Frequently Asked Questions about

BAS/IAS & esigning

These are some of the most commonly asked questions we are asked about.
If you can’t see an answer to your question, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Q. Who is authorised to sign the IAS/BAS Activity Statement?   (Sydney Anglican Diocese)

Technically the signing of the BAS is stating the following:
“I, (name of business client) authorise (name of agent) to give the (specify the period) activity statement to the Commissioner of Taxation for (entity name).
I declare that the information provided for the preparation of this activity statement is true and correct.
I am authorised to make this declaration.
[Insert for emailed declaration] Type full name and date
[Insert for paper declaration] Signed: Date:”
Please see this ATO link for more details if you want:

Therefore the main issues are:

1. Authorised Person
The BAS Circular on the diocese website states: “Your BAS may be signed by the treasurer, a churchwarden or any parish councillor” The Appointment Duties & Responsibilities webpage states: “Although the wardens are responsible for various functions, they can arrange for other persons to perform some of these functions on their behalf. In particular, if one of the wardens is not prepared to act as treasurer, they may appoint another person to act as treasurer with the approval of the minister. The wardens’ ability to delegate the performance of some of their responsibilities to others is important, particularly in larger churches.” Therefore another person can be delegated, and would generally be a trained person where they are not an “officer” (warden or parish councillor). We would recommend that this decision be documented.
2. True & Correct
The statement that the activity report should be True and Correct – usually refers to taking reasonable and responsible steps to ensure that it is accurate.
The reasonable steps are:
i. Implemented an ATO and Sydney Diocese recommended and accurate Accounting System
Xero Accounting Software that accurately and reliably:
– calculates the GST & PAYG
– Calculates PAYG
– Calculates and reports the BAS
– includes default tax codes which increases the accuracy and consistency
– enables individual transactions to be edited to ensure the correct tax code for a particular transaction.

ii. Contracted a bookkeeping company that is suitably qualified and experienced to perform the payroll transactions, produce reports & lodge reports with the ATO.
Performing the following actions on a regular basis to ensure reasonable accuracy of the accounts:
– Ensures that all bank accounts reconcile to the bank statements
– Reconciles the Wages Payable account – ie net wages paid = the net wages processed through the payroll system
– 2 x Annual Payroll Reconciliations – ie Payroll Reports = General Ledger + Total of IAS/BASs reported to the the ATO during the year.
The auditors also require and check this
– Monthly reviews the Balance Sheet & Profit & Loss reports against budget for obvious errors
– Quarterly reviews the GST Transactions for obvious errors
– Provides support & training.
– Performs annual GST recalculations and also compares to the totals reported to the ATO during the year – to take up any adjustments made after BAS has been submitted
– Performs superannuation reconciliations quarterly
– Performs other Balance Sheet reconciliations at least annually
– All Balance Sheet and Payroll reconciliations are also checked by the Auditor

iii. Contracted an accounting firm that is suitably qualified and experienced to perform an annual audit of the church accounts
You understand that, whilst the audit is not exhaustive, the audit will review processes, reconciliations, larger variances and transactions. This will check that the control processes are sufficient. By this, we would expect that the auditors do not find anything that would lead them to question that the accounts do not represent a true and fair view of the church’s finances.

iv. Monthly Reports
Monthly reports are conducted
– the Profit & Loss Report is reviewed monthly. Variances to budget are investigated
– the Balance Sheet is reviewed monthly

Therefore, given the above, we would say that the IAS/BAS should be:

Signed by
 one of the treasurer, a churchwarden or any parish councillor. This can be delegated if the person being delegated has some training and accepts the task.

True & Correct
Given the above, we believe  reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the reports submitted to the the ATO are accurate. One simple additional step that an authoriser could perform is to compare the PAYG & GST being authorised to the previous PAYG & GST as paid to the ATO.

Q. Why does the BAS/IAS Activity Statements need esigning?
The ATO requires us to get approval for each and every BAS before lodgement.
To do this we are using an Adobe E-Signature program that is approved by the ATO
We will send you an email to E-sign the document. This includes the instructions that are easy to follow.  eSign Instructions

To approve

  1. Review Documents from the email
  2. Login into the Xero Portal.
    If an existing Xero user log in using your existing email address and password
    If you are not a Xero user, you’ll need to provide some details and create an account.  At the top click out of demo into the name of the entity you require.
  3. Review the cover letter, declaration and form details, then click Start.
  4. Follow the instructions provided in the form.

To decline a request to e-sign

  1. From the return, Click Options, then select I will not e-sign.
  2. Enter the reason for declining.
  3. Click decline.

esigning with Xero Tax 

© Benkorp Management Services 2018