Buyers FAQ. Mildwaters Lawyers Kadina South Australia. Image: Home Ownership by Investment Zen via Flickr.
What's the difference between an ACN and an ABN?

An ACN (Australian Company Number) is issued by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) to all new companies registered in Australia to facilitate the monitoring of those companies and also to give them a unique identity code within the structure of the Corporations Law of Australia. Only a company can be issued with an ACN.

An ABN (Australian Business Number) is a unique number issued by the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) to all entities that are in business. If an entity is trading as a business, no matter how large or small, they must apply to the ATO to acquire an ABN and must show that ABN on any invoices they issue. The ATO will then automatically issue a unique eleven-digit number.

It is not necessary for an entity that has an ABN to be registered for GST if their annual turnover or income does not exceed $75,000.00. Confusion often arises between the two numbers due to the fact that the ATO will use the ACN as the basis for a company’s ABN. A company’s ABN will always consist of their ACN with a two-digit pre-fix. As mentioned, if you want further clarification, call our Senior Partner, Sujith Perera, on 03 9569 1005.

What is a BAS?

A Business Activity Statement, or commonly known as BAS, is a form issued by the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) to all GST registered entities to facilitate the reporting of the entities GST related activity for the period.

Where necessary, the Business Activity Statement also facilitates the reporting of small businesses PAYG withholding obligations, fringe benefits tax obligations and any PAYG income tax instalments that may apply to a business entity. The Activity Statements are normally issued quarterly, however in some circumstances, a business may be required, or may volunteer to, complete monthly Business Activity Statements.

What is the tax amount for a business?

The amount of tax that a business is required to pay is dependent on many variables.

For a business that uses a company structure, the tax will be 30% of the businesses net profit.

For a superannuation fund, the tax rate is 15% of the net profit.

The amount of tax that’s required to be paid for an individual will depend on where the income level sits within the progressive income tax scales but can range from 0% to 46.5%.

It is imperative that the right advice is sought before commencing a business structure as this can have a significant impact on the amount of income tax an entity is required to pay.

    I'm new to business. Can you help me?

    As your accountant for a new small business, here’s a rough guide on what we do to help you if you’re starting your new business.


    – Once we meet with you, our aim is to gain information on you as an individual and your businesses motives and goals, recommend and establish a suitable business structure based on your requirements and establish a suitable method for accounting for the business

    – We will advise you of all obligations with the ATO, set up all necessary registrations with the ATO including obligations related to running a business

    – We can supply Xero training through email and telephone support accompanied with support and are always available to answer client queries.

    – If you wish to focus on operating your business, we will advise on the best way to prepare your business documents for us

    – We will attend to all ATO lodgements and prepare accounts on a regular basis in order to provide meaningful reports that can be used in making the business operate more efficiently

    – We are always available to answer client queries and more than happy to attend on site for clients who find it hard to get away

    Do I have to include GST on Invoices?

    A business is only required to be registered for GST with the ATO if their annual turnover/income exceeds $75,000.00 per annum. Once you are registered for GST, you must, by law, add 10% GST to all of the invoices that you issue to your customers.

    What Accounting packages do you work with and recommend?

    There are many accounting packages on offer to businesses in the current market. Here at H&S Partners, we specialise in using Xero cloud-based software for the majority of our existing clientele. We are also able to assist you in the use of QuickBooks if it’s a more suitable package for your business.

    Here in the office, we utilise the Handisoft suite of products to manage your businesses accounts and general taxation affairs.

    What items are tax deductible?

    This is a very common question in business, especially for people who are new to the world of business. There is no easy answer, as this will largely depend on your business structure and industry. With our many years of experience, we will guide you in the right direction in this regard to ensure that your business is claiming all possible deductions that it is legally entitled to do so. If you have any questions on this topic, we are always willing to listen.

    Is my car a business expense?

    This will largely depend on the type of business that you are in and the structure that you trade under. In the majority of cases, if you require a motor vehicle to travel between suppliers, meetings, places of business, etc, there will be some form of deduction available to you.

    There are a number of different ways of claiming motor vehicle expenses and we will gladly advise you of the right method for your small business structure.

    What are the requirements for me to do my own payroll?

