To comply with tax regulations, small business owners must regularly file a series of documents to the Australian Tax Office. The work to complete these documents is often complex and time-consuming, so most small business owners hire tax agents to help with this work. What you may not realise is that a BAS agent could also help your business become more tax efficient. Find out more about the services BAS agents can offer small businesses, and learn the difference between these professionals and registered tax agents.
About Business Activity Statements
Every small business must regularly submit a Business Activity Statement (BAS) to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Your BAS tells the ATO crucial information about your income, and expenses and makes sure your business meets all its tax obligations. Every business registered to pay GST must regularly submit a BAS.
The Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST) system seems relatively simple, and GST broadly applies at a rate of 10 percent on most goods and services sold in Australia. Unfortunately, the process can become more complex for small business owners, who must often include GST in the prices they charge only to claim back the GST they have to pay on the goods they need to buy. As such, most small business owners would benefit from specialist advice when completing their BAS.
BAS agents versus tax agents
A BAS agent has extensive skills and experience in GST, but he or she is not a tax agent. A fully qualified tax agent must register with the Tax Practitioners Board and hold a special license. As such, they tend to charge relatively hefty hourly rates, and you would normally only pay a tax agent for highly specialised work as part of your annual company tax return.
BAS agents are also accountable to the Tax Practitioners Board, but they don't need the same license as a tax agent. BAS agents can help you sort out all the documents you need to lodge and claim back your GST, but they tend to work at a lower hourly rate than qualified tax agents. BAS agents can make sure you pay the right GST and can also make sure you get back everything the ATO owes you.
Services that BAS agents can offer
BAS agents can carry out many of the tasks that may distract you from running your business.
As well as preparing your BAS statements, BAS agents can:
- Prepare cash flow documents to show how much you owe the ATO at any time
- Work with the ATO to defer tax payments if you have a problem with the BAS statement (for example, if you are too ill to work)
- Correct errors made by you or the ATO and manage formal objections on behalf of your business
- Advise you on your superannuation guarantee liabilities
BAS agents can offer lots of other services, but, crucially, they cannot offer registered tax agent services for a fee. If the ATO finds out that a BAS agent has carried out this work, he or she could face serious financial penalties.
If you think a BAS agent could help your small business, you can find the details of a qualified professional near you on the Tax Practitioners Board's website. Contact an experienced BAS agent in your area, such as those at JSPN Bookkeeping Solutions, and find out how you can make save time and money on your company's GST liability.