A GST group consists of two or more business entities that operate as a single business for GST purposes. To form a group, the entities must satisfy certain requirements and notify us of the formation of such a group. Companies, trusts or partnerships with common ownership or membership may operate as a group. Individuals or family members of individuals, associated with these entities may also be part of a GST group. However, a GST group cannot consist solely of individuals.
Are you eligible to form a GST group?
You are eligible to form a GST group with one or more other members if each member satisfies the membership requirements of that GST group – that is, each member:
- is registered for GST
- has the same tax periods as all the other members of the proposed GST group
- accounts for GST on the same basis (that is, cash or non-cash) as all the other members of the proposed GST group
- does not belong to any other GST group
- has no branches for GST purposes
- satisfies the specific requirements and regulations that apply to its particular type of entity.
How do you notify us about the formation of a GST group?
If you want to form a GST group, you must ensure all group members satisfy the membership requirements and then notify us using a GST group – notification of forming, changing or cancelling (NAT 2952) form.
You also use this form to:
- add a member to a GST group
- remove a member from a GST group
- change the representative member of a GST group
- cancel a GST group.
One member of the group must be nominated as the representative member. This member must be an Australian resident for tax purposes. Other members do not need to be Australian residents for tax purposes.
While the representative member is generally responsible for paying GST and claiming GST credits, the members of a GST group are jointly and separately responsible for any amount the representative member is liable to pay us. However, members of a GST group can enter into an indirect tax sharing agreement with the representative member of the group to limit their liability for the representative member's indirect tax liability.
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What are the representative member's GST obligations?
The representative member of a GST group must complete the activity statement and account for any net GST adjustments on behalf of all group members. The representative member must also notify us:
- when they have
- added or removed members from the GST group
- changed the GST group's representative member
- dissolved the GST group
- within 21 days if an entity who was a member no longer meets the requirements to be in the group.
How does your group work out its GST turnover?
To calculate the GST turnover of the members of your group, the representative member must work out the GST turnover of the entire group (this excludes sales made by one group member to another).
GSTR 2001/7 External LinkGoods and services tax: meaning of GST turnover, including the effect of section 188-25 on projected GST turnover.
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What are the benefits of forming a GST group?
If you enter into a GST group, transactions you conduct with other members of the same GST group are not treated as taxable sales or purchases. This means you are not liable to pay GST to us on sales you make to members of your GST group and you cannot claim GST credits for purchases you make from members of your GST group.
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GST definitions: GST credits, purchases, sales
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As a member of a GST group:
- your administrative and cash flow costs associated with intra-group transactions will decrease
- you do not have to issue tax invoices for intra-group transactions (tax invoices for transactions outside the group must still be issued by the group member making the sale).
If you form a GST group, only the representative member completes the activity statement on behalf of all the group members. The representative member does not include the intra-group transactions in their activity statement.
It is important to note that the representative member is responsible for the GST that each group member is liable to pay to us and can also claim all the GST credits to which each group member is entitled.
If a GST group member makes a taxable importation and the GST is payable at the time customs duty is paid, the group member responsible for the importation will be liable to pay the GST. Otherwise, the representative member will pay the GST on the importation. In both cases, the representative member is eligible to claim any allowable GST credits on the importation.
Is a GST group the same as a GST branch?
GST groups and GST branches are not the same. A GST branch is formed where (after satisfying certain criteria) sections of a business are registered as separate entities for GST purposes. GST is payable on transactions between GST branches.
Abstract: This fact sheet explains how to form a GST group and how it operates under GST law. NAT 3089.
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