The ATO has reported that some businesses are making simple mistakes reporting their GST, and has reminded taxpayers to avoid the following common GST reporting errors: 

  • Transposition and calculation errors – can occur when an amount is manually input. The ATO says these errors can be eliminated by double-checking all figures and calculations before submitting a Business Activity Statement (BAS).
  • No tax invoice – tax invoices must be kept to claim GST credits on business-related purchases.
  • Transaction classification – check what GST is applicable. For example, transactions involving food may be GST applicable.
  • Accounting systems – a system with one coding error can classify several transactions incorrectly. Taxpayers can check their business systems using the ATO's GST governance and risk management guide for large businesses.

Correcting GST errors

  • If a taxpayer finds a mistake made on a previous activity statement, they can:
  • correct the error on a later activity statement if the mistake fits the definition of a "GST error" and certain conditions are met;
  • lodge an amendment – the time limit for amending GST credits is four years, starting from the day after the taxpayer was required to lodge the activity statement for the relevant period; or
  • contact the ATO for advice.

The benefit of correcting a GST error on a later activity statement (where the conditions are met) is that the taxpayer will not be liable for any penalties or general interest charge (GIC) for that error. The ATO says it is generally easier to correct a GST error on a later activity statement than to revise an earlier activity statement. Revising an earlier activity statement that contains an error can incur penalties or GIC.