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The Ultimate Tax Return Deadline Checklist for Small Businesses in Australia

Running a small business in Australia involves fulfilling various tax obligations throughout the year. Staying organised and meeting tax deadlines is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain compliance.

The Australian tax system can be complex and overwhelming, especially when it comes to meeting various deadlines throughout the year. Failing to comply with tax deadlines can result in penalties and unnecessary stress. To ensure a smooth and stress-free tax season, small business owners need to have a comprehensive tax deadline checklist.

In this blog post, we will provide you with a detailed introduction to a comprehensive tax deadline checklist tailored specifically for Australian small businesses. By following this checklist, you’ll be well-prepared and organised to meet your tax obligations on time, avoiding potential penalties and ensuring compliance with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) due dates.

Key guidelines for your tax obligations as a small business owner in Australia

  1. Understand your tax obligations
  2. Organise your financial records meticulously
  3. Stay up-to-date with tax legislation changes
  4. Keep accurate financial records 
  5. Appoint a qualified accountant
  6. Prepare and lodge your business activity statements (BAS) regularly
  7. Lodge income tax returns 
  8. Stay up-to-date with superannuation contributions
  9. Plan for tax instalments
  10. Seek professional advice for complex matters.
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Tax schedules at a glance

Now that we have established the need for timely and meticulous tax management for your small business, let’s take a look at the key deadlines that you need to meet during the financial year. We will also summarise the documents that you need to submit.

  1. Business activity statements (BAS)
    • Annual reporting
    • If voluntarily registered for GST, and GST turnover is under $75,000 ($150,000 for not-for-profit bodies)
    • The deadline is 31 October

Note: if you have a tax agent to lodge on your behalf, a different due date may apply

  • Quarterly reporting
    • If the GST turnover is less than $20 million
    • Monthly reporting only if advised by ATO
  • Monthly reporting
    • If the GST turnover is $20 million or more
  • Supporting documents: Records of sales, expenses, and GST (Goods and Services Tax) information.
  1. Pay as you go (PAYG) summary 
    • Annual reports: Due by August 14th of each year for the previous financial year
    • PAYG withholding where ABN is not quoted – annual report and others – 31st of October
    • Required documents: Payment summaries, records of withheld amounts, and employee information.
  2. Fringe benefits tax (FBT)
    • FBT return: Due on March 21st of each year
    • Required documents: Records of fringe benefits provided to employees
    • Keeping records for FBT
      • For FBT record keeping you must keep the following for 5 years:
        • calculations
        • worksheets
        • declarations
        • elections
        • supporting details
  3. Income tax return
    • Sole traders: Due by October 31st of each year, extension available if lodged through SLEEK Australia or a registered tax agent.
    • Companies: Due by February 28th of each year, extension available if lodged through SLEEK Australia or a registered tax agent
    • Trusts and partnerships: October 31st of each year, unless lodged by a tax agent for which a different due date applies
    • Required documents: Financial statements, records of income and expenses, payroll records, and other relevant financial documents.
  1. Superannuation
    • Superannuation guarantee contributions: Due by the 28th day of the month following the end of the quarter
    • Superannuation payment summaries: Due by July 14th of each year for the previous financial year
    • Required documents: Records of superannuation contributions made for employees, payroll activity or employee payroll summary
  2. Instalment activity statements (IAS) -PAYG Withholding and PAYG Instalments
    • If the business is registered for goods and services tax (GST) – you may report PAYG instalments on your BAS or separately depending on the reporting cycles. Example- If you are registered for GST and PAYG Installments on a quarterly basis, the IAS is reported along with BAS. No separate reportings are required.
    • If the business is not registered for GST – you report on an instalment activity statement (IAS) based on the reporting cycle.
    • If your annual GST turnover is less than $20m, you may qualify for quarterly reporting.
      • Quarter 1 (July, August, September):Due date for lodgement- 28th of October
      • Quarter 2 (October, November, December): Due date for lodgement- 28th of February
      • Quarter 3 (January, February, March): Due date for lodgement- 28th of April
      • Quarter 4 (April, May, June): Due date for lodgement- 28th of July.
    • If your annual GST turnover is $20m or more, you are generally required to lodge your BAS and IAS every month:
      • Monthly IAS lodgment due dates are generally by the 21st day of the following month.
      • However, if you lodge electronically through the business portal or tax agent, the due date may be extended to the 25th day of the following month.
    • Documents required: All documents for the various taxes listed above.

