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Exports and GST

Work out if exported goods, services and other exports from Australia are GST-free.

Last updated 27 July 2023

How GST applies to exports

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 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 GST-free exports
  • can still claim credits for the GST included in the price of purchases you use to make your exported goods and services.

See the definitions for GST terms.

Export of goods

Exported goods are GST-free if they are exported from Australia by the supplier within 60 days of one of the following, whichever occurs first:

  • 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.

Suppliers can contact us via Online services for business to request an extension of the 60-day period.

The 60-day period does not apply for new boats sold for private recreational use if the boat is exported from Australia within 12 months.

Australia includes all land territory except external territories (such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands). Under the export rules outlined above, sales of goods to residents of Australia's external territories may also be treated as GST-free export sales by the supplier.

For more information on the external territories, see Law Companion Ruling LCR 2016/1 GST and carrying on an enterprise in the indirect tax zone (Australia).

Exports of services and other exports

Other exports can include the sale of things other than goods or real property for consumption outside Australia, such as:

  • services
  • various rights
  • financial supplies
  • other professional services.

A supply of a service is GST-free if the:

  • recipient of the service is outside Australia, and
  • use of the service is outside of Australia.

There are specific rules that determine if the sale of things other than goods or real property for consumption outside Australia, are GST-free or excluded from being treated GST-free.

Start of example

Example: payments from overseas social media platforms

Liz is located in Australia and registered for GST.

She posts content to a social media platform. Under Liz’s agreement with the platform, subscribers from around the world can purchase and view her content.

The platform facilitates transactions between Liz and her subscribers. Through the platform, she receives payments for subscriptions and purchases of her content, messages and tips.

The platform provides Liz with the location of each subscriber and the value of her sales. She works out her GST-free sales by determining which sales are made to offshore subscribers. She works out which sales are taxable by determining if they are made to subscribers in Australia.

Liz collects GST on her taxable sales and pays it to the ATO. She also claims GST credits for the GST included in the price of any goods and services she buys for her business.

If she can't obtain the location of each subscriber, all her sales will be taxable.

End of example

When services are used outside Australia

The supply of service is GST-free if the supply is used or enjoyed outside Australia or the supply is made to a non-resident who is not in Australia when the supply is made.

Start of example

Example: service used outside Australia

Tom, a GST registered 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 non-resident publisher based in England. His service has been exported to the non-resident publisher who is not in Australia when the supply is made, so he does not include GST in his invoice to the publisher.

End of example

When services are used in Australia

The supply of service is not GST-free if the service is provided in Australia even if the recipient is not in Australia.

Start of example

Example: service used in Australia

A GST registered school in Australia provides tuition to overseas students currently studying in Australia. However, it bills the overseas parents of the students directly.

The supply may be under an agreement entered into between the Australian school and the overseas parents. However, as it is provided to the students in Australia, the supply is not GST-free.

End of example

For rulings on GST and the exports of services and other exports, see Goods and Services Tax Ruling GSTR 2002/6 Exports of goods, items 1 to 4A of the table in subsection 38-185(1) of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999.

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 method or tourist refund scheme.

Goods must be declared to Australian Customs and Border Protection Services and the GST refund will have to be repaid if:

  • a traveller brings goods back into Australia for which they have made a claim for a GST refund under the tourist refund scheme
  • the value of those goods (combined with any other overseas purchases) exceeds A$900.

GST is payable on the entire value of the items, not just the amount that is over the A$900 limit. Penalties may apply to undeclared taxable goods.

Residents of Australia's external territories can claim refunds of GST and wine equalisation tax 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 both of the following apply:

  • you are carrying on a business or enterprise
  • your GST turnover from sales that are connected with Australia from your enterprise is equal to, or greater than the registration turnover threshold of A$75,000 (or A$150,000 if you are a non-profit organisation).

If you're a non-resident business you will need to register for GST to ensure you meet your GST obligations.

When you calculate your GST turnover, you need to include export sales connected with Australia, even though they are GST-free.

Start of example

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 more about GST Rulings including:

  • Goods and Services Tax Ruling GSTR 2018/1 Supplies of real property connected with the indirect tax zone (Australia)
  • Goods and Services Tax Ruling GSTR 2018/2 Supplies of goods connected with the indirect tax zone (Australia)
  • Goods and Services Tax Ruling GSTR 2019/1 Supply of anything other than goods or real property connected with the indirect tax zone (Australia).