    In order for a small business entity to prepare its own payroll, it will require a small business accounting package such as Xero. It is imperative that the Xero account is set up properly from the outset to ensure the smooth running of this aspect of the business.

    We will gladly assist your business in the establishment of your Xero account and provide the necessary training and ongoing support to ensure that the payroll function does not become a burden to your business.

    Do I pay GST in invoices?

    If you are business entity that is registered for GST and is adding 10% GST to all of the invoices you issue to your clients, then you are also entitled to claim back any GST that you pay on your business expenses.

    The GST you collect less the GST you pay in your expenses; is the amount you send to the tax office each quarter. You must keep all of your invoices/receipts for a period of 5 years to justify your claims on receipts greater than $75.00

    How can I keep my accounting fees down?

    There are many ways for you to be involved in the running of your business. As your business prospers you will find that your time becomes increasingly valuable to you.

    We at H&S Partners are here to lift the burden of the administrative side of your business away from your shoulders. This allows you to focus on running your business, and we hope, becoming more successful in the process. We also understand that some clients prefer to keep both hands on the wheel, and we can tailor our accounting packages and support to suit the level of involvement that you require from us.

    What is the best way to keep my records in order?

    No matter the scale of the business, and in order to support our office in regards to the ongoing maintenance of your accounting affairs, it is imperative that every client has systems in place for filing their paperwork.

    If we feel that you could do with a ‘helping hand’ in this regard, we will gladly provide the right advice to ensure your records are maintained in an orderly, systematic manner.

    What's the best business structure for me?

    The most suitable business structure for you will depend on numerous factors. Here at H&S Partners, we will work with you to gain the greatest possible understanding of your business needs as well as your personal goals to ensure that we can select the most appropriate business structure for your circumstances. This may be a partnership, sole trader, company, trust, superannuation fund or some combination of all these entities. We can tailor our services to ensure that not only is your structure in tune with your personal goals, but also tax effective in the modern competitive business world.

    I'm based outside of Melbourne. Can you still help me?

    We most certainly can. We have clients in all states across Australia, and given current technologies, we are more than happy to assist you, no matter where you are located. Modern communication makes this process pain-free as we are only ever a telephone call or email away from your business.

    What makes you the specialist in personal taxes and small business?

    Based in Melbourne, and with over 25 years of experience as the accountant for individual and small business, our knowledge and understanding of how the personal taxes and business works, as well as its complexity, is what clients find of most value.

    The advice, systems, processes and reporting we provide to our clients is what makes us the specialist personal and small business accountant in providing accounting services.

    I'm an existing business, can you help me?

    As your accountant for your existing small business, here’s a rough guide of how we’ll help you once you join us:

    • Establish what part of the business life cycle you are currently in, from start up, to growth, to maturity
    • Notify your previous accountant (if applicable) of our appointment, request all previous documentation and review previous accounts/tax returns to give us a better insight into your business
    • Assess reasons why your business is looking at changing accountants (if applicable) and address those issues as a priority
    • Appoint ourselves as the registered tax agent with the ATO and ASIC, take control of these relationships, liaise with the ATO to determine if all lodgements and payments are up to date, and if not, work with the ATO and you to have all lodgements brought up to date
    • Assess and amend any systems and their value to your business
    • We are always available to answer client queries and questions by email and telephone. We are also more than happy to attend on site for clients that find it hard to get away from their place of business
    What is FBT and how does it affect my business?
    • Fringe benefits tax was first introduced in 1986, as a way of preventing many businesses from maintaining a relatively lavish lifestyle, having their business pay for it, and hence using the expenses as a way of minimising income tax obligations.
    • The most obvious expenses that can be caught under the FBT umbrella are lunches and entertainment, motor vehicles paid for by business but available for private use of individuals, and other non-business expenses paid for on behalf of directors and employees of the business.
    • FBT is an expenses tax to administer due to its complexity and we often advise clients to do what they can to avoid having expenses that will come under the FBT income tax laws. Not just because of the 46.5% tax rate of FBT, but also because of the administrative efforts required to ensure compliance with the law.
    • If you feel that you may be paying for expenses that are subject to FBT can I strongly urge you to consider a better way of running your business. Having said that, some individuals may well be happy to pay the FBT if it means saving them some personal tax, but for the average small business owner, FBT is a headache that can and should be avoided.
    I am a business owner and want to change my small business accountant, can you help me?
    • If you are not satisfied with your current accountant and you want to change from your existing small business accountant, it is important you do so.
    • Firstly, you need to contact your current accountant to let them know you will be changing accountants. Make sure that there is no current work pending completion and hence surprise billing.
    • We will meet with you to have a chat about your current situation and the reasons you are after wanting to change from your existing small business accountant. We have an open rapport with our clients which we believe is critical to making the relationship between us as your accountant and you our client, a success.
    • As small business accountants that help businesses in Sydney, Melbourne and across Australia, we communicate with all our clients in a clear, timely and understandable manner that allows you to receive a better education in what it takes to run your business successfully in partnership with us.
    What is Single Touch Payroll (STP)?
    • Single Touch Payroll (STP) is being introduced by The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to streamline the administration of employee payroll, tax and superannuation obligations. STP basically requires employers to report salary and wages, PAYG withholding and super information directly to the ATO at the same time the employees get paid.
    • Who does STP apply to and from when?
    • It is compulsory for all employers with 20 employees or more based on a headcount as at 1 April 2018 (called ‘substantial employer’) to report via STP effective from 1 July 2018. Once you become a substantial employer, you are required to report through STP even if your employee numbers drop to 19 or less, unless the Commissioner of Taxation grants you an exemption.
    • For employers with fewer than 20 employees at 1 April 2018, they may voluntarily report via STP from 1 July 2018.
    • The Government has announced that it intends to expand STP to include employers with less than 20 employees from 1 July 2019.

