If you own a business that is registered to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) then you must lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS).
When you register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and GST the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will automatically send you a BAS form when it is time to lodge. The frequency of your lodgement depends on the size of your business.
Your BAS will help you report and pay your:
- goods and services tax (GST)
- pay as you go (PAYG) instalments
- PAYG withholding tax
- other taxes
Your BAS is broken up into sections, called ‘labels’, and you need to fill out different labels depending on how you choose to report and pay.
Due dates for lodging and paying your Business Activity Statement
Lodging and paying your BAS on time helps your business run smoothly.
The due date for lodging and paying is displayed on your BAS form which is sent by the ATO. You can access extended due dates if you are with a registered BAS or Tax Agent.
If the due date is on a weekend or public holiday, you can lodge and pay on the next business day.
If you lodge your quarterly activity statements online you may be eligible for a two week deferral. If you use the services of a tax agent, you are given more time concessions. The due dates are explained in the table below:
|Quarter||Due date||Due date through tax agent|
|1 – July, August and September||28 October||25 November 2017|
|2 – October, November and December||28 February||No lodgment concessions for Q2|
|3 – January, February and March||28 April||26 May 2018|
|4 – April, May and June||28 July||25 August 2018 |
*to be confirmed by ATO later this year
The due date for your monthly BAS is usually the 21st day of the month following the end of the taxable period. There are no time concessions on monthly reporting.
How do I lodge and pay my Business Activity Statement?
You can lodge your BAS electronically, by mail or for nil lodgments over the phone. You can pay electronically, by mail or in person at Australia Post.
To avoid penalties you need to lodge and pay on time. You can also take the stress out of the situation by appointing your tax agent to do it on your behalf. If you can’t lodge or pay by the due date, you must contact the ATO to notify them of the issue.
Think you might qualify for a refund on your Business Activity Statement?
If you have an ABN the ATO will pay refunds directly into your nominated financial institution account.
Generally, this account needs to be at an Australian branch and held either:
- in your company, business or trading name (this can also be held jointly with another business or individual)
- by your registered tax agent.
If you don’t have an ABN, the ATO will generally pay your refund by cheque.
Keep your records in order
You must keep a copy of your BAS along with the records you used to prepare it, until the latest of:
- five years after the transaction was completed
- four years after you lodged your BAS
- if your assessment has been amended, four years after the date you received the notice of amended assessment.
All records should be in writing and in English. Information stored electronically must be in a form that is readily accessible. You can also task your accountant with keeping records, but you must provide detailed information to make sure everything is watertight.
What if you can’t pay or lodge your Business Activity Statement on time?
You must get in touch with the ATO or your tax agent to act on your behalf if you can’t lodge or pay by the due date.
A penalty may apply if you fail to lodge on time, so even if you can’t pay, do your best to lodge on time to avoid this extra cost.
Usually, you can enter into a payment plan. Your tax agent may advise you on such matters and can work out a suitable payment scenario based on your circumstances.
What if you have made a mistake in your Business Activity Statement?
When completing a BAS you may discover that you have made a mistake, or left something out of a previous BAS.
You can correct some mistakes you made previously in your current BAS or you may need to lodge a revised BAS to correct the mistake.
Correcting a mistake on current BAS is different from making an adjustment. You make an adjustment because the price of a sale or purchase changes, but you make a correction because you have transposed figures incorrectly or accidentally left amounts off your earlier activity statement.
More information on correcting GST mistakes can be found here.