Summary table of tax deadlines

S.No

Tax Description

Timeline

Documents required

1

Business activity statements (BAS)

Annual reporting if GST turnover< $75,000 ($150,000 for not-for-profit bodies) – 31st Oct each year

Quarterly reporting

If GST turnover < than $20 million

Monthly reporting only if advised by ATO

Monthly reporting

If GST turnover is $20 million or more

Records of sales, expenses, and GST information

Note: if you have a tax agent to lodge on your behalf, a different due date may apply

2

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding

Payment summaries: Due by July 14th of each year for the previous financial year
Annual reports:

Due by August 14th of each year for the previous financial year

Payment summaries, records of withheld amounts, and employee information

3

Fringe benefits tax (FBT)

March 21st each year

Records of fringe benefits provided to employees

4

Income tax return

Sole traders: Due by October 31st of each year
Companies: Due by February 28th of each year
Trusts and partnerships: Due by March 15th of each year

(Lodgement extension available if lodged through SLEEK Australia or a registered tax agent)

Financial statements, records of income and expenses, payroll records, and other relevant financial documents

5

Superannuation

Quarterly GST Submissions

Quarter 1 (July to September): Due by 28th October

Quarter 2 (October to December): Due by 28th February

Quarter 3 (January to March): Due by 28th April

Quarter 4 (April to June): Due by 28th July

Records of superannuation contributions made for employees

6

GST

Quarterly GST Submissions:

Quarter 1 (July to September): Due by 28th October

Quarter 2 (October to December): Due by 28th February

Quarter 3 (January to March): Due by 28th April

Quarter 4 (April to June): Due by 28th July

Monthly GST Submissions:

By the 21st of the following month

  • Business activity statements (BAS)
  • Sales and purchase invoices
  • Bank statements
  • Expense receipts
  • Business records
  • Export and import documentation (if applicable)
  • GST reconciliation reports.

7

Company tax return

Direct filing: 31 October following the end of the financial year

Through registered tax agent: generally extended to 15 May following the end of the financial year

All documents for the various taxes listed above

8

Instalment activity statements (IAS)

Quarterly reporting if annual GST turnover is less than $20m:

Quarter 1 (July, August, September): 28th of October

Quarter 2 (October, November, December): 28th of February

Quarter 3 (January, February, March): 28th of April

Quarter 4 (April, May, June): 28th of July

Monthly reporting if annual GST turnover is $20m or more

All documents for the various taxes listed above

It’s important to note that these deadlines are subject to change, and some businesses may have different reporting and payment obligations based on their size and structure.

It’s recommended to check the official website of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or consult with a tax professional to get the most accurate and up-to-date information for your specific business.

Wondering what criteria is needed when it comes to registering for GST? We have an article that outlines all you need to know here

Address those taxes today

Staying on top of your tax obligations is crucial for the success and compliance of your Australian small business. By following this comprehensive tax deadline checklist, you can streamline your tax management processes, minimise errors, and avoid penalties.

Remember to understand your tax obligations, keep accurate records, and seek professional advice when needed. With proper planning and organisation, you can ensure that your small business meets all tax deadlines and maximises its financial efficiency.

Visit www.sleek.com/au to understand how we can guide you in preparing your tax returns as a small business in Australia, on time, every time! Subscribe to our email newsletter for expert tips and insights on how to run a company and make life easier for yourself as an entrepreneur.

 

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FAQs

Australian small businesses have several tax deadlines to keep in mind. Visit www.sleek.com/au to get a detailed list of key tax timelines for your small business today.

Follow these steps to keep track of your firm's tax deadlines: 

  1. Set up a dedicated calendar or use accounting software with built-in reminders
  2. Keep track of your income and expenses throughout the year using accounting software
  3. Regularly reconcile your bank statements.

To compile your company's annual tax return, you will need: 

  1. Financial statements
  2. Records of your business income
  3. Receipts and documentation for business expenses
  4. Any other relevant financial documents related to your business activities.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and may not be specifically relevant to everyone’s personal situation. It should not be considered financial advice or a substitute for professional tax or accounting advice. Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and laws can vary. For tailored advice, please consult a qualified professional. Contact Sleek for further information on how we can help you.

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