BAS Errors You Need To Avoid

When it comes to preparing and lodging Business Installment Activity Statements (BAS), you might be unaware of the mistakes you have already committed. It is important to pay heed to these statements and make sure you avoid these common mistakes.

1. Selecting the cash method

Do you understand the implications of a turnover? Perhaps, you need to be aware of these things because they play a critical role when it comes to registering for GST with the ATO. If your business has a turnover of less than $2 million, you need to select whether you are going to use the cash or accrual accounting method. More often than not small businesses opt for the cash method, but this may not always be a good choice. For cash-based businesses that have no debtors and creditors to pay, the accrual method is a great option to consider. This option allows you to claim the GST back on purchases immediately. You will not hurt your cash flow this way. Make sure you update your bookkeeping system with this method and correct reports must be printed.

2. Not declaring the wage amount when preparing a quarterly BAS

If you are withholding more than $25,000 per annum in PAYG Withholding from your employees, the ATO will decide to move you to a lodgement cycle which is on a monthly basis. The advice will be done in writing. Once advised, you will need to lodge monthly Instalment Activity Statements (IAS) and quarterly Business Activity Statements (BAS). You should also take note of the lodgement schedule for GST and PAYG. GST must be reported once a quarter while PAYG should be reported once a month.

3. Varying your PAYG Income Tax Instalment without the accountant’s advice

When calculating your tax amount, the ATO is usually working about one to two years behind the actual amount you should be paying. You have to understand that circumstances can really change over these years especially when businesses grow or shrink. These circumstances may lead to changing your income tax instalment amount. You need to check with your accountant or bookkeeper before you consider revising the amount paid. If you choose to vary your instalment downwards without the advice from your accountant, you may end up paying fines and penalties.

4. Failing to lodge by the deadline

Take note of the lodgement dates so you will no risk falling behind. For BAS, you need to lodge on the 28th day of the month following the quarter except for the December quarter where the due date is moved to 28 February. For businesses lodging via a Tax agent or BAS agent, you will be given an extra lodge in addition to your lodgement date. Avoid late lodgements as the ATO will fine you $180 for each month of delayed submission of BAS.

Registering For GST:What You Need To Know

There are many decisions that starting a new business entails and one of which is whether you register for GST. There are businesses that automatically register for GST, but some businesses are not aware that registration is optional. However, for businesses with annual turnover of $75,000 or more, GST registration will be mandatory. For turnover less than this, GST registration will be optional. The option to register will depend on cash flow and administrative implications of your decision.

The cash flow implications if you decide to not register for GST would mean selling prices will be effectively 10% cheaper than the registered competitors for a turnover below the $75,000 threshold. You can also charge the same price as your competitor to enjoy a healthier profit margin. You also have to keep in mind that there are businesses that may not be sure about buying from those that have not registered for GST because of deeming their credibility questionable. This will also affect your sales. Some businesses prefer to purchase from businesses that have registered for GST as a way of claiming the GST back.

You also have to take the administrative requirements into consideration because GST registration means additional administration work. You will also have to report to the ATO on a quarterly basis. There are two distinct roles you need to remember once you have registered your business: the running of the business and acting as a tax collector for the ATO.

Registering for GST

You will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) when registering for GST and it can be done in three ways: online via Business Portal, by phone and through your registered BAS agent or tax agent. You will be notified in writing of your registration details once you complete the registration process. It will also include the date your registration is effective.

Cancelling your GST registration

When you decide to close or sell your business, you need to cancel your registration within 21 days. Cancellation of GST registration is also necessary if your business structure changes. An example of this is when you change your business from partnership to a company.

YOu may also cancel your GST registration if your GST turnover is below the compulsory registration threshold, unless you:

> are an Australian resident who serves as an agent for a non-resident that is required to be registered or registered for GST;
>are a taxi driver;
>represent an individual who is registered or bankrupt;
>are a business that is in liquidation or is registered for GST

Improve Your Bookkeeping System With These Techniques

These days, businesses have been more open to welcoming changes in workplace environment. More and more business owners have realised the potential of a mobile workforce to increase productivity by bringing innovation into your workplace. If you used to dread repetitive tasks because they are slowing you down, you need to adopt new and intelligent technology to change your business operations. There are three techniques you can employ so you can improve the overall performance of your business.

