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Guide to an integrated client account

The Integrated Client Account (ICA) is an account that looks at taxes other than income tax, this is also known as an activity statement account. It may also be referred to as the client activity centre (CAC) or branch activity statement. The Activity Statement account helps businesses stay on top of indirect tax obligations like Goods and Services Tax (GST)

In this article, we’ll summarise what you need to know about Integrated Client Accounts and Activity Statement accounts and the connection between both accounts.

What is an integrated client account?

An Integrated Client Account is an account for all your tax obligations other than income tax, including Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments and GST. It will provide an overview of your business’s lodgements, including payment history to the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) and any outstanding debts you’ve incurred. The ATO uses your activity statement account to aid business owners in making well-informed decisions and to track the outstanding balance you owe. 

What is an activity statement account?

An Activity Statement Account focuses on managing indirect taxes such as GST and PAYG obligations. For businesses registered for GST, an Activity Statement Account allows you to accurately report and pay your GST obligations and other indirect taxes. This streamlines the tax obligation process, as you can report and pay multiple taxes on one form. 

What is an outstanding activity statement balance?

Activity Statement accounts can be used to manage a business's tax obligations, particularly GST and PAYG. When a business registers for GST or PAYG, payments towards either are noted as CR balance (credit) which is placed on the activity statement account. 

Example

Smith’s Plumbing is a business that has registered for PAYG. It forecasts its tax obligations for the upcoming financial year to be $12,000. This means each quarter it pays $3,000 for PAYG. This is because each quarter its activity statement account will show a $3,000 DR balance (debit), meaning that it owes the ATO. When Smith’s Plumbing pays its quarterly PAYG, that money goes into this account as a CR balance, meaning the ATO owes it. Therefore, the total balance at the end of the quarter is $0. 

If at the end of the financial year, the actual total tax owed on income is $20,000. The remaining $8,000 will appear in the income statement account as a DR balance and the total tax owed at the end of the financial year would be $8,000 since they have already prepaid $12,000. 

If for whatever reason PAYG wasn’t paid each quarter, two debts would appear in the MyGov portal: the $12,000 DR balance in the activity statement account and the $8,000 DR balance in the income statement account. The total tax owed in this case at the end of the year would be $20,000.

How to Access the Activity Statement Account

To obtain an ATO activity account statement, you need to follow the steps outlined by the ATO. Please note this is the process as of writing in August 2023 and is subject to change. Here's how you can get an ATO integrated client account statement:

1. Access your ATO online account:

  • Log in to your ATO online account. You'll need to create an account if you don't have one.

2. Navigate to "My Account":

  • Once logged in, navigate to the "My Account" section. This is where you can access services and statements related to your taxes.

3. Access "Tax Account" or "Accounts":

  • Find the section labelled "Tax Account." Click on this section to access your account-related information.

4. View activity statements:

  • Within the "Tax Accounts" section, you can view or access your activity statement account statement (also known as the integrated client account). This provides a consolidated view of your tax transactions, payments, and balances.

5. Generate or download the statement:

  • Download your account statement. The statement may be available in PDF or electronic formats to save or print for your records.

6. Verify information:

  • Review the financial information on your statement to ensure its accuracy. Check for any outstanding balances, payments, refunds, interest charges, or penalties.

7. Contact ATO if needed:

  • If you notice any discrepancies or have questions about the information on the statement, you can contact the ATO on their website. They will be able to assist you with any concerns.

8. Keep records:

  • It's important to keep a copy of your activity statement for your records. This will be useful for tax reporting, compliance, and future reference.

How QuickBooks can help 

Filling out tax-related documentation for the ATO can be stressful, especially when it comes to accurately reporting financial transactions to stay on top of tax obligations.

With accounting software from QuickBooks, you can maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records as a business. It also enables advisors to categorise transactions into different expense categories, making it easier to track deductible expenses.

Sign up for QuickBooks Online today and streamline your reporting processes. 

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