GST Information for Small Businesses

Australian taxation is a complex system that includes multiple registrations or roles. GST registration is one and it can be tricky if you do not understand what the terms mean, the limits, or how to calculate the necessary figures. This is why it is best to at least get a basic understanding of the process, since it is likely to become a part of your business.

What is GST?

GST or Goods and Service Tax is applied to the majority of goods offered. The rate is currently 10%. You must register for this role if your business reaches a GST turnover of $75,000 or more ($150,000 for non-profits).  It is also necessary if you operate a luxury car service and/or taxi travel services regardless of your GST turnover. Failing to register could mean paying out of pocket if you did not charge GST on the goods or service, as well as possibly paying penalties and interest for said failure.

What is the GST Turnover and How to Calculate it?

Your GST turnover consists of everything that counts towards your business’ gross income minus the necessary deductions; this is important to understand because it has nothing to do with your profit. You are required to monitor you turnover and register as soon as you reach the threshold. You can reach the threshold if:

1) Income for the current month plus the previous 11 months have reach $75,000/$150,000.

2) The current month’s income and the projection for the next 11 months total $75,000/$150,000.


The deductions to be made when calculating the figure include:

– Your sales that are not connected with the county (Australia)

– Sales that are independent of the business you operate

– Sales made for non-taxable supplies or that are not done for payments (supplies sold to associates for example)

– GST calculated in customer sales

– Your input taxes sales


Additionally, business asset sales should not be included. In fact, sales made because you are ceasing or downsizing operations should be excluded from present, past or future calculations. There are also rules for those who are a part or a GST group.


A Basic Understanding of GST Registration

An ABN (Australian Business Number) is necessary for registering for a GST so you will have to get one in order to obtain your GST. Luckily, you can register for both using the same form. Once obtained, your ABN will also be your GST. The actual registration can be done via a tax agent, at, or by calling the ATO (Australian Tax Office) at 13 28 66 to get the necessary forms. Once complete, the tax office will make contact to provide you with the necessary registration details such as the effective date of registration and your ABN.

There are some things to determine when registering; for example, will you be accounting for your GST on a cash basis or will you opt for a non-cash basis? This will influence the forms you fill out as well as how you move forward with your registration, so take some time to read carefully. You can also get a lot of information from the OTA or through a trained tax professional. A bookkeeper can then help you to file on time and keep your records updated once registration is complete.


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