1. Improve your filing system

More often than not, business owners find themselves filing receipts and invoices to comply with the ATO. While this is the best practice to follow, the task may take long to carry out. You will need to file and manage receipts and invoices regularly to make sure that the essential documents are still intact. When filing receipts, use cloud-based programs so you will no longer have problems retrieving files when you need them. When you use bookkeeping software or cloud-based applications in filing your receipts, it will be easy for your people to access information from any device at any time.

2. Improve your information sharing capability

One reason that can delay the pace of your business operations is when  essential information is not available to your employees. When they have to go from one person to another just to get the information they need, the task can be really time-consuming. Instead of finishing the report in a day, you can end up dealing with it for days. This is why you need to improve the accessibility of your information so it will be much easier for your employees to coordinate with others in case you want to generate financial reports. When you integrate technology with your business, it will be much easier for your employees to collaborate. They can also access documents from their own mobile device. You can also increase productivity when your employees find it easy and convenient to access all the necessary information they need.

3. Streamline your bookkeeping processes

It is necessary to enhance your bookkeeping system if you are struggling with your accounts payable processing. When you lose sight of your cash flow, BAS payments to the ATO may also suffer. Real-time bookkeeping must be encouraged, which can be done with the help of bookkeeping software. The software will help you determine the suppliers you need to pay and vice versa. Week payment schedule will not be forgotten if you have a streamlined business process. You can even pay off each bill before the due date.

How To Enhance Your Bookkeeping Process

While going digital does not necessarily mean jumping at every new technology on offer, you still need to act fast or you will end up left behind of businesses that have already used advanced tools to simplify bookkeeping processes. Bookkeeping has come a long way because of the existence of software and management tools. The software can reduce repetitive tasks and let you carry out a task easily. The software lets you reconcile bank statements and even generate financial report without worrying about errors. Here are some tools that can assist you in finishing your bookkeeping task.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the future of bookkeeping and it is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to reducing bookkeeping’s turnaround time. These services provide real-time information and they can also extract key data from receipts. The details you need are published into cloud-based accounting software and can be retrieved anytime you need them. You can also provide real-time information so you can reconcile accounts. Cloud computing enables you to collaborate with accountants and bookkeepers.

Project Management Tools

Interpreting numbers and providing recommendations to key stakeholders are also the responsibilities of a bookkeeper. Technology is going to be important in this process. If your bookkeeper to prepare financial statements and reconcile accounts with ease, project management and time tracking tools are going to be necessary. These tools will enable business owners to monitor workflow and ensure that inefficiencies in the workplaces are addressed. Aside from monitoring workflow, the tools can also help business owners find out about customers who are generating the most revenue. The management can bring data together and provide details of your goods and budget. The tool will help you analyse customers by industry, geography and the products they purchased.

Bookkeeping Platform

When it comes to bookkeeping, each business need to accomplish unique goals, and using one-size-fits-all approach will never work. When choosing bookkeeping platform, it is important to choose the platform that can be customised. Platforms that enable customisation let you add new features and functionality. You can also opt for application programming interfaces that let you share pieces of software and communicate data. These abilities will help you integrate mobile payment systems, point of sale and email marketing.

These tools have features that can address your business needs and help you accomplish your business goals. Make sure you know the software that can help you reap the benefits of bookkeeping technology.

Bookkeeping Technology: Bane or Boon?

When desktop software products came to existence, many businesses today cannot imagine doing work without using them. It is due to the efficiency of these essential tools. These days, cloud technology is making huge waves by changing bookkeeping. Firms that have adopted the cloud-based technology earlier became more efficient as they have better service levels and higher margins. These advantages are used in many different ways such as accelerating growth while decreasing fees. However, you have to keep in mind that cloud technology can make or break your business depending on how you adopt to it.

How can business owners make the most out of bookkeeping technology?

