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ATO rules for business records

The ATO requires all businesses to keep records with respect to their business income and business expenses.

Income

The following types of records should be kept with respect to business income:

  • Sales invoices (including tax invoices)
  • Sales vouchers or receipts
  • Cash register tapes
  • Credit card statements
  • Bank deposit books
  • Bank statements.

For businesses that operate in the residential building industry, this equates to:

  • progress claims (which need to be in the form of a tax invoice and be backed up by copies of building contracts and written variations)
  • receipts issued to clients for all deposits and progress payments paid by them or their bank
  • any bank documents that show the receipt of those payments, and
  • if applicable, any documents that are generated by the client’s financier or relate to a security account held jointly with the client.

Expenses

The following types of records should be kept in relation to their business expenses: 

  • Purchase orders
  • Tax Invoices issued by suppliers
  • Purchase/expense receipts, which include an ABN
  • Cheque butts
  • Credit card statements
  • Bank statements
  • Effective 1 July 2012, businesses in the building and construction industry will need to keep records of (and report to the ATO) payments made to contractors who carry out building and construction work.

For businesses that operate in the residential building industry, this equates to:

For job-related expenses:

  • Purchase orders for materials and written requests to sub-contractors for quotes
  • Delivery dockets
  • Project or period trade contracts and work orders
  • Applications submitted to government departments
  • Tax invoices issued by suppliers and subcontractors
  • Documents that are issued by government departments for any levies, fees and charges:
    • Receipts issued by suppliers, subcontractors or government departments in relation to goods and/or services supplied by them
    • Bank documents such as credit card statements, cheque stubs and internet banking documents that show proof of payment

And for general operating expenses:

  • Purchase orders for supplies (either goods or services such as advertising in the local newspaper or telephone directory)
  • Delivery dockets
  • Tax invoices (showing an ABN) and monthly statements issued by suppliers
  • Bank documents such as credit card statements, cheque stubs, internet banking documents and direct debit authorisations that show proof of payment
  • documents such as receipts and monthly statements issued by the supplier after having received payment.

To find out more, contact HIA's Workplace Services team

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