Changes to the Delivery of Business Activity Statements (BAS's) and Instalment Activity Statements (IAS's): Get an AUSKEY! - 1st October 2014

Where's my Paper BAS? Where's monthly IAS? Where's my GST return? In the past few months we've heard those questions and with the September 2014 quarterly BAS due soon, we'll hear those questions all over again. Why the change? What happened?


Up to June 2014, every month the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) sent millions of paper BAS's and IAS's to businesses all over Australia. In an effort to save printing costs and to encourage more businesses to engage with the ATO electronically, the ATO changed their practices.


We now have three different delivery methods for the simple BAS or IAS:


1. Some are still delivered by paper, to us or to you depending on the postal address the ATO have on their system,

2. Some now arrive via our Electronic Lodgement Software (ELS), the same software we use to electronically lodge your income tax return,

3. Some are notified by email from the ATO. The email is a reminder that the BAS/IAS is ready for lodgement via the Business Portal.


The confusion occurs when you usually lodge by paper, but you get us to lodge on the Portal because you're running late, or you want an instalment varied. The ATO assumes you want to lodge by the Portal from that moment on, which means no more paper returns are sent. The bigger problem is that if the ATO does not have a valid email address, currently nothing happens. There is no paper return and no reminder. We are having to update the Portal with email addresses one by one and you can imagine the time this takes.


We are noticing a spike in the number of clients calling us wanting to know where their BAS is as well as a spike in the number of letters we're receiving from the ATO in follow up reminders and threats for non-lodgement (so much for saving paper!).


The accounting bodies broadly supported the move to less paper, but no one foresaw the problems created by poorly planned systems such as these. Sadly the responsibility to lodge on remains with the taxpayer.


The ATO's preferred method of communication is lodgement by the Portal, and like it or not, we are all moving toward dealing with them electronically. I encourage you to look into getting an AUSKEY for your business. An AUSKEY allows you to lodge all your BAS's, IAS's and even year end payment summaries online, in real time, and to get up to the minute balances of amounts owing. If you are interested in modernising your business practices and getting online, give our office a call and we'll assist you in getting an AUSKEY. If you want us to continue to lodge on the Portal there is nothing you need to do, we just need to update the email address on the Portal to your office and that becomes the reminder to prepare your BAS or IAS.


And once you're up and running with an AUSKEY, the ATO will even email you a reminder to lodge your BAS on time!

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