Registering for GST
Find out if your business needs to register for GST. If so, learn how to do it and find out what happens next.
Who needs to register for GST?
Australian based businesses with an annual turnover of $75,000 or more
Taxi drivers and ride-sharing drivers no matter what their turnover is
Not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of $150,000 or more
Businesses that want to claim fuel tax credits
International retailers with total Australian sales of $75,000 or more a year
You can get into legal difficulty if you don’t register for (and collect) GST when you should.
If your annual turnover is under the threshold, you can voluntarily register for GST. There are benefits of registering your business for GST, but there will also be extra things for you to think about so it’s good to weigh up your options first.
Benefits of registering
Once you’re GST registered, you don’t end up paying GST on business expenses. You’ll still get charged the GST-inclusive price when you make the purchase, but you can claim that money back when you file your return with the ATO.
What do I need to register?
You’ll need an Australian Business Number (ABN). However, if you’re registering as a company, then you’ll need an Australian Company Number (ACN) before applying for your ABN.
Choosing an accounting basis
During the registration process, you may be asked how you will account for GST. This decision determines when you owe GST on sales (and when you can claim GST refunds on expenses). There are three options, but they may not all be available to you.
Some small businesses are able to use cash accounting. Those businesses only owe GST on a sale once the customer has paid them.
Accrual basis accounting
Some businesses must use accrual basis accounting. That means they owe GST on a sale as soon as they raise the invoice or when they get paid, whichever comes first.
Simpler accounting method
Food retailers can use the simplified accounting method (SAM). Check out this ATO page to see if it’s for you.
Many businesses use cash accounting for GST, but accrual accounting for income tax. That may sound complex but good accounting software makes it easy to move between the two.
How to register for GST
It’s simple to register for GST yourself and it costs nothing.
- You can get your ACN, ABN and register for GST with the Business Registration Service.
You can also register for GST through the ATO business portal.
The business portal is the main way for businesses to communicate with the ATO. It’s also where you will submit your business activity statements (BAS). You can also submit your BAS via online accounting software.
Other ways to register
use form NAT 2954 (order it here)
call the ATO
Once you’re registered for GST
After GST registration you need to:
add GST to your prices
issue tax invoices to your customers
keep receipts and invoices to claim back GST on business expenses
submit business activity statements (BAS) to the ATO
pay any GST due
Chapter 3: Calculating GST and issuing tax invoices
Working out the amount of GST to add to your goods or services is easier than you think. We’ll show you how to calculate GST and how to add GST to tax invoices.Read next chapter
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