Contrary to popular belief, accounting is not just about “keeping” or writing books. Modern business accounting involves keeping records with respect to a number of taxes. It is interesting to note that while governments around the world have simplified or are simplifying tax rates and tax collection procedures, they are also throwing out a wider tax net to cover more people, businesses and services.
Obviously, governments need funds to do their jobs, and taxes are a convenient, if unpopular, way to fund governments. More taxes mean more compliance. That means companies need to hire a number of accountants to do internal audits and administer payroll taxes, income taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes, sales taxes, and more.
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For sales tax (also called Goods and Services Tax (GST) here in Australia, and Value Added Tax (VAT) elsewhere), accounting and compliance procedures vary from country to country. Globally, the older system of sales tax has been replaced by the more practical value-added tax or GST. As of 2011, only a scant dozen countries are VAT-free.
With some exceptions, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires all businesses to register for GST and file business activity returns within twenty days of the end of each quarter (March, June, September, and December). The GST was introduced in 2000 as part of the tax reform and has been met with criticism, particularly from small and medium-sized businesses.
The BAS proves to be quite cumbersome if a company has production facilities and offices in multiple locations. However, the scheme is quite flexible in that the BAS can be prepared and filed in a number of ways. Very small companies can submit the BAS manually. SMEs can use accounting services or bookkeeping services for this task. One can also use tax software and submit the BAS electronically.
However, the best method for filing the BAS is to engage tax agents and professional accounting services as they are well versed with the entire ATO procedures including preparation, filing, payment, deadlines, extension of due date and GST verification. They also keep up to date with changes in GST rules and regulations, so you don’t have to worry about BAS compliance. Instead of paying employees full time, it is advisable to outsource the work to people who know how to do it professionally. The best thing about such accounting services is that they help you get GST refunds where and when they are due.
The author is a qualified accountant with NumbersPro.com.au Accounting Services Australia, which provides a range of accounting bookkeeping services.