The ATO For Small Business
How We Help
When it comes to the ATO, you’re much obliged! The multitude of mandatory legal obligations can be overwhelming, but help is at hand. We explain here how we keep our clients on the right side of the ATO.
Are you sure you know what your ATO obligations actually are?
Many new clients come to us saying, “I just want to know that we’re doing everything we’re supposed to”. They’ve been living with a sense of unease that at any minute they could be fined, simply because they hadn’t registered this, declared that or paid some obscure tax.
At the outset of our relationship, we put you in the picture about your precise obligations based on your business type and size. We make sure you’re registered correctly for the taxes that apply to your business.
By keeping your books in order, which is yet another legal obligation, we can estimate how much tax may be payable on your income, so that you can budget for that.
Ongoing, we keep on top of lodgement deadlines, payment deadlines and reporting necessary details, so that you avoid fines and penalties.
If issues ever arise between your business and the ATO, we communicate with the ATO on your behalf, to save you time waiting on hold to speak with someone or time trying to navigate the abyss of the ATO portal.
The importance of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s became very apparent during the covid shutdowns, when businesses needed to have all their details current and their obligations met in order to receive the government assistance they so desperately needed.
GST & BAS
Should you be paying GST to the ATO, and oncharging it to your clients? Should you be lodging a monthly, quarterly or annual BAS?
Both variables depend on your business turnover. We make sure you’re registered in the correct turnover bracket, and set you up for BAS lodgements in our ATO-conduit software, at the correct frequency.
We’ll check your Xero file to make sure that your products, services and invoices are in line with legal requirements too. This is very important (see below).
With all of that sorted, we then reconcile your accounts, prepare your BAS, send it to you for e-signing, and lodge it. Finally, we’ll email you a clear and brief summary noting how much you need to pay the ATO. We can even process that payment for you if you wish.
Sometimes, businesses think they’re doing the correct thing by including a GST charge on their invoices, but they don’t realise they should be passing that on to the ATO - That’s illegal!
Sometimes they’re charging GST when they don’t need to - That makes their products or services less affordable than they could be.
Sometimes, they don’t realise they’re going to need to pay GST at all, so they’re not registered and haven’t factored that extra amount into their charges - That takes a big chunk out of their profit margin and gives a nasty shock!
PAYGW & IAS
Do you have employees to whom you pay wages or salaries?
If so, you need to withhold tax from their payments - PAYGW (Pay As You Go Withholding tax). This tax then needs to be passed on to the ATO.
The way you report PAYGW is in an IAS (Income Activity Statement). We register you correctly for PAYGW and set you up for IAS lodgements via our ATO-conduit software.
We then reconcile your payroll data, prepare your IAS, send it to you for e-signing, and lodge it. Finally, we email you a clear and brief summary noting how much you need to pay the ATO. We can also process that payment for you if you like.
STP & Super
Single Touch Payroll is a mandatory obligation to report your employees' payroll data to the ATO each time you pay them. Employees’ salaries and wages need to be reported, along with the PAYGW and superannuation components that must legally be put aside for them.
In addition to handling this in each pay run for our clients, we carry out an annual reconciliation to check that the correct amount of PAYGW has been withheld and passed on to the ATO. We also check that all employees have been paid what we've reported. We then submit an STP Finalisation, which results in each employee receiving their income statement from the ATO.
We pay the superannuation via the SBSCH (Small Business Superannuation Clearing House) or via Xero directly to the superannuation fund.
To complete our suite of ATO services, we prepare and submit individual, partnership and company tax returns.
If we have conducted your bookkeeping, we already know that the data is correct and that deductible expenses have been verified throughout the year.
Tax planning can be undertaken in advance of EOFY to put you in the best position come June 30th. Your bookkeeping and accounting becomes a seamless process, conducted by professionals who know the idiosyncrasies of your particular business.
Debts & Payment Plans
Does your business have an ATO debt that it can’t pay outright? Are you accruing interest penalties on that debt?
We can negotiate ATO payment plans on behalf of our clients, and may be able to have interest penalties waived.
We will talk with you to work out a manageable instalment amount and duration, and then talk with the ATO to reach an agreement. We do it so often that we’ve even dubbed one of our team ‘The ATO Whisperer’!
It feels much better to have debt taken in hand rather than have it lurking in the back of your mind, and it can avoid money going down the drain in interest penalties or fines.
Contact Details & Correspondence
Has your email or business address changed? Even though these details don’t impact the amount you need to pay the ATO, they’re still legally required to be maintained. We can update those details for you in the ATO portal.
We can also be the appointed recipient of ATO communications, and deal with them as they arise, so that you don’t need to communicate with the ATO at all!
We keep abreast of changes to small business and ATO legislation as a necessity of our work. This means you don’t need to be vigilant for changes. You can feel secure that if legislation or obligations change, we’ll act on those changes and keep you informed.
Would you like Counting Clouds to be your ATO go-betweens? We'd love to help, so please reach out to us on [email protected]
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