For businesses that only withhold up to $25,000 each year, you’re supposed to make PAYG payments and file a withholding report each quarter. You have 28 days from the end of the quarter to do so, after which time, you may incur a Failure To Lodge (FTL) penalty.
As with PAYG payments and reporting, you can also incur a FTL penalty for not lodging or paying your employees’ superannuation contributions in time. All businesses, regardless of size, have to make superannuation payments each quarter — the ATO sets out the due dates for each period on their website.
Lodging late PAYG and super payments
The ATO only applies penalties for failure to lodge reports or make payments for each period of 28 days (or part thereof) that a document or payment is overdue. Each period incurs one penalty unit for each document, up to a maximum of five penalty units.
From 2015 onwards, the value of a penalty unit is $180 (previously it was $170) for small businesses, which are defined as entities with an assessable income or GST turnover of no more than $1 million a year.
The maximum penalty a small business will pay is $900 for each document or payment that is overdue. Note too that FTL penalties will also incur a general interest charge (GIC), applied on top of the penalty.
Managing late PAYG and super payments
Use the Ad Hoc Payroll Guide, a new case study that is included in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel Training Coursesto determine the rate of PAYG tax to withhold and the required super contribution amounts in Excel. Once you’ve worked out the required amounts (visit the ATO website for tax tables prior to 2017), lodge the necessary PAYG payments and reports to the ATO; pay super contributions using the SuperStream super clearing house.
The ATO will write to you if you are required to pay a penalty — sometimes they are waived for first-time offences, or if the amounts are small.
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However, not every business owner has the procedures in place to manage their bookkeeping regularly. It’s ok, it’s not your fault — you were meaning to, but you were busy running your business and time marched on. Now you have to lodge an activity statement, and you’ve just realised you haven’t done any bookkeeping for three months!
When you need rescue bookkeeping
If you have three months or more of bookkeeping to do before you can lodge an activity statement, then you’re in need of a bookkeeper who can perform rescue work. Some of the common bookkeeping problems rescue work covers includes:
Bank accounts or credit cards that don’t reconcile with statements
Old un-presented transactions in the bank account or credit card
Trade debtors and trade creditors don’t balance with the balance sheet
Dealing with outstanding invoices and bills that have already been paid, but still showing as outstanding
Incorrect previously lodged BAS
Incorrect information showing in payslips, tax tables, super guarantee contributions calculations, payment summaries, etc, due to payroll systems being set up incorrectly
Unreliable inventory figures.
Not all bookkeepers are able to take on rescue work, because it’s lumpy and it requires them to perform a lot of work in a short space of time, which can conflict with their other regular bookkeeping work.
Rescue bookkeeping is often more expensive
Because rescue bookkeeping requires a lot of manpower in a short period of time, it’s often a little more expensive than have your bookkeeping attended to on a regular basis. In most cases, you will be asked to prepay for a minimum of 10 hour’s work or however long it’s estimated it will take to get your bookkeeping up to speed.
Do you need help with rescue bookkeeping work?
We have bookkeepers, BAS agents and accountants located across Australia, available to help businesses in need of rescue bookkeeping work. Visit our online directory of local bookkeepers and bookkeepers who work ‘in the cloud’ at National Bookkeeping for more information. Here you will be able to see the different bookkeepers’ rates or request a quote.