Does Your Bookkeeper Need To Be A BAS Agent?

Within every great company, there is always a great bookkeeper. Every company, whether small or large, sole proprietor or corporate, retail or wholesale, product oriented or services oriented, needs a good bookkeeper. It is understandable why there are regulations concerning a bookkeeper who is not a BAS. These regulations were created in order to protect  businesses. Using an unregistered bookkeeper means you can’t access the Safe Harbour provisions under the regulation or legislation.

Aside from knowing who your bookkeeper is, what is vital is for you to understand that it is illegal for a bookkeeping company, who is not a registered BAS or Tax agent, to provide Business Activity Statement (BAS) services.

Here are some of the common misconceptions about BAS or Business Activity Statement:

  1. Data going overseas should be prohibited

In the case of a registered BAS or TAX agent, you should be notified and you may refuse  to give your consent before your data goes overseas. Even if your TAX or BAS agent utilises offsite data storage systems, the agent should still need your consent. This is stated in the Code of Professional Conduct under confidentiality of client information. As stated in this code, a bookkeeper or BAS agent needs to notify you which information of yours can be disclosed, whom it will be disclosed to and where the disclosure will be. Every good bookkeeper will let you sign an engagement letter regarding your information for your review and acceptance..

  1. Bookkeeping Firms Should Be BAS Registered

.If an individual or a business is offering BAS services externally, meaning not part of the business, then, a registered BAS or Tax agent is needed either in completing the service or to provide adequate and efficient supervision and control over the person or entity providing the service.

Examples of Business Activity Statement (BAS) Services include:

  • Representing a client when applying to the Registrar for an ABN
  • Coding transactions, tax invoices and transferring data onto a computer program for clients through processes that require the interpretation or application of a BAS provision (this means dealing with transactions that include GST)
  • Identifying figures that needs to be included on a client’s activity statement
  • Completing activity statements on behalf of a business or instructing the business which figures to include.
  • Identifying the withholding tax obligations for the employees of a client
  • Preparation and provision of a payment summary that may include reportable fringe benefits amounts and the reportable employer superannuation contributions
  • Registering or providing advice on registration for GST or PAYG withholding
  • Services under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration0 Act 1992 to the extent they relate to a payroll function or payments to contractors
  • Dealing with superannuation payments made through a clearing house
  • Completing and lodging the Taxable payments annual report to the ATO on behalf of a client
  • Sending a TFN declaration to the Commissioner on behalf of a client

To cut to the chase, bookkeeping firm needs to have a registered BAS agent if you hire them to process transactions that include GST or to do your payroll. So, how do you know if a bookkeeping company is BAS registered or has a BAS agent that provides enough supervision and control? Well, actually you can find them by searching through the Tax Practitioners Board register.

TBP states that BAS and Tax agents need to make sure that the service they provide, or services provided on their behalf are done competently. If so, the company that you hire needs to have registered agents that can competently provide supervision and control, which will be difficult for you to confirm. TBP views things in different angles to check if the BAS agent is actually supervising. These usually include checking the actual physical location of the person doing the work and the location of the agent, ensuring that the necessary work documents are prepared, as well as the level of education of the workers involved in the work. This TBP guideline will provide you with a lot of information regarding this matter, as well as actual cases where the supervision and control was inadequate.

  1. Businesses mayuse offshore bookkeeping services

Australian businesses are free to choose their BAS and Tax service provider, whether the bookkeeping company is a local or foreign entity. Nevertheless, it is helpful for the growth of Australian economy if businesses will use local bookkeeping services, as it paves way for local employment opportunities and making sure company comply with ATO requirements.

Why is it necessary to learn the rules around your bookkeeper and BAS agent?

Learning the rules involving your bookkeeper and BAS agent will help you avoid costly issues, not to mention – stress, anxiety, low staff morale. There have been a lot of business owners who unintentionally chose unqualified bookkeeping services and their business activity statements and financial information ended up in the drains. Before hiring a bookkeeper or a bookkeeping company, it is best to ask a few simple questions before actually hiring them so that you can develop a formidable team.

Example of questions may be:

Are you registered BAS Agent and for how long

Are you experienced with (enter name here: Xero, MYOB< QB) software?

Where is your office located at?

Office although may sounds old school does give you an peace of mind you may drop paper work or book a meeting with your bookkeeper.

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