For BAS Agents

Superannuation Services Extended

A new legislative instrument has been released which has extended the services BAS Agents can provide to clients in relation to the super guarantee charge (SGC). BAS Agents have been able to assist clients with superannuation tasks for approximately 2 years now, but this instrument allows them to do more and be of greater benefit to clients.

BAS Agents can currently offer superannuation services to clients like processing, advising upon and lodging monthly/quarterly superannuation guarantee data. The Tax Agent Services (Specified BAS Services Services No. 2) Instrument 2020, as it is known, will allow BAS Agents to expand upon these services to include the following tasks in relation to SGC:

  • Act as an authorised contact on behalf of clients with the ATO in relation to SGC accounts, payment arrangements, penalty remissions, super audit and/or review activity;
  • Advising clients when the superannuation guarantee (SGC) charge applies and why;
  • Advising clients about offsetting late payments of superannuation contributions against the SGC;
  • Completing the late payment offset election section of the SGC statement;
  • Acting on behalf of clients in relation to lodging the SGC statement.

The instrument will also allow BAS Agents to view and access superannuation guarantee and SGC accounts in online services.

If you are a BAS Agent and would like to read the detail of the new instrument, here is the link to the Explanatory Statement.

The new legislation means that we can now assist clients with superannuation services on a much higher level and therefore provide more value than before. We have added these new services to our services page where you can also view other services we provide.

If you would like to find out more about the superannuation guarantee charge, go to this ATO webpage.

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Cleaners & Couriers now required to lodge a Taxable Payments Annual Report

The ATO has now confirmed that those who run a courier and/or cleaning business must lodge a Taxable Payments Annual Report (TPAR) from 1 July 2018.

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One 12 month STP authority to replace a per pay event authority

Accountants Daily have reported this week that the ATO has done a back-flip on the requirement for agents to get written authority from their employer clients to send pay event data to the ATO, each and every pay event. The ATO will now accept one lodgement authority for STP per client, to be renewed annually. This is a common-sense move by the ATO who now understand that asking employers to sign a lodgement authority form for every pay run, is super painful, annoying and inconvenient for all concerned. From the Accountants Daily article:
“Only last week, we had the commissioner sign off on a more streamlined process there. It involves an STP engagement authority, where the employer will do quite detailed authorisation upfront with their agent, in terms of what that agent can do on their behalf, including the fact that they can make those declarations on each STP report for the next 12 months,” Assistant Commissioner and Single Touch Payroll Lead at the ATO John Shepherd told Accountants Daily.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Employers may authorise their registered agents to act on their behalf for Single Touch Payroll (STP) through an annual agreement. ” hashtags=”STP, Payroll, Authorities” template=”light”]

This is very good news for all tax professionals and indeed for their clients. Many clients groan and grump at the continual need to sign authority forms for BAS and income tax lodgements (and others) but do so because they understand the compliance issues behind the action. However, asking employer clients to sign an authority for each and every pay run is completely over the top! Imagine how annoyed they would be if their payroll was on a weekly cycle – that’s 52 signings per year on top of all the other usual signings required – absolutely ridiculous! Luckily someone at the ATO has been listening to all the complaints about this and has seen reason. Now, we as agents only need to get one signature per year for STP lodgements. Finally, some common sense has found itself winding in and around the halls of the ATO!

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Goody Two-Shoes

Recently I was asked by a client to put a hold on the payment of his employee’s SGC (super guarantee contribution) due to an ongoing dispute between them. I of course, refused to do this because it is illegal to hold SGC payments and/or not pay them at all. Did I do this because I’m a little “Goody Two-Shoes” who always does the right thing? Well, to be honest, there probably is a little bit of that involved, but the real reason why I didn’t play the game with that client is that I am a BAS Agent. As such, I am bound by a strict code of conduct which dictates what I can and cannot do. If being a BAS Agent also means you have to be a “Goody Two-Shoes” then so be it – I’m guilty as charged.

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Simpler BAS – simpler in name only?

The ATO has recognised that there are too many labels to complete on the BAS – you can see just how many if you check out my blog series on BAS Labels – way too many! So, to make things easier for small business, a new “simpler BAS” will be introduced from 1 July 2017. It has been designed to help businesses reduce the time spent on BAS compliance and its associated costs. So how exactly does the “Simpler BAS” work and will it actually simplify our business lives? I’m not so sure…….

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Which documents do I have to provide to e-BAS Accounts?

At it’s most basic, bookkeeping involves receiving data in the form of invoices etc. and entering this data into an accounting system. So, if you are one of our clients, before we can start doing your accounts, we will send you a request for a list of documents. The type of document we request from you will depend on the scope of work that we agreed to do for you within your engagement letter.

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Why do I have to sign an engagement letter?

It is customary across many professional industries to use engagement letters or client agreements when on-boarding a new client. They are used by most accounting professionals and are considered best practice. An engagement letter protects both the consultant and the client in the event anything should go awry during the engagement. We certainly use engagement letters in our practice and if you are a new client you will be asked to sign one. The engagement letter is step three in our on-boarding procedure (see step one here and step two here). This blog will cover why you need to sign one and details what we include in our letters.

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How we work with you to get your BAS done

When I’m checking out companies on social media I often see that they’re doing exactly what I’m doing – sharing content related to their industries rather than sharing information directly about their companies. They do this so as not to come off as doing the “hard sell” to potential customers but rather go the “soft sell” approach by offering free content in the hopes that customers will visit their website through sheer intrigue. Don’t get me wrong, this approach does work – I should know, I use it! Lately, however, when pursuing companies on social media, I’ve started to really wish that they would just tell me what their product does and how to use it. Yes, I appreciate the extra free content they provide, but in general, if I’m half interested in their product, all I really want to see is information about that product. So that said, I’ve decided to apply this rationale to my own blogging strategy for a bit because I wouldn’t mind betting there are potential customers out there saying the same thing about this e-BAS Accounts! For the next few weeks, this blog will be all about e-BAS Accounts – how we work and the products and services we provide. That’s right – it’s going to be all about us – the how, why and what! To kick off this new blogging strategy, today’s blog is going to be all about our Business Activity Statement (BAS) procedure. I’ll explain what we do and what clients need to do (and stop doing) to make this “system” work.

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How to account for prepayments and GST

Towards the end of each financial year, many business owners review their expenses and pinpoint which ones can be prepaid before June 30 in order to obtain a substantial tax deduction. Typically, expenses such as office rent and insurance are paid 12 months in advance and are then classified as prepayments. This is particularly useful if the profit margin is high and the business owner wishes to reduce tax payable (and who doesn’t!). But how do you enter these transactions into your accounts and how is GST affected? Let’s review this now.

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Want your bookkeeper to prepare & lodge your BAS? Better ask these 3 questions first!

So you have an awesome bookkeeper who keeps your business accounts super organised. S/he keeps on top of slow paying customers, reminds you to pay your bills, provides some pretty slick-looking reports and has those boring conversations with your accountant that you always avoid. Sounds like you’re onto a winner – good for you! Now you’ve decided to go one step further and you’re going to ask your bookkeeper to prepare and lodge your BAS on your behalf. Okay, well before you do, you’d better ask him/her these 3 key questions:

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