On June 9, 2017

Business Information Sheet – Simpler BAS Bookkeeping Guide

What is GST?

Goods and services tax (GST) is a broad-based tax of 10% on the value, (i.e. 1/11th of the price), of most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. There are some transactions that are GST-Free or GST-exempt. Businesses that are registered for GST will:

  • include GST in the price they charge for their goods and services (1A on the BAS)
  • claim the GST credits for goods or services that they buy for their business (1B on the BAS)
  • the difference between these figures and any adjustments will be a GST refund or GST payable.

You need to register for GST if your business has a GST turnover $75,000 or more ($150,000 or more for not for profit entities). Click here for more information on how GST works.

Your GST credit amount will not always be 10% of the transaction total as you need to apportion based on your business usage %.

You need a valid tax invoice to claim GST on your purchases.

Key Due Dates

Quarterly reporter lodgement and payment due

Digital lodger*

(2 weeks)

Tax professional

(4 weeks)*

Quarter 1 – July, August and September

28th October

11th November

25th November

Quarter 2 – October, November and December

28th February



Quarter 3 – January, February and March

28th April

12th May

26th May

Quarter 4 – April, May and June

28th July

11th August

25th August

Monthly reporter lodgement and payment due

Digital lodger*

Tax professional

21st of the following month regardless of lodgement method

Other dates

Annual GST return due for Annual & instalment reporters

28th February

Final date for monthly lodgers to elect to lodge annually

21st August

Final date for quarterly lodgers to elect to lodge annually

28th October

Final date for eligible taxpayers to elect instalments

28th October

Eligibility criteria apply for online lodgers and tax professionals deferred lodgment.

Quick Tips

  • Check your tax invoice – it will generally state the amount of GST paid.
  • If you do not have a tax invoice, think “why?” (E.g. is the seller registered for GST? If they’re not, you will not be charged GST and therefore you cannot claim it).
  • Visit ABN lookup website to check if the seller is registered for GST.
  • You need to have a valid tax invoice for purchases over $82.50 (GST incl.) to claim a GST credit. The buyer’s identity also needs to be shown for purchases over $1,000.
  • For purchases below $82.50 (GST incl.) you must keep documents to support your claim. This can be receipts, invoices or diary entries (including the name and ABN of the supplier, date, description and amount paid).
  • Check that your purchases and sales are reported in the correct tax period. This depends on whether you report GST on a cash or non-cash basis (accruals) – see ATO website.
  • Lodge your BAS even if you have nothing to report.
  • If you don’t know or have an unusual transaction, call the ATO or ask a tax professional.

What is a BAS?

The Business Activity Statement (BAS) is a tax reporting requirement for businesses issued by the ATO on either a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. It’s used for reporting and paying GST, PAYG withholding and other tax obligations.

What is Simpler BAS?

From 1 July 2017, Simpler BAS will be the standard reporting option for small businesses. It reduces the amount of GST information required to be reported on the BAS to simplify GST bookkeeping requirements. Only the following GST information is required to be reported; Total Sales (G1), GST on Sales (1A) and GST on Purchases (1B).

Simpler BAS is a Digital Lodgement Solution

Simpler BAS will make online lodgement easier for small businesses. If you prefer to lodge by paper, the paper form will not change. However, you can still benefit from Simpler BAS by only completing Total Sales (G1), GST on Sales (1A) and GST on Purchases (1B).

What Records do I need to Have?

Simpler BAS does not reduce the records you need to keep for Income Tax purposes. You are required to keep evidence of your claims and provide a reasonable explanation for the information included on your BAS. You must retain your GST records for 5 years. Some examples of records you may need to show to the ATO include: (1) Tax invoices or receipts (2) Logbook or (3) Diary entries.

