GST-events and conferences supplied by non-residents
If you are a non-resident business who supplies or arranges events or conferences in Australia, you need to consider whether you have goods and services tax (GST) obligations and entitlements.
What you need to do:
- determine if you are required to register for GST
- if you register for GST or are required to be registered you also need to
- determine if the supplies you make are subject to GST
- include GST in the price you charge for supplies that are subject to GST
- issue tax invoices for your taxable sales
- determine if you are eligible to claim GST credits
- report and pay GST amounts to us, and claim GST credits by lodging a business activity statement or an annual GST return.
We’re here to support you, however we expect you to take reasonable steps to meet your GST obligations. If you still find that you need assistance, send an email to AustraliaGST and we will work with you to help you comply.
Determine whether the supplies you make are subject to GST
As an event or conference provider (who is registered or required to be registered for GST), you may make a supply of event admission or sponsorship.
Whether your supplies of event admission or sponsorship are subject to GST will depend on what is supplied to the attendees or sponsors.
The supplies of event admission and sponsorship may be made up of distinct separate supplies. These must be considered individually as to whether they are subject to GST. This includes:
- entry to the Australian event or conference
- food or drink at premises in Australia
- rental of exhibition rooms/space/stands
- rental of hotel accommodation
- social events such as Australian tours or site visits
- transport services
- advertising services.
Supply of event admission
When to include GST in the price of the supply of event admission
You must include GST in the price of event admission if the attendees are:
- Australian businesses or individuals that are not registered for GST
- overseas non-resident attendees that do not carry on any business activity.
When not to include GST in the price of the supply of event admission
The supply of event admission has no GST implications and is not connected with Australia where the event is only for the attendees' business purposes and the attendees are:
- GST registered businesses that carry on their businesses in Australia
- overseas non-residents that carry on their business outside Australia.
You must ensure you have sufficient information about the attendee's business status before treating the supply of event admission to the attendees as not connected with Australia, and as a result not subject to GST. For example, for GST registered businesses that carry on their businesses in Australia, you can ask the attendees to provide in writing their Australian business number (ABN) and whether they are registered for GST.
Supply of food at premises in Australia
For GST purposes, a supply of food (drinks and meals) is a supply of goods.
As a result, the supply of food at premises in Australia to all attendees is subject to GST and you must include GST in the price of the food supplied.
Supply of exhibition room, stand or space or accommodation
The supply of rental of an exhibition room, space or stand in Australia is a supply of real property and is connected with Australia. This applies to both Australian and non-resident businesses regardless of whether or not they are registered for GST.
You must include GST in the price of these supplies.
If you provide Australian hotel rooms to attendees or sponsors at an event or conference, this is a supply of real property and is subject to GST.
You must include GST in the price of these supplies.
Supply of a social event
The supply of a social event, like a visit or tour to an Australian site is connected with Australia. It is for the private enjoyment of the person attending the social event.
The supply of the social event is subject to GST and you must include GST in the price of these supplies.
Supply of transport services
The supply of domestic transport services such as bus transfers is connected with Australia, as the transport service is operated in Australia and is for the use of the person in Australia.
The supply of the transport service is subject to GST and you must include GST of these supplies.
Supply of advertising services
If the sponsorship package is only about advertisement of the sponsor’s business, then the supply is a supply of advertising services.
When the Australian sponsors are registered for GST in Australia and they purchase advertising services for their business purposes, the supply of the advertising services is not connected with Australia and the supply is not subject to GST.
You need to ensure you have sufficient information before treating the supply to the GST registered businesses in Australia as not connected with Australia. For example, you can ask that business to provide in writing its ABN and whether it is registered for GST.
When the overseas sponsors are non-residents who carry on a business outside Australia, and the purchase of the advertising services is for their overseas business purposes, the supply of advertising services is not connected with Australia.
The supply is not subject to GST.
Mixed supply of admission to an event in Australia
If you make a supply of an event admission to an event in Australia that consists of taxable and non-taxable supplies, you have to apportion the fees received between the taxable and non-taxable supplies on a reasonable basis.
For example, the supply of the event is a mixed supply if the event includes:
- an opening dinner and cocktails (subject to GST)
- event admission to a business (not subject to GST)
- a visit to local attractions (subject to GST).
Claiming GST credits
You can claim a credit for any GST included in the price of any goods and services you buy for your business. To claim a GST credit, all of the following conditions must be satisfied. You must:
- be registered for GST
- intend to use your purchase solely or partly for your business, and the purchase must not relate to making input-taxed supplies
- ensure the purchase price includes GST
- provide or be liable to provide payment for the item you purchased
- have a tax invoice from your supplier (for purchases more than A$82.50).
If you are a non-resident business registered for GST in Australia, under the full GST registration or GST only registration, you can't claim a GST credit for expenses that are non-deductible for income tax purposes.
Examples of non-deductible expenses for income tax purposes include purchases of a private nature and entertainment provided to either an employee or an employee’s family.
The types of things included as entertainment expenses are:
- business lunches, dinners, cocktail parties and social functions
- tickets to sporting or theatrical events, sightseeing tours and holidays
- accommodation and travel in connection with entertaining employees and non-employees (for example clients) over a weekend at a tourist resort or providing them with a holiday
- sport and similar leisure time activities or pursuits, for example a game of golf, theatre or movie tickets, a joy flight or a harbour cruise.
If you purchase goods or services for both business and private use, you can only claim a GST credit for the part of the purchase relating to your business use. If you later find your actual use differed from your intended use, you may need to adjust the amount of GST credits you have claimed.
After reviewing your supply of event admission or sponsorship, you may discover mistakes in your reported GST amounts. If this occurs, we encourage you to make a voluntary disclosure. Reduced penalties will apply if you voluntarily disclose errors before we conduct any compliance activity.
Non-resident businesses that supply or arrange events or conferences in Australia need to consider their GST obligations and entitlements.