    What does this mean for employers?

    1. Your payroll software must be STP-enabled or compliant to send the required information directly to the ATO. Right now, payroll software and service providers are updating their products and a list of STP enabled software will be ready closer to 1 July 2018.
    2. When employers report salary and wages, PAYG withholding and super information at the same time the employees gets paid (based on their pay cycles), the ATO gets greater visibility of PAYG withholding and super information. This allows the ATO to perform data-matching to see if all Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) and PAYG withholding obligations are met. Please note that Superfunds are required to report to the ATO on the allocation of employers’ super contribution as they occur, so non-payment or late payment of super guarantee by employers can easily be identified by the ATO.
    3. Employers no longer need to provide payment summaries to employees because the ATO will provide this to the employees via MyGov accounts. Employers will also no longer be required to submit an annual PAYG report to ATO.
    4. With STP, employers have the option to pay PAYG withholding more regularly (likely to be built into STP enabled software). There is no change to current payment due dates so if you are on quarterly BAS reporting, the payment due date is still the BAS payment due date.
    5. Super payment due dates also remain unchanged, generally the 28th day after the end of a financial quarter. Employers that do not pay super or pay super late, can expect to receive penalties/interest charges, given the higher visibility to the ATO.
    6. New employees will have the option to complete TFN declarations and Super Choice forms online.


    1 April 2018 – complete a headcount

    1 July 2018 – STP is compulsory for employers with 20 employees or more

    1 July 2019 – Employers with 19 employees or less may be required to report through STP

    Definition of an employee

    This information will help you understand which employees to include in your headcount on 1 April 2018.

    The term ‘employee’ includes individuals that are employees under the ordinary (common law) meaning of ‘employee’. The definition of an employee:


    • full-time employees
    • part-time employees
    • casual employees who worked in the month of March, prior to the headcount on 1 April 2018
    • employees based overseas
    • any employee absent or on leave (paid or unpaid)
    • seasonal employees (staff who are engaged short term to meet a regular workload, for example, harvest workers)

     does not include

    • independent contractors
    • staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
    • casual employees who did not work in the month of March, prior to the headcount on 1 April 2018
    • company directors that are not your employees
    • office holders that are not your employees
    • religious practitioners
    • any employee who ceased work prior to 1 April 2018.

    Total registered clients

    Total registered companies

    We are ONLY based in Mount Waverley, Victoria

    Please note that our ONLY office is located in Mount Waverley Victoria. Our Tax Agent is Sujith Perera (TPB - 51482001) and do not have any other agents working from other locations. Our contact numbers are as follows 03 95691005 - Reception team (for appointment enquiries) 0421 378 102 - Sujith Perera (direct enquiries)