Show download pdf controls
  • Deferred GST

    The deferred goods and services tax (DGST) scheme allows you as an importer to defer payment of GST on all taxable importations into Australia. You need approval to do this, which you can get by applying to the ATO.

    For goods and services tax (GST), luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax purposes, where we use the term ‘Australia’ on this page, we're referring to the ‘indirect tax zone’. This is defined in subsection 195-1 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (GST Act).

    Find out about:

    Check if you're eligible for DGST

    To be eligible to participate in the deferred GST scheme, you must:

    • have an Australian business number (ABN)
    • be registered for GST (you can register for GST and apply for an ABN on the one form if you don't already have an ABN)
    • lodge your activity statements online
    • lodge your activity statements monthly (if you are lodging quarterly, you can elect to lodge monthly)
    • make your activity statement payments electronically
    • enter the goods or excise-equivalent goods for home consumption for customs purposes.

    Additionally, you may not be eligible if:

    • you are not up to date with your tax returns or payments – this includes members of GST groups, branches and joint ventures
    • in the past three years, you or anyone relevant to the application has been convicted or penalised by a court for specific offences.

    Find out about:

    Apply for DGST status

    If you are eligible and want to apply for deferred goods and services tax (DGST) status, you can complete your application in ATO online services.

    The application form will allow you to check whether you are eligible. If you are eligible, you can continue to apply using the same form.

    Next step:

    Changing to monthly lodgment

    When you elect to change from quarterly to monthly lodgment, the change will not take effect until the start of the next quarter. This means you won't be eligible to defer GST on your imports until the start of the next quarter.

    GST group members and representatives

    If you are a non-representative member of a GST group, you are not required to lodge an activity statement. However, you may be eligible to apply for the DGST scheme.

    Your nominated GST group representative will also need to apply for the DGST scheme and lodge monthly activity statements online.

    GST deferred by non-reporting GST group members will be accounted for on the GST group representative's activity statement.

    Court convictions or penalties

    You may not be eligible to participate in the DGST scheme if, in the past three years, you or anyone relevant to the application has been convicted or penalised by a court for offences in relation to:

    • taxation requirements
    • customs requirements
    • the inaccurate description of goods
    • trade practices
    • fair trading
    • defrauding of a government.

    People relevant to the application include public officers, directors, office bearers, partners and trustees of the applicant organisation.

    You must state in the application if you or anyone relevant to the application has been convicted or penalised by a court for any relevant offences. We may ask you to provide additional information about the nature of the offence or penalty before making a decision about your application.

    This will help work out if you are eligible to use the deferred GST scheme when importing taxable goods into Australia.

    Deferred GST obligations

    If you participate in the deferred GST scheme, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Lodge and pay your business activity statements (BAS) online through 
      • the Business Portal
      • Standard Business Reporting (SBR)
      • your registered tax and BAS agent – lodging on your behalf using Online services for agents or the Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal
      • our online services for individuals and sole traders – using your myGov account.
    • Lodge on time – if you do not lodge on time, you may be withdrawn from the deferred GST scheme.
    • Keep up to date with payments – if you default from a payment plan, you may be withdrawn from the deferred GST scheme.

    See also:

    Deferred GST calculation

    If you have deferred the GST on a taxable importation and the goods will be used in your business, you are able to claim a GST credit for the amount of GST that has been deferred.

    On each monthly BAS, you should be claiming the full amount of the deferred GST – as advised by us at label 7A – as a credit on your BAS at label 1B. The liability for deferred GST should always be offset on the BAS for the same month.

    Example: Deferred GST calculation

    Sarah is a computer wholesaler who imports computers and then sells to computer retailers. She is approved for deferral of GST on imports.

    Sarah imports some computers with a cost of $20,000. The GST deferred on this shipment is $2,000. She makes other business purchases in Australia of $16,500, which includes a total of $1,500 GST.

    Sarah makes $33,000 worth of computer sales to retailers during June. This includes $3,000 of GST collected (these computers are a combination of existing and new stock).

    Sarah will complete her June monthly BAS as follows:

    Sarah's BAS for June

    BAS label

    Dollar amount

    BAS label

    Dollar amount

    Label G1 – total sales

    $33,000

    Label G11 – non-capital purchases

    (Simpler BAS clients don't need to complete Label G11)

    $38,500

    Label 7A – deferred GST

    $2,000

    Deferred GST is pre-filled by the ATO

    Deferred GST is pre-filled by the ATO

    Label 1A – GST on sales

    $3,000

    Label 1B – GST on purchases

    $3,500

    Label 8A

    $5,000

    Label 8B

    $3,500

    Label 8A

    $5,000

    Label 9 – payment

    $1,500

    Sarah’s GST on purchases (Label 1B) is the total of the GST she pays on her Australian purchases and her claim for her deferred GST amount ($2,000 + $1,500).

    Sarah’s total purchases (G11) are the total of her Australian purchases and the importation, including GST ($16,500 + $22,000).

    End of example

    Revoking the deferred GST scheme

    To continue to benefit from deferring your GST, make sure all of your tax obligations are up to date and meet your deferred GST approval requirements. If you don't, you'll no longer be part of the deferred GST scheme. This means:

    • customs will keep your goods until you pay the GST
    • you'll have to register for the scheme again.

    More information

    For more information on DGST, you can phone us on 13 28 66 between 8.00am and 5.00pm AEST/AEDT, Monday to Friday.

    See also:

      Last modified: 25 Sep 2019QC 17118