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Uber BAS Explained – The Ultimate Guide to BAS’s for Uber Drivers
If you’re an Uber or rideshare driver, you’ve no doubt heard that you must lodge a BAS to the ATO each quarter.
But if you’re like most Uber drivers, it’s your first time running your own business and dealing with GST. Figuring out how to lodge your Uber BAS for the first time can be a challenge.
So in this post I’m going to deep dive into BAS’s for Uber and rideshare drivers. You’ll learn how GST is calculated on your Uber and rideshare income, all the rideshare expenses you can claim, examples of what the Uber BAS statement looks like, and how to lodge your Uber BAS to the ATO.
Table of Contents
1) Before You Start – ABN’s & GST for Uber and Rideshare
1.1) Do Uber Drivers Need An ABN?
1.2) Do Uber Drivers Have To Register For GST?
1.3) How Is GST On Uber Income Calculated?
1.4) Where Does Income Tax Come Into This?
2) Introduction to BAS’s for Uber and Rideshare
2.1) What Is A BAS?
2.2) When Are The Quarterly BAS Due Dates?
2.3) How Much GST Do I Have To Pay On My Uber Income?
2.4) What Uber Expenses Can I Claim On My BAS?
2.5) Do I Need A Logbook to Claim Uber Car Expenses On My BAS?
2.6) Keeping Uber Receipts And Expense Records
2.7) Saving For Your Uber BAS
3) How To Lodge Your Uber BAS To The ATO
3.1) How To Lodge Your Uber BAS With A Tax Agent
3.2) How To Lodge Your Own Uber BAS On MyGov
3.3) How To Lodge Your Own Uber BAS – Step-by-Step Video Tutorial
3.4) How To Lodge A Nil BAS on MyGov
Skip To The Good Bits!
Looking for an accountant to lodge your BAS?
Jump here to read about DriveTax Express BAS service.
Looking for the DriveTax FREE Spreadsheet to help you lodge your own BAS?
Jump here for the free spreadsheet download.
Want to learn how to lodge your own BAS on MyGov?
Jump here to read more about the Understanding Uber Taxes online course and MyGov BAS video tutorials.
Before you lodge your Uber BAS there are two things you need, an ABN and a GST Registration.
ABN stands for Australian Business Number. Every rideshare and food delivery driver in Australia must have an ABN. You can submit an ABN application on the Australian Tax Office website, or you can use DriveTax’s free ABN application service (more below).
We only get one ABN for our lifetimes, and we must use this one ABN for all of our business activities. So if you already have an ABN, for example from freelance or subcontracting income, then you must use this same ABN for Uber as well. If you have had an ABN at any time in the past that is now cancelled or inactive, you will need to reactivate that same ABN. You can look up your current or past ABN on the Australian Business Register.
GST stands for Goods and Services Tax. It’s a tax of 10% on all the goods and services sold in Australia.
There are two situations where you must register for GST:
- If you earn $75,000 or more from food delivery or other business income, and $0 from rideshare, OR
- If you earn $1 or more from rideshare driving.
In other words, ALL rideshare Uber drivers must register for GST, thanks to ATO tax laws especially for taxi and rideshare drivers, the usual $75,000 threshold does not apply. These laws are not applicable to food delivery drivers though, so if you ONLY drive for UberEats and don’t do any Uber driving then you don’t have to register for GST unless your total ABN income (including from other sources of ABN income, but not employee income) is more than $75,000. If you do both rideshare AND food delivery, then the rideshare rules apply and you must register for GST.
Once you are registered for GST, that registration applies to ALL business/sole-trader income you earn on your ABN. So if you also do freelance or subcontracting work or have other small business income, that income will now be subject to GST as well.
Any business in Australia that is GST-registered must give 1/11th of each sale of Goods or Services (e.g. Uber rides) to the ATO as GST.
As an Uber or rideshare driver, this means that 1/11th of the Gross Fares plus 1/11th of all other amounts a rider pays for the ride must be passed on to the ATO. Then, as GST-registered business you can claim back a GST credit for the GST (usually 1/11th) included in any expenses for your business, which includes the Uber Service Fees and any other fees you pay to Uber, plus car running costs, mobile phone bills, stationery etc.