Business owners want access and ease and what better way to obtain these benefits than to adopt cloud technology. Cloud-based technology makes life easier because of automating bookkeeping processes, which used to take a large chunk of your time. This means you can reduce the burden of manual tasks by carrying out the task quickly and efficiently.

More often than not, the bookkeeping process is focused on extraction and data entry. However, these tasks can be more prone to errors if they are not carefully checked. This is why replacing these tasks with automation is the way to go. Since technology requires speed, you need to act fast or you will be left behind. This does not necessarily mean that you are going to replace your bookkeeper with a microchip. You just need to have a more efficient way of taking care of your bookkeeping duties.

Technology will change the way you work and during the transition, you will play a crucial role to ensuring that the adoption will become as smooth as possible. The cloud-based bookkeeping software gathers data, which you can look at each month using a different approach. This modern approach can help improve your productivity by giving you the ability to analyse data in real time.

Aside from ensuring that frequent delays are identified, you can also prioritise tasks by urgency. You can also assign team members to the tasks that suit their skill sets. Even the cost of efficiency can be determined across a number of factors. Such positive results will also benefit practices by reducing expenses and improving productivity. Technology will become an enemy if you choose to ignore. It is important to change your way of thinking by ensuring that adoption becomes as smooth as possible. The only way you will realise the true value of bookkeeping technology is when you start embracing transformation.

The Benefits Of Cloud Bookkeeping

One of the most difficult parts of running your business is ensuring that your finances are on their feet. You try to keep track of your financial activities but you cannot get updates in real-time as there are other areas of your business you need to focus on. This is where cloud bookkeeping comes in. It has a lot of benefits to business owners such as eliminating time-consuming tasks so it becomes a problem of the past. Cloud bookkeeping has brought efficiency into every business because of its ability to automate manual tasks. As repetitive tasks are reduced, you will have more time to spend on other areas of your business. It gives you greater peace of mind knowing that you have attended to all essential areas of your business that you want to improve on.

1. Real-time financial information

Managing your cash flow is very important to your financial success as a business owner. When you manually carry out your day-to-day tasks, you miss out on having real-time insight into your finances. When you always lack timely financial information, you can surely break your business. With cloud bookkeeping, you will be able to have an auto-updated information of your company’s financial health. There is no need to wait for days to generate the information as the report can be generated in 24 hours.

2. Collaboration Becomes Easier Than Before

It is easy for bookkeepers and advisors to get the information they need when you adopt cloud solution. They can access the information whenever, wherever. As a result, collaboration is simplified and accountants and bookkeepers have greater control of their time.

3. Efficiently Assist Clients In Less Time

Automation alongside cloud bookkeeping can bring speed and efficiency into your company because it boosts your productivity. When it does not take so much of your time to support clients, more and more people will not hesitate to do business with you.

4. Updated Cloud Software Without Extra Cost

One of the best things about cloud software is that you can get updates without any extra cost. In the past, you need to purchase an update version of the software so you can continue to enjoy technology’s rapid development. Cloud software updates take place without any extra cost.

5. Easily Back Up Data

When it comes to backing your data, you often find yourself delaying the process because the process is burdensome. Since cloud integrates your data, backup becomes automatic. In fact, it becomes part of your workflow so you do not have to spend too much time on the process.

Tax Deductions Your Business Might Have Overlooked

Even in businesses, old habits die hard and when left unchecked, they can create a ripple effect on the most critical area of your business. When running your business, you need to see to it that you are sharper and smarter. The expenses you incur is often claimed as deductions. However, deductions for domestic or private expenses are not considered valid for claims. There are also some other expenses that are excluded. This is why you need to check the following as you may have overlooked them come tax time:

Prepay Expenses

Prepaying your expenses is one reason for overlooked tax deduction. Prepaying your expenses can be done to cover a time-frame, which should not exceed more than one year. The purpose of prepaying expenses is to bring forward your operating expenses before each financial year ends. Some examples of expenses you can prepay are insurance, training events, travel expenses, rent, phone and others.

