ATO

5 BAS lodgement facts in 5 minutes!

As a BAS Agent, of course I understand how BAS lodgement works [or you would hope that I do lol!] Sometimes I forget that what is old hat for me, can be confusing to my clients or even present as completely new information. Yesterday a client asked me why his monthly instalment activity statement for September hadn’t yet been lodged. The simple answer is that it’s not due yet, something that I thought he understood – apparently not! This has prompted me to write this blog – 5 BAS lodgement facts in 5 minutes. Yep, it will only take you 5 minutes to read this blog which I recommend you do if you don’t understand the mechanics of BAS lodgement.

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Netflix Tax – A Bookkeeper’s View (from the Trenches)

My last blog was all about the new “Netflix Tax” and was really just an informational blog outlining what, how and when etc. In this blog, I want to look at the tax from a bookkeeper’s perspective and provide a real “from the trenches” viewpoint. All is not what it seems with the Netflix Tax!

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What you need to know about Single Touch Payroll

The Government are starting to push through some rather drastic measures in regards to how small business reports to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). In my last blog, I wrote about one of those new measures, Simpler BAS – a new way to report GST for SME’s. In today’s blog, I will introduce another new reporting method called “Single Touch Payroll” (STP). As the name suggests, STP will affect business owners who are also employers. Read on to find out some facts if this affects you.

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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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Recipient created tax invoice template (free download)

Sometimes business owners are required to create tax invoices on behalf of their suppliers. This type of tax invoice is known as a recipient created tax invoice (RCTI). For more specific information about the RCTI, go to our blog here – there’s a free fact sheet to download! The main thing about the RCTI is that you must ensure the information you are using to create them is current and correct. The ATO has an updated template for you to download. This template will help you create the perfect RCTI!

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Can I pre-pay my tax? Yes you can!

Once upon a time, believe it or not, you couldn’t pre-pay your tax – no, really! If you tried to do this, the ATO would just refund it straight back to you because they didn’t know what to do with it! Well, as of January 2016, this has all changed!

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Have you been scammed by the ATO?

This week we want to bring a very serious issue to your attention. There are scammers out there calling people under the guise of being employees from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and demanding money from innocent tax payers in an intimidating & threatening manner.

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Useful ATO web pages all business owners should bookmark

With all of the web content being thrown at us daily via email and social media, it’s hard to know what’s worth reading and what’s just rubbish! If you’re a busy business owner like me, you can’t read everything, there’s just not enough time in the day. However, as a business owner, you also know that there is information out there that you should be across, particularly in relation to taxation, GST and employing. Most of this information can be found on the Australian Taxation Office website, but again, there is a mountain of data to read there, so where do you start? To save you time, I have compiled a list of ATO links I believe will be the most useful for business owners. Take a read through and bookmark the links of interest to you.

Video Player For Web, Useful Links Word On It1. ATO YouTube channel – ato.gov.au

The ATO has it’s own YouTube channel which contains several videos about taxation, GST, running your business, BAS and lots more!

2. Small business newsroom | Small Business Newsroom

There are 2 newsletters to which you can subscribe that regularly provide information about employment issues, GST, Superannation, lodging and paying tax, fringe benefits tax and other general tax advice. The “Small Business Newsroom” is specifically for small business owners while the “Business Bulletins” is directed at medium to large businesses.

3. Book an after hours call back – small business support | After hours web chat | Contact ATO by phone

Need to discuss a taxation issue with the ATO but you’re just too busy during the day? No matter, you can now book an after hours call via the above link. Once booked, a consultant will call you back at the time you specified – a great service! For those who prefer not to talk via telephone, there is also a web chat service. I have also provided the link to telephone numbers you can call during the day if the other 2 options don’t suit you.

4. Order forms and other documents

From time to time, you may need quick access to taxation booklets, forms or other information. One of the best ways to obtain this information is by ordering it online from the ATO. The information will be sent you either via post or email depending on the product.

5. Online services

The ATO has provided the ability for business owners to connect with the ATO electronically for several years now. Business owners can log into their business portal and lodge their own BAS and other forms and can correspond securely with the ATO as required. I highly recommend that all business owners review their options in this space as the ATO is moving further and further towards online platforms and those who ignore this will get left behind. The link above provides more information about this topic.

6. 24 hour self-help services

This service allows you to call the ATO whenever you like to do any of the following:

  • Set up a payment arrangement
  • Lodge a nil activity statement
  • Verify an ABN
  • Register for fuel tax credits
  • and much more!

7. Search – sort by topic | Small business assist

Need to find some taxation information quickly? These 2 links may help. “Search” is an alphabetical listing of various topics while “Small business assist” is a service where by you type in your question and a range of websites and pages will be provided related to the information you require.

8. Dates for current financial year

Not sure when your BAS is due or when you need to pay your employees’ superannuation? This link will help – it’s a list of current key tax lodgement due dates for this financial year.

9. For Employers!

Here is a group of links for those of you who are employers or who are about to employ staff. They include information on employing for the first time, PAYG withholding (what it is and how it works), a tax withholding calculator, the log-on page to the super clearing house and the super guarantee charge statement and calculator tool (for those who have missed the quarterly super payment due date).

10. How the GST works | Claiming business deductions | Home office expenses calculator | Selling or closing your business

This group of links relate to general taxation information about topics and issues that business owners may find useful, especially the business deductions link.

11. Difficulty paying

Having trouble paying tax debt? This link provides information about how to handle this situation.

I hope this list of useful ATO links will prove helpful to you as a business owner. You could bookmark them all or simply bookmark this blog so you can access all links with one click!

As a business owner, do you find yourself using particular ATO web pages all the time? If they aren’t already listed here, please share your links below – they may just help someone else 🙂

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Got a tax debt? Make a payment arrangement!

Recently one of my clients rang me because her business activity debt was very high and she was panicking because she was unable to pay the debt by the due date. I calmly told her to make a payment arrangement with the ATO so she could pay the debt by instalments. My client told me she had never heard of payment arrangements and wasn’t even aware that this payment option existed. I was surprised by this because I thought it was common knowledge. I wondered how many other business owners out there were oblivious to their tax payment options and decided that the best way to educate them would be via a blog, so here goes!

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Employers’ Toolbox (free download)

Are you a new employer? Do you need help with getting started? Do you know what your employer obligations involve? Being an employer is a huge responsibility and brings with it added compliance to which you must adhere if you want to get it right. To assist you in this task, we have created the “Employers’ Toolbox”, a simple guide to getting started including all of the resources you will need along the way.

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