• Selling goods through an Australian agent

    Selling goods from a treaty country through an Australian agent

    This section applies to you if:

    • you are a resident entity of a country that has a tax treaty with Australia, and
    • you export goods to Australia through an agent in Australia.

    Under these circumstances, you will have the following tax obligations:

    • Income tax - If you have dependent agents in Australia that have authority to enter into contracts on your behalf and regularly exercise that authority, they may be regarded as your permanent establishment. This means your business profits will be subject to Australian income tax.
    • Capital gains tax (CGT) - If you have a permanent establishment in Australia, the assets you own as part of that establishment will generally be subject to CGT when you sell or otherwise dispose of those assets.
    • Goods and services tax (GST) - If you make sales, purchases or importations through a resident agent, the agent may have GST obligations. GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia.
    • Superannuation and PAYG withholding - If you employ a full-time, part-time or casual worker, or a contractor wholly or principally for labour as your agent in Australia, you may have Australian superannuation obligations or PAYG withholding obligations.
    • Fringe benefits tax (FBT) - If you employ a full-time, part-time or casual worker as your agent in Australia and you provide benefits to them or their associate (typically family members) in place of, or in addition to, salary or wages, you may have fringe benefits tax (FBT) obligations.

    You will need to register for an Australian Business number (ABN).

    Selling goods from a non-treaty country through an Australian agent

    This section applies to you if:

    • you are a resident entity of a country that does not have a tax treaty with Australia, and
    • you export goods to Australia through an agent in Australia.

    Under these circumstances, you will have the following tax obligations:

    • Income tax - You may be liable to pay income tax. You need to work out the source of your income, as this will determined how you are taxed.
    • Goods and Services Tax (GST) - If you make sales, purchase or importations through a resident agent, the agent may have GST obligations. GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia.
    • Other tax obligations - If you are exporting goods to Australia by selling to an Australian resident entity on a free on board (FOB) basis, this may be considered an importation by the Australian entity. This means you may not have Australian tax obligations - rather, your Australian customer will have tax obligations relating to the importation.

    You will need to register for an Australian Business number (ABN).

    See also:

      Last modified: 28 Oct 2016QC 18431