What Owners Should Know Before Registering For GST

In this guide, we will outline all the important facts around registering for GST as an Australian business. Goods and services tax is a mandatory part of the Australian economy and below we will go into detail about it, and how it may affect your business.

Please note: This guide is not a substitution for professional advice given by an accountant or tax professional. You should always seek advice before making any changes that could impact your financial health.

GST is a goods and service tax added to a large range of products and services within Australia. Businesses must register For GST if their total business revenue exceeds the threshold of $75,000, ($150,000 for charities). Businesses operating a limousine, taxi, or ride-sharing must register regardless of revenue.

Starting a business? Check out our step by step: How to set up a business.

Table Of Contents

What Is GST?

GST or (goods and services tax) is a tax that was brought into effect across Australia in the year 2000. This was brought in as part of a new tax system named the “good and services tax act of 1999.”

The purpose of GST was to simplify the existing sales tax frameworks from each state government and to create a standard federal tax that could be applied to good and services across Australia.

GST is applied to the sales of a product or service within Australia and in turn paid by the consumer of the goods on top of the retail cost. The tax itself is 10% which as mentioned is added to the purchase price of the product or service.

In Australia, all product prices advertised to consumers are GST inclusive by law. If a product or service is advertised specifically to a business than including GST in the price is optional, although the price must state whether it is “inclusive” or “exclusive” of GST.

How Does GST Registration Effect My Business?

Like many of the products and services we buy, your businesses goods may not be exempt from GST. In this case, if you are registered for GST then you will be required by law to charge GST on the goods or services you provide.

Regardless whether you are a sole trader of company owner GST can still affect you.

  • Charging GST will mean your customers will end up paying 10% more for your products which may impact your overall sales.
  • Another factor to consider is if you are registered for GST, You may be able to claim back, as a credit, the GST on services and goods purchased for the business.

  • Being registered for GST will mean greater reporting and paperwork which is also an additional cost to the business.
  • Having to report and pay GST will require a greater level of cash flow management as you will need to pay the GST portion of any sales to the ATO.

GST Applied Products And Exemptions

Another thing to consider when registering for GST is whether your product is exempt from this tax or not. Most products and services sold in Australia will attract a goods and services tax.

Some Exemptions

There are, however, goods that may be exempt from paying GST. Products such as some medical items and basic food staples are GST exempt we have included a link here and below to a detailed list of these exemptions.

There are also certain situations in which a sale of a business is exempt from GST. This is when a business is sold as a going concern, which is when the business along with all materials needed to operate are sold and the business is kept running up to the settlement date.

GST Registration Eligibility

To Register for GST. your business must first determine if it is eligible, and then if it is mandated. To be eligible you must hold an ABN (Australian Business Number) and be operating a business within Australia.

Mandatory Registration

If you operate a business with a turnover of $75,000 not inclusive of GST, then you must be registered for GST in Australia. Operating as a non-profit, the threshold is raised to $150,000 in revenue. If your business earns under the thresholds than registering for GST is optional.

Ridesharing, limo, and taxi business must register for GST irrespective of their annual revenue. Registering for GST will also allow you to claim and relevant fuel tax credits.

How Do I Register For GST?

How to register for gst
The Business Portal service, provided by the Australian government.

1.Check You Have An ABN

Before you can register for GST you will need to ensure you have an ABN. If you don’t have an ABN check out our helpful guide: how to apply for an ABN.

2.Work Out Your GST Turnover

The next step when registering for GST is to work out your total GST business turnover to assess whether you are above the threshold relevant to your industry and core service. If your turnover is above the threshold of $75k and $150k for charities, ($0 for taxi and rideshare) then you MUST register.

Our advice is to use an accounting software like FreshBooks which we will link here and below.

Important Note: Ensure when you are calculating your GST turnover you do not include income derived from the sale of a capital asset. If you are unsure please see advice from a tax professional.

3.Login Or Create An Account With The Online Business Portal

The online business portal is an online government account for businesses to access tax and superannuation services. This also makes dealing with the ATO in related matters a much more efficient process.

4.Register For GST Within The Portal

The next step when registering for GST is to fill out the GST registration section within the portal. Once you have completed this you will have completed the process and will be notified by the ATO.

4.Understand Your BAS Obligations

Now that you are registered for GST, you will have greater reporting obligations with the ATO. One of these is your BAS or “Business Activity Statement” which must be completed on a regular basis.

Other Important Questions

  • Who will pay GST buyer or seller? Answer: The buyer will pay the GST as part of the purchase cost.
  • Do I need to register for GST if I earn under 75K? Answer: No, Unless you work in the Taxi, Limo, or rideshare industry.
  • How much does it cost to register for GST? Answer: Registering for GST is a free service provided by the Australian government.
  • What is the turnover for GST registration? Answer: This is your business income minus GST.
  • Can I backdate my registration? Answer: Yes, you can backdate GST registration. Please contact ATO.
  • How much is GST in Australia? Answer: Gst is 10%
  • What happens if you charge GST and are not registered? Answer: You can not charge GST, or Claim GST if you are not registered.

Important References

This is a detailed list of GST exempt products provided by the Australian tax office.

An online account with the Australian taxation office, for small business tax and super services.

It’s very important you stay on top of your finances, we recommend using a solid bookkeeping platform to help with this.