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chapter two of six

Registering for GST

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Registering for GST

Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics, find out if your business needs to register for GST and, if so, how to do it and 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.

Accounting basis types
  • Cash accounting
    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.

Registering online

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
You can:

Once you’re registered for GST

Once you’re registered for GST 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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Everything you need to know about GST and BAS in Australia.

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