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The GST Act requires accurate record-keeping in order to lodge regular BAS with the ATO.
The role of the bookkeeper is therefore important in maintaining and recording all transactions that impact the BAS.
Bookkeepers must keep a business advised of the following:
- Advising the business of any liabilities, obligations or entitlements of the business that may arise under a BAS provision.
- Deal with the ATO in regards to any issues arising from BAS preparation
- Prepare and lodge the BAS either in paper form or via the ATO portal
- Advise the business of the liability that will arise subsequent to the preparation of the BAS and the due date for payment
The bookkeeper must also be aware of the BAS provisions which include the following:
- Fringe benefits tax
- PAYG withholding
- Pay as you go (PAYGI) instalments
- Luxury car tax
- Fuel tax
- Wine equalisation tax
In order to comply with much of the above record keeping becomes an integral part of the BAS process. In the event that the regulator, the ATO, conducts an audit all BAS or GST transactions must be supported by correct and accurate source documentation.
In summary, the following source documentation must be kept for a period of five years:
- Sales invoices
- Cash register tapes
- Tax invoices received from suppliers
- Payroll records
The ATO allows for records to be kept in electronic form and consistent with this requirement most accounting software allows for the attachment of pdf copies of appropriate documents to be attached to the electronic transaction removing the need to retain hard copy records.
As can be seen from the above the duties of the bookkeeper have changed significantly since the introduction of the GST and are much more onerous than previously. In order to comply with all the issues surrounding BAS the bookkeeper, whether internal or external, should have a Certificate 1V qualification and if external should be a registered BAS agent through the Tax Practitioners Board.