Here’s an example of what this looks like on a monthly Uber Tax Summary:
Take a look first at the items marked with a grey dot above, Split Fare Fees, Tolls, City Fees, Airport Fees and Booking Fees. You receive these amounts from your rider as income, and then you pass them on to Uber as an expense. These amounts are Uber’s income, not yours, so naturally you shouldn’t pay tax on it.
However the ATO still requires you to show the two sides of the equation separately. So on your BAS statement you’ll declare these amounts as sales and pay 1/11th to the ATO as GST on Sales, but then you’ll also claim them as expenses and claim back that 1/11th as GST on Expenses. As you can see above they cancel each other out, meaning you pay $0 GST on these amounts. So rest assured, you will only pay GST on the income that actually ends up in your pocket. The ATO just wants you to calculate it the long way around!
Here’s how the BAS calculation works in our example Uber figures above:
Gross Sales = Gross Uber Fares + Split Fare Fees + Tolls + City Fees + Airport Fees + Booking Fees + Tips
GST on Sales = Gross Sales ÷ 11
Total Expenses = Uber Service Fees + Split Fare Fees + Tolls + City Fees + Airport Fees + Booking Fees
GST on Sales = Total Expenses ÷ 11
(You’ll of course need to add your car and other expenses into this equation too, but for now I just want to show you how the Uber GST amounts are calculated).
Net GST Payable = GST on Sales – GST on Expenses
In addition to GST, you must also pay Income Tax on your Uber income. In other words, as a rideshare driver you must pay two different kinds of tax on your rideshare income, GST and Income Tax.
By the same token, you can claim most of your expenses under both GST and Income Tax. You’ll claim the GST portion (i.e. 1/11th) of your expenses on your BAS’s each quarter, and then the remaining portion (i.e. 10/11ths) as a tax deduction on your end of year income tax return.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of GST for Uber, let’s take a look at BAS’s for Uber drivers.
A BAS (short for Business Activity Statement) is an ATO form that Australian GST-registered sole-traders and businesses must fill in and lodge to the ATO to declare their sales and expenses and pay their GST.
The BAS asks for three main pieces of information:
- Gross Sales – this is the total sales made for the quarter before deducting any expenses (as calculated above)
- GST on Sales – this is simply 1/11th of the sales
- GST on Expenses – this is the total of GST that was included in all your business expenses paid for during the quarter
We then take GST on Sales minus GST on Expenses to give the Net GST Payable. This amount is payable to the ATO by your BAS due date. BAS’s can be lodged by paper form, via MyGov, or through a Tax Agent. The due date of the BAS varies depending on your lodgment method.
If you drove for Uber during last financial year and registered a profit, then you may also have a section on your BAS for PAYG Instalments. If this applies to you, visit our blog post on PAYG Instalments for Uber Drivers to learn more.
If you did not earn any income for a quarter, you MUST still lodge your BAS. This applies for any quarter where you were registered for GST, even if you were only registered for one day. Lodging a Nil BAS yourself is simple and free. Jump to our instructions below to learn how.
Almost all Uber drivers lodge BAS’s to the ATO quarterly. It is possible to choose monthly BAS’s instead, but I advise against it. If you’re planning to lodge your BAS’s through an accountant, lodging twelve BAS’s per year instead of four will triple your accounting fees. And if you plan to lodge your own BAS’s, not only is lodging monthly three times as much work, but it’s also three times as many chances to accidentally miss your BAS lodgement deadline and get a penalty from the ATO. For these reasons, I recommend that all rideshare drivers choose quarterly lodegment.
