of how you report GST, depending on how often you calculate, report and pay it. You will need to specify in your BAS what your reporting period is.

PAYG tax withheld

You will need to include the total dollar amount of salaries and wages paid, as well as the amount of tax withheld Woman doing taxesfrom those payments.

PAYG income tax

There are two options for reporting the business' income tax instalment, depending on how you report and calculate it.

What you owe

Based on the information you have provided on GST and PAYG you will need to calculate how much you owe to the ATO (from sales, tax withheld etc.), as well as how much the ATO owes you (from GST on purchases and credit from PAYG income tax instalments). Combining these two numbers together will tell you a final figure of how much you owe or how much is owed to you.

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.

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

How do I prepare for my BAS?

The ATO recommends that you keep good records to stay on top of your business. In particular you should:

  • keep records of all sales, fees, expenses, wages and other business costs
  • keep appropriate records, such as stocktake records and logbooks to substantiate motor vehicle claims
  • reconcile sales with bank statements
  • use the correct GST accounting method
  • keep all your tax invoices and other GST records for five years.

Other tips for preparing your BAS

Keep good records.

  • keep records of all sales, fees, expenses, wages and other business costs;
  • keep appropriate records, such as stocktake records and logbooks to substantiate motor vehicle claims;
  • reconcile sales with bank statements;
  • use the correct GST accounting method.

Avoid manual errors.

  • check you are using the correct formulas to work out GST;
  • have a separate column for GST in your cash book;
  • make sure that column totals and row totals in your cashbooks are the same;
  • classify and enter transactions into your accounts payable and accounts receivable systems correctly;
  • use an electronic record keeping system tailored to your business type. Many systems can help you to streamline your administration tasks.

Completing your BAS.

  • enter whole dollar amounts – leave cents out and don't round up to the next dollar;
  • enter each invoice once only;
  • if you account for GST on a cash basis, your expenses and sales must fall within the period you made or received payment;
  • only complete the fields that apply to you – if you have nothing to report, enter zero;
  • if you're doing this manually, double check your figures and calculations;
  • you can always correct a mistake made on an earlier BAS.

Need help with your business taxes? Compare online tax agents.

Name Product Fee for unlimited income items - Wages Deduction Item Fees Online tax returns
FinTax Group
FinTax Group
$79*
$0 for up to $1000 of deductions
$65 for an investment property
Australia wide
Lodge individual & company tax returns online or in-person. Fast online form with additional options to complete tax returns for investment properties, sole trader tax and share investments.
Everest Tax & Business Advisors
Everest Tax & Business Advisors
$80*
Business tax: starting from $250
General deductions: $0
For motor vehicle expenses: $15
Australia wide
A boutique firm that provides personalised experiences for all customers. Ideal option for individuals and small businesses based in Perth.
One Minute Tax
One Minute Tax
$99*
$0
Australia wide
Option to pay with your tax refund for an extra fee of $20. Lodge individual & company tax returns. Fast online form & free live chat. Special offer for business owners: Register your new company for only $499 (includes $488 worth of government fees and $100 cashback into your new business bank account). Click 'Go to site' to find out more. T&Cs apply.
Taxgain
Taxgain
$99*
$0 for up to 2 deductions
$29 for additional deductions
Australia wide
Option to pay with your tax refund for an extra fee of $29. Online and in-person tax services for individuals, sole traders and companies.
Hotman & Brown
Hotman & Brown
$99*
Business tax: starting from $179
$29 for up to 2 deductions
Additional $29 for extra deductions
N/A
Option to pay with your tax refund for an extra fee of $29. Basic tax returns over the phone Australia-wide. In-person individual and business tax returns in Melbourne.
Bennetts Tax & BAS service
Bennetts Tax & BAS service
$155*
finder Exclusive: $5 discount
$0 for all work related deductions
Australia wide
finder Exclusive: $5 discount when you apply for a tax return with Bennetts Tax through finder. Click 'Go to site' and complete the contact form to find out more. Income item fee includes returns on interest, dividends, Superannuation and pension. A flexible option for individuals, sole traders and companies.
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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
      JeniOctober 5, 2018Finder

      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!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    adamNovember 10, 2016

    Im confused about what material costs are when doing the bas statement.im 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
      DeeNovember 10, 2016Finder

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that finder.com.au 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.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    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
      ShirleyApril 13, 2015Finder

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that finder.com.au 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.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

    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
      ShirleyMarch 5, 2015Finder

      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.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

    Default Gravatar
    RichardMarch 3, 2015

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

      AvatarFinder
      ShirleyMarch 3, 2015Finder

      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.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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