Simpler BAS for small business

Small businesses, tax professionals, digital service providers and industry representatives told us that GST reporting on the business activity statement (BAS) and the associated coding of GST transactions should be made easier.

To address this, we worked closely with the software industry on the Simpler BAS project. From 1 July 2017, small business only need to report:

  • G1 Total sales
  • 1A GST on sales
  • 1B GST on purchases.

Simpler BAS is the default GST reporting method for small business. There are two components:

  • Simpler BAS reporting – on 1 July 2017 the number of GST questions was reduced from 7 to 3.
  • Digital bookkeeping solution – provides small business with the option to take up changes to their accounting software. This reduces the average number of complex GST classifications from 8 or 9 down to a simple ‘GST’ or ‘No GST’.

Simpler BAS makes it easier and quicker for small businesses as it allows for easier classification of transactions, preparation and lodgment of the BAS. This will deliver significant time and cost savings.

The GST Calculation worksheet and associated suite of GST software tax codes no longer need to be supported for small business. 

For more information, see Simpler BAS consultation and engagement.

Latest news

October 2018

We will be communicating with your users about updated software settings, which may be available in their accounting software to make classifying GST easier.

Users will be referred to their digital service provider for more information. You can also direct users to the Simpler BAS GST bookkeeping page for more help.

May 2018

The whitelisting of the Account Role (ACCROLE) services will enable digital service providers to support targeted and automated update services for small businesses electing to use the Simpler BAS digital bookkeeping solution.

We will continue to engage with digital service providers to ensure accessibility and to maximise the take-up of the Simpler BAS digital bookkeeping solution.

July 2017

Simpler BAS is now live.

June 2017

Changes to Application Programming Interfaces (API’s)

User testing of accounting software has identified that some Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for software developers and third party add-ons may be impacted by changes to GST tax codes.

The following software and applications could potentially be impacted if they interface with accounting software:

  • Point of sale
  • Invoice generate and capture
  • Payroll
  • Inventory control
  • Service scheduling
  • Business reporting

Developers should review the APIs for their accounting software to ensure that any changes to GST tax codes will not impact the transfer of data.

Tax practitioner and small business transitional correspondence

The ATO conducted a digital correspondence campaign to notify tax practitioners and small business of the Simpler BAS changes.

  • 3 June 2017: Registered BAS and tax agents (with a valid e-mail address) received notification of the Simpler BAS changes and a breakdown of their clients that are moving to Simpler BAS reporting or continuing to report on Full or Instalment reporting.
  • 5 June 2017 to 9 June 2017: Small business (with a valid e-mail or mobile number) received an e-mail or SMS notifying them of the Simpler BAS changes and their GST reporting method from 1 July 2017.

Australian Business Software Industry (ABSIA): Special Interest Working Group

The Australian Business Software Industry (ABSIA) has formed a special interest working group that will represent the industry in relation to transactional based changes and future automation opportunities, including Simpler BAS. Special Interest Working Group webinars will commence mid-June 2017.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the special interest working group or receiving ABSIA updates email ABSIA.

May 2017

Passage of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Act 2017 The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Act 2017 (Act No. 41 of 2017) received Royal Assent on 19 May 2017.  This increased the turnover threshold for small business from less than $2M to less than $10M – increasing the number of businesses eligible for Simpler BAS from 2.6M to 2.7M.

April 2017

Auto-reconfiguration of accounting software

Automated re-configuration of GST coding and rules in accounting software will minimise transitional costs for small business to access Simpler BAS benefits. The Tax Practitioner Board has confirmed that auto-reconfiguration will not constitute 'tax advice' under the following circumstances:

  • The election to re-configure is a decision made by the small business and/or tax practitioner.
  • Consolidation of tax codes is consistent with the original tax treatment decision (ie multiple 0% codes can be consolidated into a single 0% code, multiple 10% codes can be consolidated into a single 10% code).
  • Unique customised tax codes should be retained (ie unchanged)
  • An appropriately worded declaration is required making it clear to clients that the software provider is not a registered agent and that clients relying on tax or BAS advice should request advice from a registered agent.

TPB(I) D27/2015 Software providers and the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 provides more information for software developers considering providing auto-reconfiguration services to enhance their client experience.

GST validation rule changes

GST validation rules are scheduled to be turned off from 24 June 2017 to support the Simpler BAS. This applies for all BAS lodgments from this date and includes BAS periods prior to 1 July 2017.

Lodgment requirements for BAS periods pre 1 July 2017

Whilst we would  prefer to receive the final BAS lodgment for 2016 -17 with all the GST labels it is acknowledged that some accounting software products may not be able to produce a BAS with all 7 labels once re-configured to the Simpler BAS coding and reporting solution.

For small businesses who have reconfigured their accounting software before 1 July 2017 BAS lodgment, we will accept BAS for periods prior to 1 July 2017 with only the following GST information – G1 Total sales, 1A GST on sales and 1B GST on purchases.

Key dates

  • 24 May 2018 – SBR Account Role services (ACCROLE) whitelisted to support the digital bookkeeping solution.
  • 1 July 2017 – Simpler BAS goes live
  • June 2017 ABSIA Special Interest Working Group webinar.
  • 5 June 2017 to 9 June 2017 - Transitional e-mail/SMS correspondence issued to small business
  • 3 June 2017 – Transitional e-mail correspondence issued to tax practitioners with client list providing breakdown of GST reporting method from 1 July 2017.
  • 6 April 2017 – Enterprise Testing Verification Environment live for SBR1 & 2 (Add Tax Role) and SBR 1 (AS List, Pre-fill, pre/lodge)
  • 16 Mar 2017 – Priority specifications published
  • 16 Mar 2017 – Enterprise Testing Verification Environment live for SBR2 (AS List, Pre-fill, pre/lodge) and SBR 1 & 2 (SBAS ABN Registration, ABN Registration Status Check, AS Client Report)
  • 19 January 2017 – Simpler BAS reporting options for new business
  • 1 July 2016 – User testing commences
  • 3 May 2016 – Government announcement

System specifications

The following ATO specifications are located on and provide guidance for the system impacts associated with Simpler BAS.

Alpha testing

Simpler BAS was tested throughout 2016-17 with small businesses, tax professionals and software developers including MYOB, Intuit, Reckon and Sage.  

Phase 1: July 2016 – September 2016

  • Test the manually re-configured accounting software to identify system constraints and design issues that will impact on the Simpler BAS digital coding and reporting experience.
  • Co-design an enhanced end user experience through software enhancements with participating software developers partners and a team of tax professionals who are also software certified consultants.
  • Surface the initial perceptions of the Simpler BAS coding and reporting solution.

Phase 1 Alpha testing findings and recommendations for software developers can be found in the Simpler BAS Phase 1 Alpha Testing Findings report (PDF, 499KB)

Phase 2: October 2016 – December 2016

  • ATO to provide Simpler BAS system specifications and incorporate Phase 1 Alpha testing findings into the detailed co-design activities with software developers' partners.

Phase 3: January 2017 – March 2017

  • Test and fully understand the Simpler BAS coding and reporting experience with newly registered GST businesses.

Phase 4: April 2017 – June 2017

  • Test our software developers partners’ updated digital accounting solutions with 2,000 small businesses.
  • Measure the time and costs saved through the new Simpler BAS digital coding and reporting solution.

Contact us

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