October 02 - Business Advice - Tax Accounting

5 Legal Responsibilities that Business Owners Often Forget

As accountants to hundreds of business owners, it’s easy for us to notice common threads between you all – no matter your business size, industry or how long you’ve been in the game for. There are five legal responsibilities we’re reminding clients of more often than not so considering this your reminder to get the following in your calendars/workflow/project management tools – whatever floats your boat! 

Here are the five things business owners often forget. 


In a nutshell, workcover is an insurance that pays for income loss and medical expenses as a result of injury or harm acquired in the workplace. Workcover isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must-have for any business that has employees paid more than $7,500 p/year, apprentices or trainees. 

Each state has its own workcover authority that you can get insured through – or we can organise it for you. It’s a yearly premium you must pay for continued coverage and just to be clear, it’s a legal requirement! 

We’ve written a blog on everything you need to know about workcover for more information.

Payroll Tax

This tax often rubs people the wrong way (we get it) and as such, it’s a nice one to try and ignore… but unfortunately the ATO just doesn’t work like that 😉 If you are not registered for payroll tax but should be – or if you are registered and haven’t paid on time or at all, you will be issued interest and penalties on top of the existing tax liability. Long story short: you end up much more out of pocket than you needed to be.

Payroll tax can be paid monthly or annually (if you’re not sure which option would be best for you, get in touch) with the monthly payments due on the 7th. You can find all the payroll tax information you’ll need here, on another blog we cooked up earlier. 

Missing Super Deadlines

…or forgetting to pay your own super. The stress of a superannuation ATO audit is just not worth it but more importantly, your employees’ super is simply not your money to hold on to! You must pay superannuation obligations on time, or you’ll be looking at a super guarantee charge statement which is costly to say the least. Check out our article on SGCs and avoiding super stress here for the full explanation of how the charge for unpaid or late super is calculated. 

Our best tips for staying on top of superannuation obligations are to leverage technology and align your super payments with payroll. Tech such as Xero offer an inbuilt super payment function which authorises payment to automatically be deducted from your account and into your employee’s super fund. Aligning payments with your payroll means that rather than paying big chunks at a time, or running the risk of late payments, you’re fulfilling the obligation at the time of the pay run so falling behind simply doesn’t happen.

GST Registration

This is particularly important for new business owners – or those looking to turn their side hustle into their full time employment. Once your gross income hits $75,000 you must register for GST. In the case of a non-profit organisation, you’re obligated to register once you hit a gross income of $150,000. 

Do your best to forecast when you’ll reach those figures and register beforehand – you don’t want to see the numbers tick over to $75k and be yet to go through the process. Too early is much better than too late!

The ATO has lots of information about registering for GST, found here.

Updating Your Details With Your Accountant

This is a really important one and it’s easy to slip your mind. We know the list of people and companies you have to notify when you move address for instance feels endless and ‘accountant’ is often left off that list. 

Email address, mailing address, business address, phone numbers… if any of these change, we need to know. It matters for our database but also for the ATO, ABR and ASIC. If you have a company, address updates must be made apparent to ASIC within a 28 day period. We can take care of it for you, but only if you let us know in time!

Amy filmed a video covering this topic, watch here.

Have one of these items made a lightbulb go off in your head? If you need our help rectifying any of the above, you know where to find us.