Employee Deductions

Your employees’ salaries, bonuses, wages and even commissions taking place before the end of each financial year can be deducted. This can be done even if you have not physically made the payment to your staff by that date. The said payment still counts as work performed within the specified financial year despite the wages and salary not appearing in the PAYG payment summary of the employee until the next financial year.

Accounting and banking expenses

Bookkeeping, accounting and activity statement preparation are considered the most common deductions you make when running your business. Common deductions may also include marketing and general advertising costs. However, bank fees and charges are still overlooked.

Stock and Inventory

Everything counts with tax deductions and with that said it is important to check your stock and determine which ones are damaged or obsolete. Make sure you write it off or write it down because this practice will create a great impact on the trading stock’s value and your profit margins. Make sure you consider how to value your stock trading every financial year because there might be a possibility that you will be entitled to a tax deduction especially when your opening stocks have already exceeded the closing stock.

Bad Debts

Bad debts and financial loss can also be overlooked. As much as possible, you should speak to your financial advisor so you can discuss the steps you need to take to minimise the impact of the loss. Make an attempt to recover bad debts. You can also document the debt as evidence and your financial advisor can help you with the process.

It is imperative that you keep track of the tax laws and regulations as they change frequently. You can prevent issues with filing your tax claims if you aware of these changes.

4 Bookkeeping Tasks That Need To Be Automated

Although there are some businesses  embracing business automation, others are still left behind due to retaining traditional business processes such as bookkeeping. The tasks involved in bookkeeping can be long, tiring and tedious because you need to make sure that the information you enter is error-free. There are four essential bookkeeping tasks that need to be automated:

Invoicing

There are other areas of your business that you need to focus on and this can lead to losing track of the people you paid and the ones you haven’t. A bookkeeping software can get you covered because it automatically generates invoices. The bookkeeping software can prevent oversight, which usually happens when you do not monitor payments. Problems with invoicing are a serious matter because it can lead to losing money and cash flow issues.

Bookkeeping software that lets you generate invoices that you can email or print is definitely the way to go. Your bookkeeping software has an automated system that can help you sustain sufficient cash flow while you are waiting for your next payment. The software also gives you the ability to work in conjunction with your bookkeeping software so you can request corresponding funds or select an outstanding invoice for a specific period of time. Payments are also deposited into your account as early as the next day.

Payroll

Payroll taxes are often considered by small business owners as the biggest burden because of the grueling hours spent for managing payroll. Bookkeepers often spend 10 hours or more on a monthly basis for taking care of payroll taxes. In a year, bookkeepers are spending a total of 120 hours per year for this task alone. When you automate your payroll system, you can cut down your bookkeeping load and create an instant paycheck and calculate your payroll taxes.

Inventory

Taking inventory may take days but the time you spend on this bookkeeping task can be reduced when you decide on automating your inventory management. You can create sales report by integrating your inventory management with your bookkeeping software. The bookkeeping software can also help you generate invoices and reduce inventory errors.

Expense Reporting

Not submitting your expense reports is a company policy violation and these variables can also cost you money. Make sure you automate expense reporting for a streamlined bookkeeping process. With automation, you will be able to have the ability to use your mobile devices to take pictures of your receipts. You can also generate reports and integrate them with travel bookkeeping so you can keep track of your travel expenses.

Modern Bookkeeping For New Business Owners

Bookkeeping can be an entrepreneur’s pain point if there is no proper process put in place. While you can certainly resort to DIY bookkeeping, the result can be disastrous once you have lost track of the most important details that should be in your financial report. Mention the word ‘taxes’ and it will sure bring chills to any business owner. Aside from the physical pain for paying a percentage of your hard earned income, you will also have to ensure that you agree to the term and conditions so you do not trigger an audit from the ATO. There are some questions that may linger in your mind regarding taxes and not knowing how to solve them can create a negative effective on your business. This is where a modern bookkeeper comes in.

A bookkeeper will help you keep track of your expenses and identify which expenses are considered eligible for write-offs. They will also help you keep track of your income especially for payments coming in from various sources. While these tasks can be overwhelming, your bookkeeper will help you ensure that you will not be intimidated by taxes. When it comes to taking care of your taxes, you just need to take it one step at a time. First, you need to break down your income sources and break them into payments. Your bookkeeper will help you track the payment transaction as you go and track the every single expense that you incur while you operate your business. Once you have these two figures, the next thing you should do is to determine the net loss or profit of your business.

