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On Wednesday 20 March 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA attending a meeting of the BAS Agents Advisory Group. Following this meeting, the ATO issued the following key messages:

AUSKey and Online Security

The ATO is continuing to support clients to transition to electronic channels.

Before you can access our online services, you'll need to ensure you have created a secure login (as an individual) or registered for an AUSkey (for business and tax professionals). This is to ensure that the security and privacy of your personal information is protected. It also protects you from unauthorised people making transactions on your behalf.

Anyone associated with your business, practice, or entity must have their own AUSkey to deal with us online on behalf of your Australian business number.

Those looking to commit fraud are constantly looking for ways to profit so it is critical that you remain vigilant regarding online security and information.

You should regularly review your AUSkey holdings to protect your practice. The agent in your practice who holds the administrator AUSkey should review the AUSkeys registered to the practice. 

The broadcast issued to tax practitioners on 5 February outlines a step by step process for checking the credentials used for online interactions.

Webinar program for BAS Agents

The ATO provides free webinars (on line seminars), seminars and workshops on a variety of topics delivered by experienced tax officers.

The intent of the webinar series is to provide an update for BAS agents dealing with certain administrative, technical and legislative issues for small business from an ATO perspective. Content is sourced from risk owners, intelligence and communication contacts.

In the future webinars will be put on the website to enable agents who could not participate to view the content after hours.

The next series of webinars start the week commencing 27 May.  Twenty webinars will be held that week with another twenty in the week commencing 30 June.  Another five have yet to be scheduled.  An email will be sent to all BAS agents prior to the commencement of the series advising registration requirements.

For more information on the webinar program go to BAS Agents webinar program.

GST Compliance

GST Voluntary Compliance Program

The ATO has undertaken a four year program of research to understand the attitudes and behaviours that drive compliance (or non-compliance) with GST obligations and to inform, support and monitor the effectiveness of the GST Voluntary Compliance Program.

ATO Small Business Assistance Program

The Small Business Assistance Program is responsible for providing free and tailored practical assistance and support to small business that is

  • small business focussed
  • tailored to meet the specific needs of the business
  • provided in an easy to understand format
  • relevant to the particular issues a small business is facing
  • delivered in a way that is best suited to the small business

A key aspect of the program is the Business Assistance Visit. 

Business assistance visits are purely educational in nature and are designed to assist businesses in meeting their obligations 

  • answer questions and provide assistance in managing records
  • answer questions in managing employer obligations
  • provide assistance to enable connection to the Business portal
  • promote guidance and assistance in lodging activity statements correctly and on time
  • delivered with the Commissioner’s Guarantee

Helping small business stay on track

Common BAS Error Types

A number of common processing errors may delay the BAS being accepted:

  • The entry of a wrong value in a BAS label or omission of a required label
  • Incorrect accounting methodologies are used on the BAS form or accounting records do not support amounts reported
  • Items have been claimed incorrectly
  • Variation labels on the BAS have not been fully filled out for Income Tax Instalments, FBT or GST
  • Incorrect obligation is used
  • The taxpayer has made an incorrect interpretation of the legislation or a technical error based on interpretation of the legislation
  • Arithmetic and calculation errors are entered on the BAS form
  • Errors with the lodgement of the BAS form by the Tax Agent, BAS Agent or taxpayer

How to avoid a delay in your BAS assessment

  • Review the BAS prior to lodgement to ensure calculations are done correctly
  • Ensure the client is entitled to claim and have supporting documents to support the claim
  • Ensure GST credits on common property transactions are claimed correctly.

Members who seek further information in relation to any of the above should contact us at Tax Policy.