Common Transactions

Transaction Type

Transaction description


Completing your BAS

SALES (Generally your Business Income)

Sales of goods and services

Taxable Sales: i.e. sales of goods and services on which GST is payable, for example:

  • Gross amounts for goods and services you sell
  • Sale of business assets such as office equipment, machinery and motor vehicles, including trade-ins and transfers of ownership


G1 (Total Sales)*

1A (GST on Sales)

GST-free sales

1. GST-free Sales: i.e. sales when GST isn’t payable but you are entitled to claim credits for the GST in the price of related business inputs, for example:


G1 (Total Sales)*

  • Childcare

  • Eligible education and most education courses, course materials and related excursions or field trips

  • Export sales (must be physically exported from Australia within certain timeframes.) For more information, click here

  • Most basic foods and beverages subject to certain exceptions, as outlined in the detailed food list

  • Most medical, health and care services, medicine and eligible medical aids and appliance. For more information, click here

  • Sales of a business as a going concern where certain conditions are met.

2. Input Taxed Sales: i.e. sales when GST isn’t payable and you normally can’t claim credits for the GST in the price of related business inputs, for example:

  • Supplies of residential rental premises and Sales of existing residential premises (excluding ‘new homes or commercial premises)
  • Certain fund-raising activities of charities, gift-deductible entities and government schools.


PURCHASES (Business Expenses) If you are unsure whether you paid GST or how much GST you should claim, check your tax invoice.

Credits can be claimed for the GST in the price of goods and services you buy or import for your business (business inputs) provided certain conditions are met: see ATO Website for details. Purchases and imports that generally include GST in the price, for example:

  • Capital purchases such as plant and equipment, motor vehicles

  • Inventory purchases (trading stock)
  • Normal running expenses such as equipment rentals, stationery and repairs, and leases


1B (GST on purchases)

Purchases and imports that don’t include GST, so there is no GST credit can be claimed. For example:

  • Insurance premiums that don’t include GST (generally GST is not charged on life insurance and health insurance)

  • Purchases from a business that isn’t registered for GST

  • Purchases of land under the margin scheme

  • Purchases and importations you intend to use to make input taxed supplies (e.g. those related to providing residential accommodation) or relate to private use (full or partial)

  • Purchases and importations that are non-taxable or GST-free


For GST Purposes: Not reportable on the BAS

Not subject to GST (these items do not need to be reported in the GST section of your BAS)

  • Depreciation
  • Superannuation
  • Bank fees and charges
  • Donations
  • Fines
  • Non Deductible entertainment expenses
  • Most Australian government taxes
  • Dividends and interest received or paid
  • Salary and Wages
  • Principal payments on finance and loan interest
  • Stamp Duty

Not applicable

For GST Purposes: Not reportable on the BAS

Confusing Transactions

Transaction type

GST yes or no?


Entertainment expenses

No GST – In most cases
GST – If it is a fringe benefit

In most instances, you cannot claim GST credits for social entertainment expenses such as client or employee entertainment, lunches/meals, alcohol and coffee.

You can only claim GST credits for the cost of providing entertainment that is a fringe benefit. If the business has elected to use the 50/50 split method for fringe benefits tax purposes, then GST can be claimed on 50% of the expenses only.

Hire purchase and lease agreements


If the hire purchase agreement was entered into on or after 1 July 2012, all components (including associated fees) of the supply are taxable. Treat a hire purchase agreement as a stand-alone sales or purchase in a tax period. Do no treat it as if you make it on a progressive or periodic basis. For more information on how to claim the GST credit or if the agreement was entered into prior to 1 July 2012 than please visit the ATO website.

Lease agreements are generally subject to GST. You need to treat each payment as you are making a separate purchase each tax period. For more information on lease agreements, please visit the ATO website.

Luxury Car limit

GST – only claimable up to the luxury car limit.

If you purchase or import a luxury car and the purchase price is more than the car limit of that financial year, you can only claim GST credits on 1/11th of that limit amount. The luxury car threshold is revised each financial year, so please visit the ATO website for the current rates.

Mixed Supplies

  • Insurance
  • Motor Vehicle Registration
  • Car purchases

(See also “Partly private and partly business” section of this guide in confusing transactions)


GST – for business use only.

! Remember to deduct stamp duty from insurance cost.


  • Health insurance (GST-free) and Life Insurance (input taxed).
  • Settlement from insurance claims (not subject to GST).

