Why life just got easier for small business owners


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If you run a small business, the tax office is hoping to make your GST compliance simpler. From July 1, 2017, the amount of information that small businesses need to report on their business activity statement (BAS) is being reduced.

According to the ATO this will "simplify bookkeeping and reporting requirements".

From that date, you'll only need to report total sales, GST on sales and GST on purchases. You'll no longer need to report export sales, GST-free sales, capital purchases and non-capital purchases.

small business owner bas business advisory statement tax ato

As a result, the ATO hopes that small businesses "will be able to more easily classify transactions and prepare and lodge their BAS".

The changes apply to small businesses registered for GST, which means one with an annual GST turnover of less than $10 million, so in practice the vast majority of businesses will qualify.

The frequency with which you need to lodge a BAS isn't changing.

However frequently you lodged one before July 1, 2017 (for example, monthly, quarterly or yearly), you'll continue to report on the same basis. Nor will it affect how other taxes are reported (for example, PAYG income tax instalments or PAYG tax withheld).

And you'll still need to keep records, such as invoices and receipts, to prove any claims you make in your BAS and tax returns.

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Mark Chapman is director of tax communications at H&R Block, Australia's largest firm of tax accountants, and is a regular contributor to Money. Mark is the author of Life and Taxes: A Look at Life Through Tax.