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Australia GST country guide

Goods and Services Tax compliance and reporting rules in Australia

Below is summary of the major rules provided under Australian GST rules (New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999; A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Regulations 2019). Check our country VAT guides for other jurisdictions.

Our VAT Calculator & VAT Filer products on a single platform, VAT Calc,  are unique in they come with all of this included out-of-the box for Australia and scores of other countries around the world.

Australia country guide

Highlights Local term Goods and Services Tax (GST)
GST Rates - standard 10%
GST Rates - reduced 0%
GST number format 51 824 753 556 (Australian Business Number)
Registration threshold AUD 75,000
GST Group Yes
GST recovery foreign businesses No
Fiscal Representative Not required 
Currency Australian Dollar, AUD
Administration Introduction Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented on 1 July 2000.
GST laws A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999; A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Regulations 2019
Tax Authorities Australian Commissioner of Taxation (ACT) which is part of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia
GST Rates Standard rate 10%
Reduced rates N/a
Zero-rated GST Free': exports; healthcare; education; retail export scheme; international mail; water; many foodstuffs (excludes when part of service e.g. restaurant; high-value metals; foreign transport
Exempt Termed 'input-taxed'. Financial Supplies; loans / debt ; gambling medical; residential rentals; precious metals
Scope of GST Scope of GST Supplies of taxable goods or services within the Australian 'indirect tax zone'; self supply; commissionaire supplies; importation of goods; ecommerce imports not in excess of AUD1,000 are liability of merchant
Time of supply Goods & Services (general rule) The earlier of the date of the invoice or any payment. All GST is due even in the case of only a partial payment, including advances but excluding deposits.
Reverse Charge No special rules - use general provision of the earlier of payment or invoice
Continuous  Services Based on either invoice or cash payment basis
Imports At time of clearance from customs. Import GST postponement possible. Import sales by non-residents with value not exceeding AUD1,000 should be charged with GST at time of sale online (i.e. in the checkout)
Goods on approval and return No special rules - use general provision of the earlier of payment or invoice
Registration GST registration threshold AUD75,000 per annum non-resident online sellers or facilitating marketplaces to report GST on imported sales below AUD1,000
Voluntary GST registration Yes
GST number format 51 824 753 556 (Australian Business Number)
GST Group Yes, for businesses, partnerships and trusts with shared control. Generally means 90% share ownership. One member must register with ATO as representative. It submits a consolidated GST return. No GST is charged on intra-group transaction. All members share GST liabilities. Pure holding companies, without taxable supplies are excluded. Non-residents may join a GST group, but may not act as the representative.
Non-residents As for resident businesses, may apply for full registration with Australian Business Number. Or simplified registration process is permitted for providers of digital services to consumers. Lastly, a standard GST only claim for recovery.
Fiscal Representative Not required. Where an agent acts as payor, then GST paid through agent's return
Digital Services Since July 2017, providers or facilitating marketplaces of digital services (including hotel booking) should register for GST if they pass the AUD1,000 per annum registration threshold. There is a simplified process for digital supplies
Pre GST registration costs No allowance for pre-registration GST incurred
GST Invoices Issuance Required on all transactions to ensure customer may credit against their own GST liabilities. However, no invoice required on transactions not exceeding AUD82.50.
Content Indicate 'tax invoice'; Seller name and address; Seller Australian Business Number (ABN); date of invoice; description of supply including quantities and units etc; price indicated whether or not GST included; indication that subject to GST.
E-invoices Australia e-invoice rules
Simplified invoices Invoices not exceeding AUD1,000 need not include the customer's Australian Business Number
Self-billing Recipient Created Tax Invoices may be used in certain situations: farming goods; customer or member of its GST Group has turnover in excess of AUD20million; and B2G
Retention of invoices Five years. There is no requirement to keep the records in Australia, but they must be readily retrievable
FX rules Foreign currencies may be used, but the GST element must be shown in AUD using the Australian Central Bank's prevailing rate. Digitisation of records is permitted.
Invoice corrections Made via a credit or debit note, including an explanation of the change
Compliance Right to deduct Excluded non-creditable acquisitions: entertainment spend not allowable for corporate income tax; and purchases made for input-taxed supplies (term for exempt supplies)
Call-off stock N/a
Reverse Charge - B2B Mandatory reverse charge on services, including digital services to GST registered business. Voluntary reverse charge is possible in certain circumstances if both parties are in agreement. Domestic reverse charge applies on certain previous metals 
Cash discounts No credit note required
Bad debt relief GST may be refunded on bad debts if older than twelve months or bad for accounting rules. Adjustment through GST return
Import GST deferment Yes under GST import deferral scheme.
GST warehouse No GST warehousing. Customs bonded warehouse where import GST and duties are suspended are available
Supply & install N/a
Use and enjoyment services N/a
Capital goods adjustment period Movable and Immovable property: four years
Non-residents GST recovery Business-related GST suffered may only be reclaimed via a GST application. This means GST incurred will be lost if there is not justification for a GST registration
GST on Digital Services GST is due on imported digital services. B2B is reverse charge; B2C requires provider or marketplace to Australian GST register if above AUD75,000 threshold
Live events Normal rules of registration apply
Distance selling threshold for goods Australia low value goods GST rules
Cash accounting scheme Voluntary if turnover does not exceed AUD 20million per annum
GST registered cash tills N/a
Statute of limitations Four years
Other N/a
GST Returns Frequency Monthly Business Activity Statement for any taxpayer with revenue in excess of AUD20 million per annum. Quarterly filer may file abbreviated monthly return and payment; or just quarterly payment instalments with an annual return. Businesses with turnover below AUS10million per annum may file Business Activity Statement return
Filing method Electronic (monthly filers mandatory) or paper
Deadlines (inc payments) Monthly GST returns are due by the 21st of the month following the reporting month. Quarterly returns filed by 28th of the month following the reporting quarter. Businesses with a turnover not exceeding AUD75,000 may opt for annual GST payments
GST credits Repayable via GST return although may be subject to ATO audit
Corrections GST overpayments (credit error) can be modified via next GST return. If underpayment (debit error) may also use next GST return but is limited to % of GST due in that return. If this is exceeded, then must complete corrective return online or by paper
Non-residents Similar to residents
Other filings N/a
SAF-T N/a
Penalties & interest A penalty unit regime is used for late filings and payments. These start at AUD 210. These are doubled or quintupled for medium and large enterprises, respectively. Late interest on GST payments can reach 11%.
B2C Distance Selling returns Since July 2018, imports of goods to consumers not exceeding AUD1,000 were subject to import GST at the checkout. Where the ecommerce seller or facilitating marketplace makes total sales in excess of AUD75,000 pa, they must GST register and file regular returns

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