If the insurance policy is held for both business and private use, you must apportion the GST credit that you claim:

  • Private use: No GST claimable
  • Business Use: Normally GST Claimable

You cannot claim GST credits if the insurance is to cover your input taxed supplies such as providing loans or credit. GST doesn’t apply to some expenses of insurance for business:

  • Stamp Duty is GST exempt.
  • Amounts received as settlements of insurance claims are not reportable on your BAS.
  • Health insurance is GST-free.

GST credit claimable = [(insurance cost – stamp duty)*1/11] x business usage%

Motor Vehicle Registration

GST – GST amount on Registration notice only

Motor vehicle registration is different dependent on state legislation. Generally, GST is payable only on the insurance portion of registration such as Compulsory Third Party (CTP), Motor Injury, Transport Accident Charge. Stamp Duty included in registration is GST exempt. Please check Vehicle Registration Notice as GST will be stated.

Purchase of car for business:

No GST – if seller not registered for GST.

GST – GST amount on tax invoices only.

(For apportionment please see Partly private and Partly business expenses)

If you purchase your vehicle from a registered dealer, the purchase price can include stamp duty, CTP insurance and motor vehicle registration. GST paid will not be 1/11th of the purchase price as some components are not subject to GST, such as stamp duty. Check your tax invoice for the correct amount of GST paid.

If you buy a second hand car from a private seller who is not a registered business (i.e. no ABN), no GST was included in the sale price so no GST can be claimed. If you are purchasing the vehicle to sell/exchange then you may be entitled to claim, please check the ATO website for more information.

Overseas transactions

Do you have a receipt? Did you pay GST?

GST – if you paid GST.

No GST – if no GST included in the price.

If you are seeking to claim a GST credit for the GST you were liable to pay on a taxable importation, you must be the importer of the goods and import the goods solely or partly for a creditable purpose, please check ATO website for more information. Please see your tax professionals or check the ATO website for information on GST on international transactions (cross-border transactions between businesses).

International transport of goods and international travel are GST free:

  • International travel, including the domestic leg of an overseas trip;

International transport of goods provided certain requirements are met. Visit the ATO website for more information.

Partly private and partly business expenses

GST – only for business expenses.

Base your business expense % on your records (i.e. logbook).

Private use: No GST claimable.

Business Use: Normally GST claimable.

You must accurately apportion your expenses between private and business use. You need to be able to substantiate your claims, keeping a logbook and accurate records are important. The business usage percentage of items like motor vehicle, telephone, rent and power etc. should be accurately determined. Please seek advice from your tax professionals on determining the correct claimable percentage or check ATO website if you are not sure.


GST can only be claimed if the transactions included GST.

However, GST credits cannot be claimed on purchases of land under the margin scheme even though GST is included in the price.

The sale of your home (main residence) is not subject to GST.

If you have an investment property, build or renovate for profit, deal in land, or use a property in running a business, there may be implications for income tax, capital gains tax (CGT) and GST.

If you sell property as part of your business, you may be eligible to use the GST margin scheme as a concessional way of working out the GST you must pay. You can only apply the margin scheme if the sale of the property is subject to GST. For detailed information please visit the ATO website.

For information on common GST errors in relation to property please click here.

Second-hand goods

GST – if you are in the business of buying and selling second-hand goods.

No GST – if you purchase from a charity.

If you are in the business of buying and selling second-hand goods and you are GST registered, it is a regular Sale and Purchase transaction.

Buying second-hand goods from a charitable organisation is GST free.

If you purchase a second-hand item from a GST registered business (excluding charitable organisations), GST is claimable.

If you purchase items for business from a private seller or non-registered businesses, there are special rules that apply: (a) If the cost of the item is $300 or less, then you may claim credits in your business as per normal

(b) If the cost of the item is more than $300, you can only claim credits when you sell the item as part of business.

Please see your tax professional or visit the ATO website.

 © The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

  • By Jennifer Lawrence  0 Comments   
  • Activity Statement, BAS, GST, Simpler BAS