Show download pdf controls
  • Exporting goods or services overseas – what you need to know

    If you or your business exports goods and services overseas, you need to know how Australian tax applies to you.

    Read on to understand more about the income tax and GST implications for exporters.

    Find out about:

    Income tax and source of income

    If you export goods or services and you are an Australian resident entity, your export income is generally subject to income tax. This is because your assessable income includes your world-wide income. Further, if you derive income from another country and pay tax in that country, you may be entitled to a foreign income tax offset against your Australian income tax.

    Foreign income your company earns may be exempt from Australian tax if it derives income by carrying on business at or through a permanent establishment in the other country.

    The source of income is generally the place where the:

    • contract is entered into, in the case of goods
    • services are performed, in the case of services.

    If you are exporting goods by selling them to a foreign resident entity on a free on board (FOB) basis in Australia, the place of contract is likely to be in Australia.

    If you export to a country that has a tax treaty with Australia, the treaty may have special rules to help you determine the source of the income.

    See also:

    How GST applies

    GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia and also on most imports of goods. Generally, once you are registered for GST you will include GST in the price of supplies to your customers and claim credits for the GST included in the price of your business purchases.

    Exports of goods and services from Australia are generally GST-free.

    Foreign or Australian tourist travelling from Australia are exporting if they take goods out of Australia as accompanied luggage.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Exports of goods

    Goods you export are GST-free if they are exported from Australia either before, or 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.

    In the case of goods paid for by instalments, the payment referred to is the final instalment and the invoice referred to is the invoice for the final instalment.

    You can apply to us to extend the 60-day period.

    Other exports

    Other exports generally include 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 when such a supply is GST-free or excluded from being treated as GST-free.

    See also:

      Last modified: 08 Nov 2016QC 18454