Businesses should aim to move towards digitising their tax, super and employee-related documents as per recommendation by the ATO.
Digital record-keeping has many advantages and can help to:
- Streamline accounting practices by utilising appropriate software so that you can focus on the business as opposed to ensuring the accuracy of manual/paper records.
- Keep track of income, expenses, assets and liabilities easily.
- Create summaries and reports for GST, income tax, fringe benefits tax (FBT) and taxable payments reporting system (TPRS), as per requirements. This is much easier with digital record-keeping.
- Lodging tax and super obligations, including business activity statements (BAS), tax return, and taxable payments annual report (TPAR) becomes more straightforward as all the information is quickly available.
- Information requested by the ATO is readily available if you need to provide it.
- Instantly meet legal Single Touch Payroll (STP) record-keeping obligations.
How to digitally store paper records
The ATO accepts images of a business’ paper records. The digital copies should be true and clear reproductions of the paper records. They must meet the five record- keeping requirements:
- Keep ALL records.
- Do not change the relevant information in the records.
- Keep most records for five years (or more if specified).
- Show records if requested by ATO.
- Must be in English or easily translated into English.
Once images of the paper records have been saved onto a digital storage system, you do not need to keep the paper records. However, if the records were digitised by manually entering information from digital or paper records onto accounting software, then copies of original records need to be kept (scans or originals).
Digital record-keeping is convenient for the business, the ATO and is better for the environment than paper record-keeping.