The business activity statement (BAS) is a form submitted to the Australian Taxation Office on either a monthly or quarterly basis. It’s used to summarise the amounts of GST payable and receivable by you for a certain period, as well as a range of other taxes including pay as you go (PAYG) withholding tax and Australian business number (ABN) withholding tax. Its aim is to allow a business to report and pay a number of tax obligations in one transaction.
Your BAS may include some or all of the following:
• PAYG income tax instalment (which will include the flood levy where applicable)
• PAYG tax withheld
• Fringe benefits tax (FBT) instalment
• Luxury car tax
• Wine equalisation tax
• Fuel tax credits
• Instalment notices for GST and/or PAYG instalments
All business owners who are registered for GST must lodge a BAS for each period, whether monthly or quarterly. Here are some of the main reporting requirements of a typical BAS:
1. 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. The period can be:
“For every 28-day period (or part thereof) that you’re late in lodging, you can be charged $110.”
Monthly Reporting: The 21st day of every month for the period just gone
Generally, businesses can lodge and pay quarterly if annual turnover is less than $20 million, and total annual PAYG withholding is $25,000 or less. Non-business individuals are generally required to lodge and pay quarterly.
|Quarter||Due date (Manual Filing)||Due date (Online Filing)|
|July to September||28 October||11 November|
|October to December||28 February||28 February|
|January to March||28 April||12 May|
|April to June||28 July||11 August|
Annually Reporting (pertaining to GST return): Is sent out after the fourth quarter BAS, and needs to be lodged by either 28 February, or before your yearly income tax return is due, whichever comes first.
2. 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.
3. Australian Business Number: The ABN is another mandatory requirement on a business activity statement. With the help of the ABN the taxation authorities can determine which business the BAS is being submitted for.
Lodging and paying your business activity statements has now been made easier with the option to pay via credit card. Your BAS can be lodged online, through your accountant, by mail, over the phone, or at Australia Post.
Even if your business hasn’t traded (received income or incurred expenses), it’s still vital that you complete the form and lodge it with the ATO.
If you don’t submit your business activity statements on time you may fall subject to a failure to lodge (FTL) penalty. The fines can be higher if you’re often late in lodging your BAS. For every 28-day period (or part thereof) that you’re late in lodging, you can be charged $110; however, you cannot incur charges of more than $550.
(Note: the penalty is doubled if your business turns over more than $1 million but less than $20 million, and is five times higher if your turnover is more than $20 million).
Correct a mistake in statements and returns taxpayers have lodged
Taxpayers may need to correct the information they reported to ATO for a variety of reasons –because they made a mistake in entering a figure, failed to show some income or a gain, incorrectly claimed deductions, or the circumstances changed in relation to something they reported after they lodged a return.
Whatever the reason, they should correct any error as quickly as possible. In some cases, there are legal time limits to making adjustments. And the longer they leave it, the greater the possible results in terms of interest and penalties they may have to pay.
Debit error time limits
The time limit that applies to taxpayers depends on their current GST turnover. Most people and organizations have up to 18 months to identify and correct an error that increases their GST or reduces their fuel tax credit (see the table below).
You can only correct a debit error on a later activity statement if it is within the debit error time limit.
|Current GST Turnover||Time limit|
|Less than $20m||18 months from the due date of the activity statement in which the error was made.|
|$20m or more||12 months from the due date of the activity statement in which the error was made.|