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Accountability for business record keeping

Learn who is accountable for keeping business records, and what to expect if you do not meet record-keeping obligations.

Last updated 3 July 2023

Who is accountable

As the business owner, you are accountable for understanding your record-keeping obligations. You retain primary accountability even if you assign this duty to another person, including an employee, or a registered tax or BAS agent.

Accountable management and oversight can benefit all businesses and is one of the principles of effective tax governance.

Our reviews and audits

We have a responsibility to government and the community to ensure everyone complies with the laws we administer.

If we check your tax, super and registration affairs, it doesn't mean we think you've been untruthful. If we find a difference, we know mistakes can be made. If the law allows us to, we consider this when we determine if any penalties should apply.

We assume you're trying to meet your obligations unless your actions give us reason to believe otherwise.

How to get help

If you need help, ask a registered tax or BAS agent or contact us.

We will help you get back on track if you make a mistake. We provide help through our advice, publications and visits. You can also discuss your record-keeping practices with our field officers if they come to visit you.

See our guidance on what to expect during the review and audit processes.

Penalties for not keeping or retaining records

There are penalties that may apply if you don't keep or retain your records as required. These penalties may be:

We take your circumstances, compliance history and behaviour into consideration if we need to make a penalty decision, so ensure you discuss these with us.

You may be able to dispute or object to a penalty decision.