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  • Registrations

    Approximately 2.84 million clients were registered for GST as at 30 June 2019, an increase of 5% on last year’s GST-registered population of 2.7 million clients as at 30 June 2018.

    The growth in registrations was influenced by initiatives such as GST on low value imported goods and imported services and digital products.

    The number of independent contractors is also on the rise, as the distinction between employees and contractors is continually debated.

    To ensure small businesses register correctly, we continue to streamline business registration processes, improve access to information, and improve the quality of our online information. The ATO continues to partner with key industry operators to ensure clients are aware of their obligation to obtain an ABN and when to register for GST.

    GST registrations by client segment

    The small business population(a) accounts for 80.2% of total GST registrations, and the privately owned and wealthy groups population(b) accounts for approximately 11.5%.

    Figure 8: GST registrations by client segment

    This graph shows the percentage of clients registered for GST by client segment in 2017-18.  Small business 80.2%, privately owned and wealthy groups 11.5%, not-for-profit 2.4%, public business and multinational 1.6%, other 4.3%.

    GST registration fraud

    GST registration fraud risks include:

    • those businesses deliberately not registering to operate outside the system – this includes cash-in-hand work and failing to report accurate amounts when required
    • some parties obtaining a GST role for the sole purpose of claiming false credits/refunds.

    The ATO continues to implement numerous proactive and reactive measures to pre-empt, address, and eliminate fraudulent activity.

    NOTES:(a) Small business population is defined as sole traders, partnerships, companies, or trusts that operate as a business and have an aggregate turnover of less than $10 million. As at September 2018, there were approximately 3.8 million entities with around 55% (2.1 million) participating in the GST system.(b) Privately owned and wealthy groups population contains four sub-populations - Top 320 (308 groups); high wealth individuals (5,065 groups); medium private groups and businesses (74,037 groups); and emerging private groups (120,217 groups). Data based on 2017 income tax returns lodged as at 22 October 2018.
      Last modified: 01 Jul 2020QC 61031