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  • Business records you need to keep

    You must keep records to help you prepare your business activity statements (BAS) and annual income tax return, and to meet other tax obligations. Below is a list of the records all businesses need to keep.

    Income and sales records

    Records of all income and sales transactions, including tax invoices, receipt books, cash register tapes and records of cash sales.

    Expense or purchase records

    Records of all business expenses, including cash purchases. Records could include receipts, tax invoices, cheque book receipts, credit card vouchers and diaries to record small cash expenses. If you bought something for your business, but sometimes use it for private use, you also need to keep records showing how you worked out how much of its use is private.

    Year-end records

    These include lists of creditors (people you owe money to) or debtors (people that owe you money). It also includes expenses you incur buying, maintaining, repairing and selling business assets or stock. You should keep worksheets to calculate the decreasing value of your assets (also called 'depreciating assets'), stocktake sheets and capital gains tax records.

    Bank records

    Your banking records can include things like deposit slips, cheque butts or payment records, bank and credit card statements, and loan or lease agreements.

    Your business and personal expenses should be kept separate. Separate business bank accounts are mandatory for partnerships, companies and trusts. If you're a sole trader, a separate business bank account can also make your records easier to manage.

    Other records you may need to keep

    Depending on your tax obligations you may also need to keep other records. Some examples are listed below.

    Goods and services tax (GST) records

    If you are registered for GST, keep all tax invoices from your suppliers, which will help you claim GST credits. You must keep any other document that records adjustments, a decision or a calculation made for GST purposes. You report GST amounts and claim GST credits for purchases on your business activity statements (BAS).

    Fuel tax records

    To claim fuel tax credits for your business, your records must show you:

    • acquired the fuel
    • used the fuel in your business
    • applied the correct rate when calculating how much you could claim
    • are carrying on business activities that are eligible for fuel tax credits.

    Employee and contractor records

    If you have workers, you will need to keep records of any:

    • tax file number (TFN) declarations and withholding declaration forms
    • wages, allowances and other payments you make to them
    • tax you withhold from payments you make to them
    • contributions to their superannuation
    • fringe benefits you provided
    • contracts.

    Your tax and super obligations will change depending on whether your worker is an employee or a contractor, so it's important you determine what your worker is.

    Next step:

    Employee or contractor decision tool

    Record keeping evaluation tool

    There may be other records you need to keep when running your business. To work out what records you need to keep for your business, use the record keeping evaluation tool.

    Next step:

    Use the Record keeping evaluation tool

      Last modified: 30 Mar 2016QC 26714