Here are the BAS quarter dates and lodgement due dates:
|Q1 – September Quarter||Q3 – March Quarter|
|1st July – 30th September||1st Jaunary – 31st March|
|• Lodge yourself – paper form – 28th October||• Lodge yourself – paper form – 28th April|
|• Lodge yourself – MyGov – 11th November||• Lodge yourself – MyGov – 11th May|
|• Lodge with Tax Agent – 25th November||• Lodge with Tax Agent – 25th May|
|Q2 – December Quarter||Q4 – June Quarter|
|1st October – 31st December||1st April – 30th June|
|• Everyone – 28th February||• Lodge yourself – paper form – 28th July|
|• Lodge yourself – MyGov – 12th August|
|• Lodge with Tax Agent – 25th August|
Q1 – September Quarter
1st July – 30th September
• Lodge yourself – paper form – 28th Oct
• Lodge yourself – MyGov – 11th Nov
• Lodge with Tax Agent – 25th Nov
Q2 – December Quarter
1st October – 31st December
• Everyone – 28th Feb
Q3 – March Quarter
1st January – 31st March
• Lodge yourself – paper form – 28th Apr
• Lodge yourself – MyGov – 11th May
• Lodge with Tax Agent – 25th May
Q4 – June Quarter
1st April – 30th June
• Lodge yourself – paper form – 25th July
• Lodge yourself – MyGov – 12th Aug
• Lodge with Tax Agent – 25th Aug
If the due date falls on a weekend or public holiday then the due date becomes the next business day.
All GST-registered businesses in Australia must pay GST on their gross sales/income. We discussed earlier which amounts on your monthly Uber Tax Summary are included in income, so to calculate your GST on Sales just add up these amounts and divide by 11. For other rideshare companies such as Ola and Didi the GST calculation is essentially the same. Your income equals ALL of the amounts that are collected from your passenger, and the GST is 1/11th, this is what you’ll declare on your BAS.
Again, for the amounts that you then pay forward to the rideshare company (e.g. booking fees) you’ll then claim the GST back as an expense. So you won’t actually pay any tax on these amounts, the ATO just requires you to declare both sides of the equation. After deducting those expenses, you’ll only pay GST on the amounts that actually end up in your pocket.
If you also earn other income on your ABN, such as from subcontracting, freelancing or another business, this must also be included in your Gross Sales, and you’ll pay GST of 1/11th on this income also.
(If you want to find out how much net GST you’ll pay overall on your Uber earnings, I answer this a little further down in the section titled ‘Saving for Your BAS’. Keep reading!)
Once you’ve worked out the GST on your income, you’ll then want to reduce this as much as possible by claiming back the GST credits on your expenses.
Here’s a list of common BAS claims for rideshare drivers. Note that for some that I’ve marked with (%) you will need to apportion your GST claim for business vs private use:
- Rideshare Fees & Charges
- Rideshare Company Service Fees
- Booking Fees
- Split Fare Fees
- Airport Fees
- Government fees
- Car Expenses (%)
- Servicing and Maintenance
- Hire/Rental Fees
- Other Expenses
- Computer Expenses
- Courses & Training
- First Aid Kit
- Internet (%)
- Mobile Phone (%)
- Music Subscriptions (%)
- Parking (only during an active shift, not at your home or employee job)
- Rider Amenities (mints, tissues etc)
There are also some common expenses that do not have GST. These cannot be claimed in your BAS, but they are still tax deductible so they can only be claimed on your end of year income tax return.
- Bank Fees
- Car Depreciation
- Car Loan Interest
- Car Loan Repayments
- Car Registration
- Some Government Fees, Licences etc
And these expenses are considered personal expenses or otherwise are not deductible
- Parking at home or at your employee job
- Personal Comfort
- Personal Hygiene
- Prescription Glasses (only sunglasses can be claimed)
One more thing to note is the timing of your deductions. GST claims work on a cash basis, which means the claim happens on the date you pay the money. A great example of this is your car insurance. If you pay your insurance in one annual premium, then you will claim the whole amount in one quarter and nothing in the other three quarters. Alternatively, if you pay monthly you’ll claim three monthly premiums in each quarterly BAS.
You don’t need a formal 12-week logbook to claim rideshare car expenses on your BAS. Instead, for BAS purposes, the ATO only requires you to make a reasonable estimate of the percentage that you use your car for Uber and Rideshare vs private/other use.
