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  • Writer's pictureLockwood & Ward

Essential record keeping at year-end

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Staying on top of record-keeping all year round can save time, reduce stress for small business owners and help to maximise your tax return.

Although record-keeping can seem like a tedious job, it is an essential part of running a business

Good record-keeping makes it easier to meet your tax obligations, helps to manage your cash flow and make sound business decisions. Putting the hard work in at the end of each financial year can get your business organised and help you work smarter in the year ahead.

Essential business records that must be kept include:

Expense or purchase records: You must keep records of all business expenses, such as receipts, tax invoices, cheque book receipts, credit card vouchers and diaries to record small cash expenses.

Year-end records: These records include lists of creditors or debtors and worksheets to calculate depreciating assets, stock-take sheets and capital gains tax records.

Income and sales records:

You must keep records of all income and sale transactions such as tax invoices, receipt books, cash register tapes and records of cash sales.

Bank records:

Documents such as bank statements, loan documents and bank deposit books need to be kept in preparation for your tax return.

Fuel tax credits: To claim fuel tax credits for your business, records must show that you acquired the fuel, used it in your business, and applied the correct rate when calculating how much you are eligible to claim.

Payments to employees and contractors: Records of your workers need to be kept, including tax file numbers, withholding declaration forms, contributions to their superannuation, wages and any other payments made to them.

By law, business records must be kept for a minimum period of five years for sole traders and individuals and seven years for companies’ and payroll transactions after the record is created, updated, the transaction is completed or the return in which they were included was lodged, whichever is the latter. Records can be kept electronically or on paper, must be in English or in a form that can be easily converted, and thoroughly explain all transactions. Failure to keep the correct tax records can incur penalties from the ATO.

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