Understanding ATO jargon

Understanding ATO jargon

Sunday, July 23, 2023

BAS, PAYG, STP got you wondering WTF?

BAS: Business Activity Statement

If you are a business registered for GST (Goods & Services Tax) you will need to lodge a Business Activity Statement to the ATO.

This is usually done quarterly but can also be monthly or annually, and reports your total sales income, GST collected on those sales and GST paid on business purchases.

If you have employees you will also report total wages paid and tax withheld for your employees in this statement.

IAS: Instalment Activity Statement

If you're not registered for GST but you still need to declare PAYG amounts to the ATO then you will lodge a monthly Instalment Activity Statement.

In some cases, businesses that are registered for GST and lodge a quarterly BAS may still need to lodge a monthly IAS because they exceed the threshold for PAYG-W... read on!

PAYG-W: Pay As You Go Witholding

Pay As You Go Withholding is the amount you deduct from the payments you make to your employees (ie their tax).

As the employer, you then remit this tax to the ATO on behalf of your employees via an IAS or a BAS.

If you withhold more than $25,000 per year then you will need to lodge via a monthly IAS even if you're registered for GST and lodge a quarterly BAS.

PAYG-I: Pay As You Go Instalment

Pay As You Go Instalment is a prepayment of your income tax. By paying regular instalments throughout the year you can avoid bill shock come tax time.

You may automatically be entered into the PAYG-I system by the ATO once you reach certain thresholds, or you can voluntarily opt-in.

When you lodge your tax return, the instalments you have paid during the year are offset against your tax bill leaving you with less to pay.

STP: Single Touch Payroll

Single Touch Payroll works by sending tax and super information from your STP-enabled payroll or accounting software to the ATO as you run your payroll each week, fortnight or month.

STP removes the need to prepare and lodge annual payment summaries as the data is reported to the ATO throughout the year (on a pay-by-pay basis) and will be available in your employee's MyGov account ready for tax time.

SBSCH: Small Business Super Clearing House

The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free online service provided by the ATO to allow small business employer's to pay super for all their employees through a single payment.

The clearing house then distributes the money to each of the employee's super funds according to the instructions you provide.

Accounting software providers like Xero use their own version of a super clearing house for this same function.

SMSF: Self Managed Super Fund

A self-managed superannuation fund is a private superannuation fund that you run yourself - you make the investment decisions for the fund and you're held responsible for complying with tax and super laws.

Setting up your own super fund isn't right for everyone so it's important to seek guidance to understand the benefits and risks.

ABN: Australian Business Number

An Australian Business Number is a unique 11 digit number used to identify businesses.

This number is used to interact with other businesses and government departments such as the ATO.

It's a legal requirement for anyone running a business in Australia and you can apply for one for free through the Australian Business Register (ABR).

ACN: Australian Company Number

An Australian Company Number is a unique 9 digit number issued by the Australian and Securities Investments Commission (ASIC) to all companies registered in Australia.

This unique number allows ASIC to monitor the activities of each company.

While a company can possess both an ACN and ABN, an individual (sole trader) or partnership will only have an ABN.

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