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Courier services

When a business providing courier and delivery services must lodge a TPAR to report payments made to contractors.

Last updated 22 April 2024

When your business provides courier and other services

You must lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) if:

  • your business provides courier services to other people or businesses
  • you paid contractors or subcontractors to provide these courier services on behalf of your business
  • you have an Australian business number (ABN).

Payments made to employees are not reported in your TPAR.

Each year, you must:

  • review if you need to lodge a TPAR
  • report these payments to us on your TPAR by 28 August.

If courier services are only part of what your business provides, you may need to fill out a TPAR.

You should:

  • work out how much of your business income came from courier services
  • add up the money your business was paid for providing courier services for the financial year, a financial year is the 12 months from 1 July to 30 June
  • include payments for services provided by both employees and contractors or subcontractors
  • work out the total amount of your business income for the year.

If an arrangement with your customer involves providing both goods and courier services, determine if the courier services are either:

  • composite supply of delivering the goods: delivery is essential to the supply of the goods, the delivery involved is not a 'courier service'
  • mixed supply of courier services and goods: the delivery part of the service is a large cost or could be made as a separate supply, (for example, the delivery part is a 'courier service).'

If the total payments, you receive for courier or delivery services are:

  • 10% or more of your gross business income: you must lodge a TPAR
  • less than 10% of your gross business income: you do not lodge a TPAR.

From 1 July 2019, if your business provides courier and road freight services, you must combine the payments you receive for both services. Do this when you work out if you need to lodge a TPAR.

You can also choose to lodge a TPAR even if you are:

  • under the 10% threshold
  • unsure if you will be under the threshold.

See the steps on how to Work out if you need to lodge a TPAR

Example: business providing food delivery services to restaurants

Immediate Food is a company with an ABN that picks up and delivers food from restaurants to customers.

Customers contact a restaurant directly to place their order. The restaurant uses delivery drivers subcontracted by Immediate Food to deliver the food.

Immediate Food charges the restaurants for the delivery service they provide.

Immediate Food is supplying a courier service because it is delivering the food to customers on behalf of the restaurants.

At the end of the financial year, the total payment Immediate Food receives for courier services is 15% of their current business income. Therefore, Immediate Food must report the total payments made to each subcontractor for courier services in a TPAR.

The restaurants that partner with Immediate Food are offering their takeaway customers a choice. Customers can either pick up their order from the restaurant or have it delivered to them (by Immediate Food).

Therefore, the restaurants are also supplying courier services when they deliver customer orders through Immediate Food.

At the end of the financial year, if the total payment the restaurants receive for courier services is 10% or more of their current business income, they must lodge a TPAR. Their TPAR will report payments they made to Immediate Food.

End of example

Example: takeaway restaurant charges for some deliveries

Wai’s Pizza is a business with an ABN that operates a dine in and takeaway pizza restaurant. Wai’s Pizza also offers a delivery service for customers’ orders.

For orders under $50, Wai's Pizza charges $10 for deliveries. For orders over $50, delivery is free.

Wai's Pizza uses contractors to deliver pizza to customers.

When calculating total payments for courier services, Wai’s Pizza does not include delivered orders over $50. This is because Wai's Pizza did not receive any delivery fees from these orders.

Wai's Pizza traded for the full financial year. Therefore, they can use their current business income to work out if they need to lodge a TPAR.

For example:

  • current business income = $100,000
  • total payments for courier services = $5,000 (delivery fees for orders less than $50).

To work out if they need to lodge a TPAR, Wai's Pizza calculates:

$5,000 (payments for courier services) ÷ $100,000 (current business income) × 100 (to get the percentage) = 5%

The $5,000 received in delivery fees is 5% of their total business income for the financial year. Therefore, Wai's Pizza does not lodge a TPAR.

End of example

Examples of courier services

Courier services are when items or goods are collected from or delivered to any place in Australia using the following methods:

  • bicycle or other non-powered means of transport
  • drones
  • on foot
  • vehicles, including:  
    • car
    • motorcycle
    • motorised scooter
    • station wagon
    • truck
    • ute
    • van.

Courier services are usually door-to-door services. These services are used for specialty deliveries or for small parcels or packages.

Goods transported using courier services mostly include parcels, packages, letters and food.

If you sell goods and give the option of a delivery service, you are supplying a courier service.

Courier services don't include:

  • delivering goods your business provides, (for example, if delivery is the only way your customers can receive the goods)
  • passenger transport services, (for example, buses and taxis)
  • freight transport from one location to another, this includes transporting large quantities of items, goods or commodities by:  
    • air
    • rail
    • road, this is usually by heavy vehicle trucks or larger vehicles
    • sea.

Example: online florist hires a contractor to deliver flowers to customers

Daisy Bouquet is an online florist without a physical shopfront. Daisy Bouquet has an ABN.

Customers buy flowers from Daisy Bouquet's website. The flowers are delivered by courier. There is no option for the customer to collect the flowers themselves.

The courier drivers are contractors hired by Daisy Bouquet.

Daisy Bouquet charges customers a purchase and delivery fee. This is because customers can only receive the flowers they purchase by delivery.

Therefore, Daisy Bouquet is not supplying a courier service when it sells flowers to customers. This is even though it charges customers a fee for delivery.

Daisy Bouquet doesn't lodge a TPAR.

End of example

For a simple version of this content, see TPAR for courier and road freight services – Easier to read information