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  • Exports and GST

    GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia (the indirect tax zone) and also on most imports of goods.

    Exports of goods and services from Australia are generally GST-free. If you're registered for GST, this means:

    • you don't include GST in the price of your exports
    • you can still claim credits for the GST included in the price of purchases you use to make your exported goods and services.

    Follow the links below to find out more about:

    Exports of goods

    Exported goods are GST-free if they are exported from Australia within 60 days of the first of the following two events:

    • the supplier receives any payment for the goods
    • the supplier issues an invoice for the goods.

    If the goods are paid for by instalments, the payment or invoice referred to is for the final instalment.

    The supplier can contact us to request an extension of the 60-day period.

    Special rules apply for new boats sold for private recreational use if the boat is exported from Australia within a specified 12-month period. Refer to GST-free sales of new recreational boats - suppliers.

    Other exports

    Other exports generally include sales of things other than goods or real property for consumption outside Australia, such as services, various rights, financial supplies and other professional services.

    There are specific rules that determine whether such a sale is GST-free.

    Broadly, a supply of a service is GST-free if the recipient of the service is outside Australia and the use of the service is outside Australia.

    See also:

    • GSTR 2000/31 Goods and services tax: supplies connected with Australia
    • GSTR 2002/6 Goods and Services Tax: Exports of goods.

    Example: Service used outside Australia

    Tom, an Australian freelance writer, is engaged by an English company to write a chapter of a book that will be published in England. He writes the chapter in Australia and sends it to the publisher. His service has been exported for use outside Australia so he does not include GST in his invoice to the publisher.

    End of example

     

    Example: Service used in Australia

    A school in Australia provides tuition to overseas students in Australia. However, it bills the overseas parents of the students directly. As the supply is being made to students in Australia the supply is not GST-free.

    End of example

    Tourist refund scheme

    Foreign or Australian tourists travelling from Australia are considered to be exporting if they take goods out of Australia as accompanied luggage, which means the goods are:

    • carried or worn by the traveller
    • checked into the hold of the aircraft or ship that the traveller is using.

    Conditions for such supplies are included in either the GST-free sealed bag system or the tourist refund scheme.

    See also:

    If a traveller brings goods back into Australia for which they have made a claim for a GST refund under the Tourist Refund Scheme and the value of those goods (combined with any other overseas purchases) exceeds AUD $900, they must be declared to Australian Customs and Border Protection Services and the GST refund will have to be repaid. GST is payable on the entire value of the items, not just the amount that is over the AUD $900 limit. Penalties may apply to undeclared taxable goods.

    Residents of Australia's external territories can claim refunds of GST and wine equalisation tax (WET) where applicable under the tourist refund scheme for unaccompanied goods exported from Australia back to their home territory.

    Registering for GST

    You must register for GST in Australia if you are carrying on an enterprise, and your GST turnover from sales that are connected with Australia (the indirect tax zone) and made in the course of your enterprise is A$75,000 or more (A$150,000 or more if you are a non-profit body).

    You can choose to register if the turnover of your enterprise is below the registration turnover threshold.

    In working out your GST turnover, you include export sales because these are 'connected with Australia', even though they are GST-free.

    Example: Sales connected with Australia

    Alex runs an internet business selling mobile phone parts through his website. About half his sales are to Australian customers and half to overseas customers. He is not registered for GST.

    Recently Alex took on a new line of accessories and his sales have increased. His total sales for the past 12 months are now $50,000 for his Australian customers and another $50,000 for his overseas customers.

    Alex's sales to Australian customers are included in his GST turnover.

    His sales to overseas customers are also included in his GST turnover because they are 'connected with Australia'. It doesn't matter that these sales, as exports, are GST-free.

    Alex's GST turnover is his total sales of $100,000, so he must register for GST.

    Once registered, Alex must include GST in his sales to Australian customers, but his sales to overseas customers are GST-free. He can claim GST credits for any of his business purchases that include GST.

    End of example

    See also:

    Last modified: 02 Aug 2018QC 45589