For some reason, Government loves bureaucracy. Sometimes, it’s for the administration of their income (taxes) and sometimes it’s about protecting the consumer (a good thing!).
Whatever the reasons are, running a business involves a lot of bureaucracy and “things to do” that you might think have little to do with your business of making something good, attracting people who need it, selling it, collecting the money, paying your people, and building the life you dream of – the old make it, book, it, collect it, and live it!
Yet, complying with all these rules is absolutely critical to support the make it, book it, collect it and live it model. If you fail to comply, you could be penalised by a range of penalties from fines to potentially the closure of your business, so you need to pay attention!
Let’s start at the beginning.
When you start a business, you need to think about what’s the best legal structure for the business. This isn’t just about tax (because different legal structures may have different tax implications) but also about protecting your personal assets, succession planning, involving others’ in your family, and branding.
Once you’ve decided, you need to complete registrations for the entity you decided upon. Depending on what that is, you may have to register with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), or with the Department of Commerce in your state for a Business Name. You will certainly have to register the business entity with the Tax Office and get an ABN and Tax File Number. At that stage you’ll have to decide if the registration with the Tax Office has to include registration for GST, or PAYGW if you are going to pay wages (including to yourself).
Yup, you’ve got it, there are forms to fill.
Once you get the business rolling it doesn’t stop there.
Of course you know all about having to complete tax returns every year, and you may have to complete quarterly BAS forms. But have you thought how the Tax Office keeps details of when you move premises or change your details? You need to register any changes with the Tax Office, and because of their Privacy and computer systems, it’s not an easy task with different databases holding your information. Often we update an address on the Income Tax database, only for the client to tell us that their GST letters are still going to an old address.
Depending on what registrations you have in place, there may be triennial renewals of Business Names, annual statements from ASIC, and others.
In a previous article we also explained the different tax notices that you are likely to receive, including Pay As You Go Instalments – some of these you may want to vary so that you are paying the right amount of tax, and of course, all these require forms!
At the beginning of this article we said that there is no getting away from bureaucracy. And there isn’t. But at least with a good advisor and accountant much of this will take place behind the scenes so that you can get on with make it, book it, collect it and live it. For most of our clients who get annoyed at the few letters we send them to sign a form or pay an annual registration fee – imagine all the activity behind the scenes so that you get only those few letters!
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