• GST for foreign tour operators

    This information explains the Australian GST obligations of:

    Foreign tour operators who do not need to register for GST

    You do not have to register for GST in Australia if you are a foreign tour operator and you only sell Australian travel packages or components to other suppliers or travellers. If you are not registered, you:

    • do not have to pay GST on your sales
    • cannot claim GST credits
    • do not have to submit a GST activity statement to us.

    Even if you do not have to register for GST in Australia, you can still choose to register if you want.

    Example: Foreign tour operator not required to be registered for GST

    Black Pearl Travel is a foreign tour operator based in China. Black Pearl Travel purchases Australian travel packages from Emu-Roo Travel, a resident tour wholesaler in Sydney. The purchase price of each package includes GST.

    Black Pearl Travel does not sell anything else. It does not have to register for GST in Australia and it chooses not to.

    Because it is not registered for GST, Black Pearl Travel does not have to pay GST on its sales of Australian travel packages. Also, it cannot claim GST credits for the GST in the price of Australian travel packages purchased from Emu-Roo Travel.

    If Black Pearl Travel chose to register for GST (even though it does not have to), it would have to pay GST on its sales of Australian travel packages, even though it sells them from China. Black Pearl Travel must report the GST in its Australian activity statement and pay the GST to us. It can also claim GST credits for the GST included in the price of the Australian travel packages purchased from Emu-Roo Travel.

    End of example

    Foreign tour operators who may need to register for GST

    You may need to register for GST in Australia if you are a foreign tour operator that sells Australian travel packages or components to foreign tourists, and you also do other business selling goods, property, digital products or other services that are connected with Australia.

    See Australian GST registration for non-residents to work out if you need to register for GST.

    If you need to register for GST in Australia, you:

    • must pay GST on all of your taxable sales (including sales of Australian travel packages or taxable components and any other types of taxable sales that you make)
    • can claim GST credits for the GST in the price of your business purchases related to those sales
    • must report the GST on your activity statement and pay the GST owed to us.

    You cannot claim GST credits for any purchases connected to Australian travel packages and components, or other types of taxable sales you make in Australia, if those purchases are from a business that is not registered for GST in Australia.

    Example: Foreign tour operator required to register for GST as a result of other activities

    Marco operates a business in Italy called International Transactions Pty Ltd. As part of this business, Marco's company operates two divisions called:

    • Marco's Machinery (which imports and sells machinery in Australia)
    • Marco's Travel Services (which sells Australian travel packages).

    Because Marco's Machinery makes supplies that are connected with Australia, International Transactions Pty Ltd must register for GST in Australia and must pay GST on all of its taxable sales, including sales of Australian travel packages through Marco's Travel Services.

    Marco's Travel Services pays a company in Italy for web design services. International Transactions Pty Ltd cannot claim GST credits for this purchase because the web design company in Italy is not registered for GST in Australia.

    End of example

    Taxable components of Australian travel packages

    If you are registered or required to be registered, GST applies to the Australian based components of your travel package, such as:

    • most hotel accommodation
    • car hire
    • domestic transfers
    • tickets for entry to entertainment venues
    • restaurant meals.

    Generally, international passenger transport is not taxable.

    See also:

      Last modified: 29 Jun 2017QC 18133