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An improved BAS - it's as simple as ABC...

Publication date: 12 Feb 01 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

"The BAS form needs simple rule changes, as well as changes to the wording and the information boxes."

"A simple change to ease the burden on many taxpayers would be to alter the PAYG rules. All GST taxpayers with incomes less than $8,000 could use the annual instalment method and taxpayers who earn more than $8,000 could use a quarterly GDP adjusted method, - that is, they would make four quarterly instalments based upon last year's income adjusted for inflation," says Mr Conwell.

"These changes are common sense and merely duplicate the concessions currently open to non-GST registered taxpayers. They would remove another bias against small business."

Mr Conwell also suggests that there are a number of simple changes to the GST rules that could deliver similar compliance savings. "People with an annual turnover of less than $50,000 don't need to be registered for GST and should be able to return the GST annually," he says. "In many cases, the costs of collecting the tax and processing the BAS would outweigh the income collected for the State Governments."

"Other small businesses could lodge their BAS and pay GST on a quarterly or half yearly basis, with an annual reconciliation," he said.

The deadline for BAS is a crucial issue to be addressed by the Government. "It is impossible to reconcile accounts within 21 days when credit card statements and bank statements are not received within that period," says Mr Conwell. "The Taxation Institute proposes a 60 day deadline for annual returns and a 40 day deadline for quarterly returns. This would reduce everyone's work to below biblical proportions."

"With a few simple changes in tax compliance, the BAS can be as simple as ABC..."