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Registering for GST

Work out if, when and how you need to register for goods and services tax (GST).

Last updated 12 July 2023

How GST registration works

Not every business or enterprise needs to be registered for GST, but penalties may apply if you fail to register when required to do so.

Once you are required to register for GST, you need to do so within 21 days.

Before you register, you need to have an Australian business number (ABN). You can get an ABNExternal Link when you first register your business name or at a later time.

You only need to register for GST once, even if you operate more than one business.

You can also cancel your GST registration if you are no longer required to be registered.

If you are a non-resident, depending on your business activities, you may need to register for GST. For more information on how to register see Non-resident businesses and GST. There are different proof-of-identity requirements for non-residents.

When you need to register

You must register for GST:

  • when your business or enterprise has a GST turnover (gross income from all businesses minus GST) of $75,000 or more (the GST threshold) – to find out how this is calculated see Working out your GST turnover
  • when you start a new business and expect your turnover to reach the GST threshold (or more) in the first year of operation
  • if you're already in business and have reached the GST threshold
  • if your non-profit organisation has a GST turnover of $150,000 per year or more
  • when you provide taxi or limousine travel for passengers (including ride-sourcing) regardless of your GST turnover – this applies to both owner-drivers and if you lease or rent a taxi
  • if you want to claim fuel tax credits for your business or enterprise.

Registering for GST is optional if your business or enterprise doesn’t fit into one of these categories. If you choose to register, generally you must stay registered for at least 12 months.

Media: When to register for GST (Duration: 1.31 mins)

Start of example

Example: registering for GST as a trust

Beau is a tap dancer who posts his videos to a social media platform. He enters into a monetisation agreement with the social media platform as a trust.

The social media platform places advertising on Beau’s videos. Beau’s trust receives a percentage of the advertisement revenue from the social media platform when advertisements on his video clips are viewed.

As the social media platform operator is an Australian entity, the trust’s sale to the social media platform is a taxable sale.

Beau’s trust receives over $75,000 in advertising revenue, so it is required to register for GST and pay GST on the payments received.

End of example

How to register

Once you have an ABN, you can register for GST:

We'll notify you in writing of your:

  • GST registration details, including the date your registration is effective
  • ABN details if you haven't already received them.

Once registered for GST, you need to lodge a business activity statement (BAS).

If you don't register

If you're not registered for GST, check each month to see if you've reached the threshold, or are likely to exceed it. You need to register within 21 days of your GST turnover exceeding the relevant threshold.

If you don't register for GST and are required to, you may have to pay GST on sales made since the date you were required to register. This could happen even if you didn't include GST in the price of those sales.

You may also have to pay penalties and interest.

Backdating your GST registration

You can apply to backdate your GST registration. For tax periods commencing on or after 1 July 2012, backdating a GST registration is limited to 4 years. This means, unless there is fraud or evasion:

  • we can't backdate your GST registration by more than 4 years
  • you are not required to be registered before that date.

Working out your GST turnover

Your GST turnover is your total business income (not your profit), minus:

  • GST included in sales to your customers
  • sales to associates that aren't for payment and aren't taxable
  • sales not connected with an enterprise you run
  • input-taxed sales you make
  • sales not connected with Australia.

GST turnover threshold

You reach the GST turnover threshold if either:

  • your current GST turnover – your turnover for the current month and the previous 11 months – totals $75,000 or more ($150,000 or more for non-profit organisations)
  • your projected GST turnover – your total turnover for the current month and the next 11 months – is likely to be $75,000 or more ($150,000 or more for non-profit organisations).

Using a business software package to account for sales and expenses may make this easier.

When working out your projected GST turnover, don’t include:

  • amounts you receive for the sale of a business asset such as the sale of a capital asset
  • any sale you make, or are likely to make, solely as a consequence of ceasing to carry on an enterprise, or substantially and permanently reducing the size or scale of an enterprise.

Even if your current GST turnover is at or above the threshold, you don't have to register for GST if your projected GST turnover will be less than the threshold.

Start of example

Example: Barry's current GST turnover – May plus previous 11 months

Barry is a sole trader who sells specialised car parts. At the end of May 2021, his gross business income for the month is $2,560.

He must work out if this amount plus the previous 11 months gross business income reaches the GST turnover threshold of $75,000.

Barry adds his gross business income for May and the previous months together. His current GST turnover is $31,170.

Although his current GST turnover is less than $75,000, he must now calculate his projected GST turnover.

Barry continues to calculate his projected gross business income each month and, if he meets the threshold in the future, he will have 21 days to register for GST from that time.

End of example

GST groups and branches

Related entities may form a single group for GST purposes.

An entity may separately register a branch for GST purposes if this suits its management and accounting structure.

If you're a member of a GST group, your turnover includes the turnover of the other group members. It doesn't include transactions between group members.