Your bookkeeper should also keep track of your working hours on a weekly basis as this can help you break down your hourly rate. Tracking these things on excel will definitely suffice, but it is also much better to track them using bookkeeping programs. When you have complicated rules, it is really easy to get overwhelmed. This is why it is best to personalise rules and simplify the process as much as possible.

You must also understand that there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ approach. Make sure you keep track of your taxes and do not consider a professional bookkeeper as an additional expense. Bookkeeping will no longer be a pain point of your business if you know how to make the process simple with the help of a reliable bookkeeper.

Key Lodgment And Payment Dates

time-481450_1280Have you ever shouldered late fees and penalties as you were completely unaware of the important dates for payment and lodgment? While it is quite understandable that you are busy focusing on other aspects of your business, it is also important that you know the key dates especially when it comes to paying your taxes. Many business owners have gotten themselves into trouble due to late payments. It is essential to every business owner to take note of important payment and lodgment dates to avoid penalties. Your bookkeeper should see to it that you do not miss these following dates:

July 2016

21 July

Lodge and pay June 2016 monthly activity statement.
Lodge and pay 2015–16 quarter 4 PAYG instalment activity statement for head companies of consolidated groups.

28 July

Lodge and pay quarterly activity statement for quarter 4, 2015–16 – paper.
Pay quarterly instalment notice (form R, S or T) for quarter 4, 2015–16. Lodgment is only required if you vary the instalment amount.
Employers must make super guarantee contributions for quarter 4, 2015–16 to the funds by this date.
Employers who do not pay minimum super contributions for quarter 4 by this date must pay the super guarantee charge and lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly (NAT 9599) with us by 28 August 2016.

Note: The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible

31 July

Lodge TFN report for closely held trusts for TFNs quoted to a trustee by beneficiaries in quarter 4, 2015–16.
Lodge Venture capital deficit tax return for June balancers.
Lodge Franking account return for 30 June balancers when there is an amount payable.

August 2016

14 August

Lodge the PAYG withholding payment summary annual report for:
large withholders whose annual withholding is greater than $1 million
payers who have no tax agent or BAS agent involved in preparing the report.

21 August

Lodge and pay July 2016 monthly activity statement.

25 August

Lodge and pay quarterly activity statement for quarter 4, 2015–16 – tax agents and BAS agents – if you are lodging using:
electronic lodgment service (ELS)
electronic commerce interface (ECI)
Tax Agent Portal
BAS Agent Portal
practitioner lodgment service (PLS).

28 August

Lodge the Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly and pay the super guarantee charge for quarter 4, 2015–16 if the employer did not pay enough contributions on time.

Employers who lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly can choose to offset contributions they paid late to a fund against their super guarantee charge for the quarter. They will still have to pay the remaining super guarantee charge to us.

Note: The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible

For help working out the super guarantee charge and preparing the Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly, use our Super guarantee charge statement and calculator tool.

Lodge Taxable payments annual report – building and construction industry.

September 2016

21 September

Lodge and pay August 2016 monthly activity statement.

30 September

Lodge the PAYG withholding payment summary annual report for payers whose registered agent (BAS agent or tax agent) helped prepare the report.
If a payer has only closely held payees and their tax agent helps prepare their report, they may be eligible for a concession to lodge this report by the due date of their tax return.
Lodge Annual TFN withholding report 2016 when a trustee of a closely held trust has been required to withhold amounts from payments to beneficiaries.

October 2016

21 October

Pay annual PAYG instalment notice (Form N). Lodgment is only required if you vary the instalment amount or use the rate method to calculate the instalment.
Lodge and pay quarterly PAYG instalment activity statement for quarter 1, 2016–17 for head companies of consolidated groups.
Lodge and pay September 2016 monthly activity statement.

