Show download pdf controls
  • GST on imported services and digital products for Australian businesses

    Australian goods and services tax (GST) generally applies to sales of imported services and digital products to Australian consumers.

    Examples of imported services and digital products include online supplies of software, digital trade journal/magazine subscriptions, website design or publishing services and legal, accounting or similar consultancy services.

    GST does not apply to your business purchases of imported services and digital products if you are a business registered for GST in Australia.

    For the supplier not to charge you GST, you will need to:

    • give them your Australian business number (ABN), and
    • state that you are registered for GST.

    Example – Australian business registered for GST

    Kev's Karate is an Australian business registered for GST. The business makes an online purchase of an electronic version of a computer protection program from an overseas supplier 'Computer B Safe'. Computer B Safe is registered for Australian GST. The computer protection program is for Kev's Karate's business computer, which is used to manage payments and bookings.

    The price listed for this product on Computer B Safe's website is $200 plus additional taxes that may apply (for example, GST). Kev's Karate is making a business purchase, provides their ABN and tells the supplier they are registered for GST. Therefore, Computer B Safe does not charge Kev's Karate Australian GST on the purchase.

    End of example

    On this page:

    Incorrectly charged GST

    If you are incorrectly charged GST on a business purchase of imported services and digital products, you must ask the supplier for a refund.

    If you are unable to get a refund, you may be entitled to a GST credit on your next business activity statement if:

    • you intend to use the purchase in running your business and the purchase does not relate to making input-taxed supplies
    • the purchase price included GST
    • you have paid, or are liable to pay, for the item you purchased
    • you have a valid tax invoice from the supplier (showing the supplier's ABN for purchases more than A$82.50)
    • the supplier has not reimbursed you for the GST charged on the sale (if you later receive a reimbursement, you will need to make an adjustment to repay any GST credits you have claimed), and
    • you have no information to suggest the GST has not been paid to the ATO by the supplier.

    Overseas supplier without an ABN

    Overseas businesses registered in our new Simplified GST system for non-residents are not given an ABN. Instead, we give them an ATO Reference number (ARN).

    If they have an ARN, they can't issue a tax invoice to you. This means if you are incorrectly charged GST on a business purchase of imported services and digital products made by a supplier with an ARN you will not be entitled to a GST credit and need to ask the supplier for a refund of the GST.

    Although these businesses can't issue tax invoices, they can issue standard business invoices or receipts that may include their ARN.

    See also:

    Purchases for private use

    If you are purchasing imported services or digital products for private use (to any extent), do not provide your ABN or tell the supplier you are registered for GST.

    If you are purchasing imported services or digital products to use for both business and private use you may need to pay GST on the portion that is not for business use.

    See also:

    Penalties apply if you provide false information to a supplier.

    See also:

    More information

    You can ask us a question by emailing AustraliaGST@ato.gov.au

      Last modified: 15 Sep 2017QC 53294