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For most business GST or VAT returns drive financial reporting deadlines.

We recommend that your accountant does these steps.

Check all expenses and transactions have been entered into Xero

Check expense claims are all approved and marked for payment (including any home office expenses like business calls on home phone bill, portion of power or rent etc), check aged payables and receivables to make sure that all payments received for invoices have been recorded (i.e. all invoices listed on these reports have not been paid)

Look over your GST/VAT Audit Report and General Ledger Report

The exceptions report is a great way to make sure there’s nothing unusual about any transactions in terms of amounts or tax applied and that all your transactions have been coded to the right accounts.

Review the tax return

Review the tax return and the manual portion for any adjustments you’re allowed to make before copying the information onto the tax department’s form. You can have your financial adviser sign in to Xero directly into the tax return to review it (or complete it for you) or you can save what you’ve done as a PDF and email it to them for review.

Enter the tax transactions

Enter the amount of tax you’ll pay or receive as a Spend Money or Receive Money transaction on the date it’s due and code it to the account ‘820 – Sales Tax’ (or whatever you’re renamed this to in your Chart of Accounts if applicable). When the payment goes through your bank account you’ll be able to reconcile it when it’s downloaded into Xero.

Lock your accounts for the end of the tax period

You (or someone with the financial adviser role) should enter a lock date to prevent any transactions being entered that will increase or decrease the sales tax in the period you’ve already processed.