28 October

Lodge and pay quarterly activity statement for quarter 1, 2016–17 – paper lodgments.
Pay quarterly instalment notice (form R, S, or T) for quarter 1, 2016–17. Lodgment is only required if you vary the instalment amount.
Employers must make super guarantee contributions for quarter 1, 2016–17 to the funds by this date.
Employers who do not pay minimum super contributions for quarter 1 by this date must pay the super guarantee charge and lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly (NAT 9599) with us by 28 November 2016.

Note: The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible

Lodge and pay annual activity statement for TFN withholding for closely held trusts where a trustee of a closely held trust withheld amounts from payments to beneficiaries during the 2015–16 income year.

31 October

Final date to appoint a tax agent to the income tax role for any new client. If you advise us of your appointment after this date, the client’s 2016 tax return may not be covered by your lodgment program.

Note: The lodgment program is a concession to registered agents. We can ask for documents to be lodged earlier than the concessional due dates.

Lodge tax returns for all entities if one or more prior year returns were outstanding as at 30 June 2016.

Note: This means all prior year returns must be lodged, not just the immediate prior year

If all outstanding prior year returns have been lodged by 31 October 2016, the system will reset the 2016 tax return due date as in the normal program.

SMSFs in this category must lodge their complete Self-managed superannuation fund annual return by this date.

Lodge and pay Self-managed superannuation fund annual return (NAT 71226) for new registrant (taxable and non-taxable) SMSF where we have advised the SMSF the first year return will have a 31 October 2016 due date.

Lodge tax return for all entities prosecuted for non-lodgment of prior year returns and advised of a lodgment due date of 31 October 2016:

Some prosecuted clients may have been given a different lodgment due date – refer to the letter you received for the applicable due date.
Payment (if required) for individuals and trusts in this category is due as advised in their notice of assessment.
Payment (if required) for companies and super funds in this category is due on 1 December 2016.

SMSFs in this category must lodge their complete Self managed superannuation fund annual return (NAT 71226) by this date.

Lodge Annual investment income report (AIIR).

Lodge Departing Australia superannuation payments (DASP) annual report.

Lodge Franking account tax return when both of the following apply:

The return is a disclosure only (no amount payable).
The taxpayer is a 30 June balancer.

Lodge PAYG withholding annual report no ABN withholding (NAT 3448).

Lodge PAYG withholding from interest, dividend and royalty payments paid to non-residents (NAT 7187) annual report. This report advises amounts withheld from payments to foreign residents for:

interest and unfranked dividend payments that are not reported on an Annual investment income report (AIIR)
royalty payments.

Lodge PAYG withholding annual report – payments to foreign residents (NAT 12413). This report advises amounts withheld from payments to foreign residents for:

entertainment and sports activities
construction and related activities
arranging casino gaming junket activities

Lodge lost members report for the period 1 January – 30 June 2016.

Lodge TFN report for closely held trusts for TFNs quoted to a trustee by beneficiaries in quarter 1, 2016–17.

November 2016

21 November

Lodge and pay October 2016 monthly activity statement.

25 November

Lodge and pay quarterly activity statement for quarter 1, 2016–17 if you are lodging using:
electronic lodgment service (ELS)
electronic commerce interface (ECI)
Tax Agent Portal
BAS Agent Portal
practitioner lodgment service (PLS).

28 November

Lodge Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly and pay the super guarantee charge for quarter 1, 2016–17, if the employer did not pay enough contributions on time.

Employers who lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly can choose to offset contributions they paid late to a fund against their super guarantee charge for the quarter. They will still have to pay the remaining super guarantee charge to us.

Note: The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible

For help working out the super guarantee charge and preparing the Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly, use our Super guarantee charge statement and calculator tool.

December 2016

1 December

Pay income tax for taxable large/medium taxpayers, companies and super funds. Lodgment of return is due 15 January 2017.
Pay income tax for the taxable head company of a consolidated group with a member deemed to be a large/medium taxpayer in the latest year lodged. Lodgment of return is due 15 January 2017.
Pay income tax for companies and super funds when lodgment of the tax return was due 31 October 2016.

21 December

Lodge and pay November 2016 monthly activity statement.

Source: https://www.ato.gov.au