So how do you estimate your Rideshare Percentage in order to claim your car expenses? The ATO’s preferred method is that you keep some kind of mini-logbook. It doesn’t have to be a full 12 weeks, and it doesn’t have to follow the formatting or other usual logbook rules. It just needs to have enough data to justify to the ATO how you came to your estimated rideshare percentage. This isn’t a strict rule though, you can use any method to estimate your percentage, as long as you can show the ATO how you worked it out.
Remember that although you don’t need a logbook for you BAS, you do still need an official 12-week logbook to claim car expenses on your end of year tax return. So my recommendation is that you might as well keep a proper logbook anyway. But in the meantime, if you haven’t started your logbook yet, or you’re only partway through your 12 weeks, it’s nice to know you have the backup option to estimate your percentage for your rideshare BAS instead.
We all know that receipts and invoices are tricky to keep, so here are a few recordkeeping tips to make sure you never miss a tax deduction.
The ATO requires that for expenses over $82.50 you must have a tax invoice in order to claim the GST back on your BAS. For expenses under $82.50, you don’t need a tax invoice, any receipt or bank statement record will do. A great tip is to always pay for rideshare expenses using your credit or debit card so that your expenses will appear on your bank statement. That way, for your expenses under $82.50 you can be sure you’ll always have a valid tax record, even if you lose the physical receipt.
The easiest way to keep your tax receipts is to buy an expanding file like this one. Mark each section with a category of expenses, for example fuel, other car expenses, phone bills, water & mints, stationery etc. Then grab a large envelope to keep in the glovebox of your car to collect receipts while you’re on the go. File these into your expanding file on a regular basis. Finally, create a tax receipts file on your computer or in your email inbox for any electronic receipts that come via email (tip: put the relevant quarter into the filename of each invoice, e.g. 2020 Q2, so that you can easily identify the receipts you need at the end of each quarter.) The ATO does accept digital receipts and invoices, so you don’t need to print anything.
At the end of the quarter when it’s time to collate these expenses, you have two main options:
If you like to manage your taxes digitally, download the DriveTax Free Uber Bookkeeping Spreadsheet. We’ve custom-built the spreadsheet for all major rideshare & food delivery companies in Australia, so you can lodge your BAS for Uber, Ola, DiDi and more. It’s quick and easy to enter your expenses, whether you like to do so weekly or in one bit hit at the end of the month or quarter. The spreadsheet also includes our free DriveTax Logbook Spreadsheet, which makes it simple to keep your official ATO 12-week logbook for your end of year tax return.
Option 2 – Adding Up Manually
Alternatively, If you prefer a non-digital option, here’s how to add up your expenses the old-fashioned way. Note that this option is only really suitable if you plan to lodge your rideshare BAS through a tax agent. If you want to do your own GST calculation and lodge your own Uber BAS via MyGov you will need to use a spreadsheet.
Before you start, you’ll need a calculator, sticky notes or scraps of paper, rubber bands and a space on your lounge room floor. Gather your expenses from your expanding file and your glovebox envelope, and sort them into piles for each of the categories in our list of claimable expenses above. Be sure to check the date of each receipt so you’re not mixing up expenses from last/next quarter. Once you’ve sorted all your Uber receipts, add up each pile, write the total on your sticky note, pop it on the front of the bundle and wrap them up in an elastic band. Next, hop over to your computer and add the receipts in your digital folder to your sticky note totals. Do one last check of the list of expenses above to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and then write your final list of totals for each category for the quarter onto one master list. You can then pass this onto your accountant or enter these total into the DriveTax Express BAS form
Once you’re done with your BAS, keep this somewhere accessible for your end of year tax return. Once you’ve lodged your BAS, you need to keep your receipts and records for five years, so bundle up the quarters’ receipts and file them somewhere safe. Before you do this, you may like to check for any receipts that might fade and either photocopy them, or take a photo on your phone and email it to your receipts file on your computer. The ATO accepts copies and scans, you don’t need to have the original.
It’s important to save for you GST bill as you go, otherwise you may get to BAS time and find yourself stuck with a GST bill you can’t pay.
This is one of the biggest challenges of being self-employed. As an employee, our employer takes care of this for us by withholding tax from our pay. But as a rideshare driver, you’re responsible for managing your own tax obligations and saving for the GST and income tax yourself.
The best way you can do this is by setting up a separate bank account especially for tax savings, and then each time you get paid, transfer a set percentage of your earnings into the savings account. It’s difficult to say exactly how much you should put aside because everyone’s expenses are different, which affects how much GST you’ll pay. For example, your car might have higher or lower running costs than other drivers, your phone bill may be higher or lower, you may pay to have your car washed or clean it yourself etc.
Having said this, in our experience lodging BAS’s for thousands of drivers, most driver’s GST bills end up being somewhere between 5% and 8% of their net earnings (i.e. the amount deposited into your bank account by Uber or your other rideshare companies). If you’re a person who likes to be on the safe side, you may like to save a little more than this. Or if you’re fine with just getting most of the way there and catching up the rest at the end of the quarter, then you could save a little less. It’s completely up to you.
Remember that at the same time you’re saving for your GST bill you also need to be saving for your income tax bill. Visit our blog post on Saving for Your Uber Tax Bill for more information.
Once the end of the quarter arrives, you have two choices to lodge your Uber BAS statement. You can either engage a tax agent or accountant to lodge your Uber BAS for you, or if you prefer to DIY you can lodge your BAS to the ATO yourself for free via MyGov or by paper form.
At DriveTax, our Express BAS is the quickest and simplest way to lodge your rideshare BAS online. The Express BAS form gathers your Uber income and expenses, and then we process your BAS within two business days. If we have any questions or suggested extra deductions we’ll contact you by email to chat further. Then your completed BAS is immediately lodged to the ATO, and copy delivered to your inbox. All of this is great value at $99.
What sets DriveTax apart from other rideshare tax companies is that your BAS is completed directly by a CPA accountant right here in Australia. We don’t use offshore staff or AI automation. So you can be confident that a fully qualified accountant is preparing your rideshare BAS and individually checking that your expense claims are maximised.
Here’s how it works:
- Download your Monthly Tax Summaries from Uber and your other rideshare companies.
- Gather your expenses and add up a total for each category of expenses for the quarter.
- Work out your logbook percentage or estimated percentage for your car.
- You’ll also need your ABN handy if you’re lodging with DriveTax for the first time.
- Head to the Express BAS form on our website, enter your contact details, upload your Tax Summaries and enter your expenses.
- At the end of the form, enter your payment details securely and then your Express BAS is ready to submit.
- You’ll get an email confirmation right away, and your BAS will be done within two business.
When you’re ready, here’s the link to get started:
If you prefer to lodge your Uber BAS yourself, you’ll first need to calculate the GST on your income and expenses. This can be difficult, as you need to consider business use apportionments for your car, phone and internet expenses, and also account for non-GST expenses.
The easiest way to calculate your rideshare GST is using the free DriveTax Uber & Rideshare Spreadsheet. It’s designed to exactly match the monthly tax summaries from all the major Australian rideshare companies including Uber, Ola and DiDi, and your GST on Sales is calculated for you. You’ll then enter your rideshare expenses, and the spreadsheet will do all the apportionment and GST calculations for you. It’s the quickest and easiest way to collate your expenses and get the exact totals you need to lodge your BAS either on MyGov or by paper form. The spreadsheet also includes a bonus ATO-compliant 12-week logbook which will do all the logbook calculations for you.
You can download a copy of the DriveTax Rideshare Spreadsheet instantly as part of our Free Rideshare Tax Info Pack.
Once you’ve calculated your BAS figures for the quarter, you’re ready to lodge your rideshare BAS. There are multiple methods for lodging your own rideshare BAS to the ATO, but MyGov is the most popular because it’s quick, instant, and doesn’t require a trip to the post office! It’s also easier to track your past lodgements and submit a revision to a past BAS if necessary, plus it buys you an extra two weeks of time to lodge compared to using the paper form.
Regardless of which option you choose, the lodgement process is the same. You’ll enter your Total Sales at G1, GST on Sales at 1A, and GST on Expenses at 1B, and then your Net Payment amount will be GST on Sales minus GST on Expenses.
