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How to Prepare Your BAS – Minus the Stress

Your BAS – a Business Activity Statement – is a report that needs to be submitted to the Australian Taxation Office either monthly or quarterly. Generally, businesses need to complete a BAS in order to report and pay GST. The report needs to be lodged by every Australian business registered for GST.

Since 2017, the ATO has allowed small businesses to use their simpler BAS system to make BAS quicker and easier for businesses to generate their BAS. The changes are solely made to GST reporting and small businesses now only have to report:

  • Total sales (G1)
  • GST on sales (1A)
  • GST on purchases (1B)

Simpler BAS makes it easier and quicker for small businesses as it allows for easier classification of transactions, preparation and lodgment of the BAS. Ensure the ‘Simpler BAS’ box is ticked in Cashflow Manager when you’re doing your BAS this year to do away with complicated GST calculation and tax codes.

For more information on how to classify GST and sales transactions in Simpler BAS, check out the ATO’s Business Activity Statement GST guide. Note: Simpler BAS does not change how PAYG income tax instalments or PAYG tax withheld are reported. 

Preparing BAS Manually

Doing your BAS manually is much trickier than using small business accounting software as there is a much higher chance of making an error. The ATO can impose high penalties on errors, especially if they happen regularly or if the ATO deems it due to ignorance of tax law. When you receive your letter from the ATO stating that BAS is due, it will include a ‘cheat sheet’ that can help you prepare your BAS statement.

Many businesses will give their BAS to their accountant to complete. However, this can be quite expensive to do every quarter or even every month. Plus, even if you do decide to hand it off to your accountant, you will still need a system for keeping track of all your business records and categorising them as needed for the report.

How to do Your BAS Using Small Business Accounting Software

Using small business accounting software takes the time and complexity out of preparing BAS. By simply inputting your financial details into the software in the relevant columns, it will quickly generate your BAS in the correct format to send straight to the ATO.

To make it as easy as possible, all this method requires is that you make sure you regularly update the system with your business financial information, rather than trying to do everything at once.

Otherwise you will run into the same problem as with manual entry and will have to spend a lot of time making sure the information you enter is accurate. However, with accounting software like Cashflow Manager, it is easy to regularly input your data and maintain updated financial records. Your accounts will be categorised automatically, removing the need for you to painstakingly do it yourself.

To ensure that your information is accurate, check that your bank statements match your accounting information. Collect all your receipts and invoices, or locate them on your digital receipt storing system, to assist you. If there are any transactions missing you can then enter them in.

The software you have should calculate your GST automatically, reducing the possibility of you making a mistake and significantly shorten the time it takes to create your BAS. You can then generate your BAS and lodge it with the ATO.

Up to date software will be across the changes to BAS reporting brought in by the ATO and will ensure that you are sending the correct information. Cashflow Manager is always kept up to date with any changes to ATO reporting or obligations – so you can take the stress out of your BAS.

Download a free BAS guide for small businesses

Our quick guide to BAS includes much-needed information on:

  • What exactly is a Business Activity Statement (BAS)?
  • How to know if you need to lodge a BAS
  • Understanding due dates
  • Tips to make BAS lodgement easier
  • Help submitting a BAS online

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