Business Activity Statement preparation

The business activity statement (BAS) is a form submitted to the Australian Taxation Office by all businesses to report their taxation obligations.

These include pay as you go withholding (PAYGW), pay as you go instalments (PAYGI), fringe benefits tax (FBT), wine equalisation tax (WET) and luxury car tax (LCT). PAYGW is sometimes known as “Income Tax Withholding (ITW),” PAYGI is sometimes known as “Income Tax Instalments (ITI)”.

There are a variety of different BAS forms which an organisation can complete. The form which a business receives depends on what taxation liabilities an organisation has (these are referred to as roles). Statements are usually issued quarterly, some roles can be reported at different frequencies depending on business structure and income. Some roles such as GST can be reported annually, subject to eligibility criteria being met.

Although activity statements are usually submitted quarterly, some entities are required to report obligations on a more frequent basis. Some entities may be required to report PAYG Withholding liabilities or GST on a monthly basis.

Every activity statement carries a unique document identification number (DIN). Activity statements can be submitted to the ATO on paper (mail), by phone, electronically (electronic lodgment system or “ELS”) or through the business portal (via a BAS or TAX Agent).

Activity statements are processed by the Australian Taxation Office through its operations sub-plan. Any errors which occur with activity statements are usually handled by a department known as activity statement product (exceptions {ASP(E)}). ASP(E) operates under the operations sub-plan, client account services (CAS) business service line (BSL). Errors may occur when a business client reports figures incorrectly, where a client includes cent figures (only dollar figures are allowable), where an arithmetic error occurs, when a statement is submitted when no roles are active for the client, or when the handwriting on a paper statement is illegible.

The business activity statement was introduced in 2000 as a part of a major tax reform which also included the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST). The various forms and reporting methods have changed considerably since the initial introduction of the BAS.

Methods of preparation

The primary methods that businesses use to prepare and submit their business activity statement include: