Accountant's Foundation: Contemporaneous Records

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In the ever-evolving world of tax compliance, keeping meticulous records isn't just good practice—it's becoming necessary, especially with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) now requiring contemporaneous records. 

What Are Contemporaneous Records? 

Contemporaneous records are documents created at the moment a decision is made. Consider it a snapshot of your thought process and actions captured in real-time. These records serve as a roadmap, demonstrating not only the objectives behind a particular arrangement but also how it was intended to achieve them. Whether it's notes from a meeting, an advice report, or sending an email confirming key discussions with a report attachment, the goal remains - to provide a clear and comprehensive account of the decision-making process. 

 These documents are evidence that can be presented to the ATO down the line, should the need arise. 

 Why Are Contemporaneous Records Important? 

 In recent times, the ATO has been placing increasing emphasis on contemporaneous records, making it a necessity rather than a choice. For example, rulings such as PCG 2022/2, focusing on section 100A, and PCG 2021/4, dealing with the allocation of Professional Firm Profits, underscore the significance of maintaining detailed documentation. 

 In an era where tax compliance is increasingly scrutinized, contemporaneous records protect against potential audits or disputes. They offer a layer of protection, giving you peace of mind knowing that you have a solid paper trail to back up your decisions. 


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