Here’s an Uber BAS example on MyGov:
And here’s another example of an Uber BAS lodged by paper form:
Note that if your paper form gives you options for calculating GST, always choose Option 1. Also, if your form asks you for G11, this is the total of your expenses before deducting GST and before apportioning for private use. G11 is only relevant if you purchased a car during the quarter. The DriveTax free spreadsheet will help you calculate these.
If you’d like learn step-by-step how to lodge your own BAS, our Understanding Uber Taxes online course teaches you everything you need to know. It includes 30+ video lessons on Uber and rideshare tax, a detailed video tutorial on how to use the DriveTax Spreadsheet, and also a complete video tutorial on how to lodge your rideshare BAS, plus lots more.
If you did not earn any income for a quarter, you MUST still lodge your BAS. This applies for any quarter where you were registered for GST, even if you were only registered for one day.
Lodging a Nil BAS is quick and easy. Just log into your MyGov ATO account, navigate to the Business Activity Statement for that quarter and click lodge, tick the box to lodge as a Nil BAS, and submit.
Finally, let’s take a look at the ATO’s requirements for paying your GST bill on your BAS
As I mentioned earlier, the due date for paying your rideshare GST bill is the same as the due date to lodge your BAS. So if you lodge your BAS right after the end of the quarter, you may still have a few weeks to pay your GST bill. Alternatively, if you lodge your BAS right on the due date, you will need to pay immediately.
If you lodge your BAS late, don’t panic. Although the ATO has the right to apply a late fine, in practice they usually don’t do this straight away. If it’s your first offence you will have some time up your sleeve, it usually takes two or more overdue BAS’s before fines and penalties start appearing. On the other hand, if you have a history of lodging late it is possible that penalties will be applied shortly after the due date.
(Please note there are no guarantees when it comes to ATO late fines and penalties. My comments here are only based on my past observations, your circumstances could be different or the ATO could change their policy at any time.)
Keep in mind that it’s always better to lodge your BAS on time, even if you know you won’t be able to pay by the due date. The ATO applies fines for late lodgement, not for late payment, and payment arrangements are easy to set up. By lodging your BAS anyway you are showing the ATO that you are doing your best to honour your tax and GST obligations.
If you’re not in a position to pay your Uber GST bill by the due date, that’s okay. The ATO are generally willing to set up a payment arrangement, so you can pay your rideshare GST in instalments over time. They’ll generally ask for a 10-20% deposit up front, and then the balance can be paid in instalments over up to two years.
The easiest way to set up a payment arrangement is via your MyGov. Alternatively you can do it using the ATO’s payment arrangement phone service which is fully automated so you don’t need to speak to a person.
If you do set up a payment arrangement for your GST bill, it’s important to note that the ATO requires you to pay and lodge all future BAS’s on time and in full, otherwise your payment arrangement will default. So although it can be tough to juggle, it’s important to keep saving for your future GST bills at the same time as you’re paying off the previous one.
So in summary, here are your key steps to lodge your Uber BAS to the ATO:
- Get an ABN and register for GST Go >
- Track your expenses with the DriveTax Rideshare Spreadsheet Go >
- Put aside 5-8% of your Uber earnings each week to save for your GST bill
- At the end of the quarter, download your Monthly Tax Summaries from your rideshare companies
- If you want to lodge through a tax agent, head to the DriveTax Express BAS form Go >
- If you want to lodge your own rideshare BAS, check out the Understanding Uber Taxes online course for a full video tutorial Go >
Questions? Thoughts? Pop them in the comments below and I’ll get right back to you!
Safe driving! – Jess
The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. If you’d like to know how this article applies to you, please contact us to arrange a consultation, or talk to your accountant.
About the Author – Jess Murray CPA – Uber Accountant
Jess Murray is a CPA Accountant and registered tax agent. She’s been working in personal and small business tax for 13 years, and has been specialising in tax for Australian Uber Drivers for the last 5 years as the Director of DriveTax. She also teaches an online course called Understanding Uber Taxes.
Jess is on a mission to make taxes straightforward and manageable for Uber drivers across Australia.