Have you ever sat in a meeting with your accountant only to wonder if they were speaking another language? The world of accounting and tax is filled with terms, abbreviations and acronyms that outside of the industry don’t always have a lot of meaning. To help you understand what I (or your accountant) is saying I have put together a glossary of terms so at your next meeting you will be an expert to!


ABN Australian business number
ABR Australian business register
ACN Australian company number
ASIC Australian Securities and Investment Commission
ATO Australian Taxation Office
BAS agent Registered with the TPB to provide BAS related services

These are initials credentialing the accountant as a member of an accounting body


–          Chartered Accountant

–          Certified Practicing Accountant

–          National Tax Accountants Association

CGT Capital gains tax
DGR Deductible gift recipient
Div 7A A section of the tax act dealing with loans made by private companies
ELS Electronic lodgement system
ETP Eligible termination payment
FBT Fringe Benefits Tax
FIRB Foreign Investment Review Board
FITO Foreign income tax offset
GIC General interest charge (when you don’t pay your tax on time!!)
GL General ledger – list of the account names and number in your ledger
GST Goods and services tax
HECS Higher Education Contribution Scheme
IAS Instalment Activity Statement. This is similar to a BAS, but usually doesn’t contain GST.
ITAA Income Tax Assessment Act – there are two the 1936 and the 1997 act
ITR Income tax return
LCT Luxury car tax
P&L Profit and loss statement
PAYG Pay as you go – refers to making tax payments of various types as income is earnt. Most common instance is the tax withheld from salary and wages
SBR Standard business reporting
SRO State Revenue Office
STS Simplified tax system
Tax agent Registered with the TPB and is licensed to provide taxation services
TB Trial balance – list of all profit and loss and balance sheet accounts and their balance
TFN Tax file number
TIA Tax Institute of Australia
TPB Tax Practitioners Board – the body that oversees tax and BAS agents
WET Wine equalisation tax
WHT Withholding tax – usually associated with tax withheld from interest, dividends or royalties and may be represented as IWHT, DWHT or RWHT