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  • Using an agent

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Agents facilitate sales in return for an agreed amount paid through a commission or similar arrangement.

    If you make taxable sales or importations through an agent, you're responsible for the GST.

    You can claim a GST credit for the amount of GST you pay as a commission to the agency. The agent must pay GST on the commission that you pay them, regardless of how the purchaser pays for the goods or services.

    Either you or the agent can issue a tax invoice to the purchaser, but you can't both issue tax invoices for the same sale.

    Example 1: Using an agent

    Bill is a GST-registered dive boat operator who engages Jenny (who is also GST-registered)as an agent to sell trips to the Great Barrier Reef on his behalf.

    Bill makes taxable sales to the customer via Jenny who facilitates the sale. Jenny supplies agency services to Bill.

    Bill charges $220 (including GST) for each trip. Jenny charges Bill a GST-inclusive commission of 20% ($44) for every trip she sells on his behalf.

    For every trip sold, Bill pays GST of $20 to us ($220/11 = $20) and claims a GST credit of $4 ($44/11 = $4) for the GST component of the commission he pays to Jenny.

    Jenny must pay GST of $4 for every commission payment she receives from Bill.

    Bill and Jenny can receive payments from the customer in several ways.

    Customer pays deposit ($44) to agent. Customer pays the balance owing ($176) to principal.

    Customer pays full amount ($220) to agent. Agent pays principal full amount less commission ($220 - $44 = $176).

    Customer pays the full amount ($220) to principal. Principal pays commission ($44) to agent.

    For each of the three payment methods, Bill and Jenny must report the following amounts on their activity statement:

    Bill

    Total sales (G1)

    $220

    Non-capital purchases (G11)

    $44

    GST payable amount (1A)

    $20

    GST paid amount (1B)

    $4

    Jenny

    Total sales (G1)

    $44

    Non-capital purchases (G11)

    $0

    GST payable amount (1A)

    $4

    GST paid amount (1B)

    $0

     

    End of example

    See also:

    • GSTR 2000/37 Goods and services tax: agency relationships and the application of the law.

    Intermediary taxable supply arrangement

    You may enter into a written agreement with an intermediary so that they become a part of the chain of supply for GST purposes. In that case, you are treated as making the sale to the agent and they are treated as making the sale to the customer.

    Under this arrangement, you're required to account for the amount of GST payable on the sale. This is 1/11th of the value of the sale. The value of the sale is the price to the customer minus the commission payable to the agent.

    You can use these simplified GST accounting arrangements with intermediaries who facilitate transactions, such as paying agents, billing agents and commission agents.

    Example 2: Intermediary taxable supply arrangement

    Bill and Jenny decide to enter an intermediary taxable supply arrangement. The price of the reef trip is $220 and Jenny's commission is $44 as in Example 1.

    For each trip, Bill sells a service worth $176 to Jenny ($220 - $44) ie the price to the customer less the commission paid to Jenny. Bill pays GST of $16 (1/11 x $176) on this amount. Jenny sells a service worth $220 to the customer which includes GST of $20 (1/11 x $220). Jenny is entitled to a GST credit of $16 on her purchase from Bill.

    Bill and Jenny must report the following amounts on their activity statements.

    Bill

    Total sales (G1)

    $176

    Non-capital purchases (G11)

    $0

    GST payable amount (1A)

    $16

    GST paid amount (1B)

    $0

    Jenny

    Total sales (G1)

    $220

    Non-capital purchases (G11)

    $176

    GST payable amount (1A)

    $20

    GST paid amount (1B)

    $16

     

    End of example

    See also:

      Last modified: 12 Apr 2017QC 16518