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BAS: The Basics

If you’re a self-employed person, you’ve probably heard about BAS. But what you may not know is whether you’re required to pay it, what the deadlines are and how you go about meeting your obligations smoothly.

BAS is an acronym for Business Activity Statements – and a tax-related requirement of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Basically, the ATO uses information you provide on your BAS to calculate your GST, PAYG and other tax obligations.

Acronyms aside, not everyone who is self-employed is required to complete BAS. Here’s what you should know.

No BAS for Businesses under $75k

If your business turnover is under the stated threshold (currently $75,000), you’re not required to register your business as GST active, and therefore not required to complete regular BAS.

The flipside is that you’re also not permitted to charge GST on your invoices, or refer to them as ‘tax’ invoices. The ATO takes this offence quite seriously, so make sure your business complies.

Using the Online System

There are a number of ways you can lodge BAS, but the easiest is by using ATO’s online business portal.

You’ll need to register to use online services, and it helps to have all your documents handy once you’re logged on, as the system can log you off after a period of inactivity.

If you have smart business software such as QuickBooks Online, you can set up your BAS lodgement directly through it This is a convenient method if you manage your invoices, receipts, debts and payments via a software management program, and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.

Keep Track of Due Dates

Tax lodgement software is also a great way to keep track of due dates for BAS lodgement, which may be monthly or quarterly. However, if you don’t have business software, you can keep up with your BAS obligations by simply setting up reminders on your smartphone or calendar.

If you need an extension, you can request another two weeks in some cases, but you need to make that request within certain timeframes.

Completing Your BAS

Your BAS consists of several sections, including GST, PAYG, Fringe Benefits Tax, Fuel Credits, among others.

The key thing to note is you will need to complete a BAS even if you had no income in that period. However, in that case a phone call to the ATO might be the simplest way to meet your reporting obligations.

With a regular, efficient BAS reporting process, you will save time and reduce stress, while minimising any run-ins with the ATO.

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