Tax & Accounting

Hern & Associates accountants know everything there is to know about tax – whether you are an individual, self-employed, medium or small business owner – we can help you legally minimise your tax.
Hern & Associates also offers a personalised approach beyond tax returns, which includes BAS preparation, monthly bookkeeping support and small business accounting along with quarterly reporting using the very latest technology.
In most cases, your tax return can be completed in one visit. Before you come in to see us at tax-time, download our Tax Return Checklist below, to ensure you bring with you everything we need to complete it quickly and easily for you. The checklist will also guide you through the tax documentation process.

2018 INDIVIDUAL Tax Return Checklist (PDF download 217KB) Hern Tax Checklist (Small Business) (PDF download 152KB)

Note: The above files are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

Business Benchmarks

Small business benchmarks are a guide to help businesses compare their performance against similar businesses in an industry. The benchmarks are calculated from information reported on the income tax returns and activity statements of businesses that operate in similar industries.

Benchmarks are published as a range to account for businesses with different annual turnovers, variations across financial years, regions and business models.

How can benchmarks help your business?

Benchmarks are a useful tool to help you meet your tax obligations by:

  • Obtaining guidance on what we normally expect to see in business reporting.
  • Comparing your business with others in your industry.
  • Working out if you need to adjust your business and record-keeping practices.
  • Assessing whether your business is at risk of an audit.

How does the ATO use benchmarks?

The ATO uses benchmarks, amongst other indicators, to identify businesses that may be avoiding their tax obligations by not reporting some or all of their income. Information you report in your tax returns or BAS are compared with the key benchmark for your industry. The ATO checks to see whether you are reporting outside of the benchmark range for your turnover.

  • Your business industry code.
  • The description of the main business activity on your income tax return.
  • The trading name of your business.

What if your business is outside a benchmark?

There may be reasons why a business reports outside of their benchmark. For example, they may have higher costs or lower selling prices than most other businesses in the industry. It is important that these are reflected in business records.

Being outside of the key benchmark may also indicate that a business may not be recording, reporting or paying tax on all their transactions, especially cash transactions.

If your business is reporting outside the benchmarks, we recommend you:

  • Review your record-keeping practices to ensure they meet the legal requirements.
  • Check whether you have correctly reported all your income and expenses in your income tax returns or activity statements.

If you find that you have incorrectly reported your income and expenses, you should:

  • Correct the affected tax return or activity statement
  • Let the ATO know by making a voluntary disclosure.

The ATO may contact you to ask for an explanation. Your individual circumstances are taken into consideration, based on the records maintained. Please contact Hern & Associates on 8344 6011 if you would like to discuss your business benchmarks or via email reception@herns.com.au

Tax Audit Insurance

The amount of tax audits carried out by The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on both individuals and businesses is on the rise, so now is a good time to remind ourselves to be prepared. But what exactly is a tax audit? A tax audit is an examination of your tax affairs by the ATO to see if you have done what you are required to do under the tax laws, including whether you:

  • Have declared all the assessable income you receive.
  • Are entitled to the deductions and tax offsets you have claimed on your tax return.

Audits can vary in their complexity. Sometimes they only involve a phone call, or a letter, asking you to provide further information or verify your claims. In some cases a tax officer may visit you. In some cases you may be asked to provide all your records for examination. For that reason, it is vital that you keep all your paperwork and records in relation to your tax return, just in case you happen to draw the “short straw”. Have you considered Audit Insurance? If you should find yourself being audited by the ATO, it is best to engage professional assistance, because any errors or omissions found and reported to the ATO before they commence their audit will significantly reduce – or even dismiss – potential fines or penalties. Also, depending on the nature and complexity of the audit, accountancy fees can be substantial. Talk to Hern & Associates about whether Audit Insurance may be appropriate for you and take away the worry about getting any surprise calls from the ATO. Contact us today on 8344 6011 or email reception@herns.com.au