New Zealand Law Society - Suppliers to Australia may need to register for GST

Suppliers to Australia may need to register for GST

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The Australian Tax Office says recent changes to the law means foreign suppliers of services (including legal services) or digital goods to Australian consumers may need to register in Australia for the goods and services tax (GST).

From 1 July 2017 GST will apply in Australia to cross-border supplies of digital products and other services imported by Australian consumers.

This includes digital products such as streaming or downloading of movies, music, apps, games and e-books as well as services such as legal, accounting or architectural services.

The Tax Office (ATO) says the registration turnover threshold is A$75,000 and anyone who meets this and makes the supplies will be required to register for GST.

GST will apply to the sale if the customer is an Australian consumer. If the sale is to a business in Australia, GST is not charged on the sale. The ATO says sellers will need to have systems in place that capture this information.

"If you sell through an electronic distribution platform, like an app store, the platform operator will be responsible for collecting and paying the GST to the ATO," it says.

"Be aware that GST registration does not necessarily mean that you have an income tax presence in Australia and selling digital products or services to Australian consumers does not mean that you have a permanent establishment or business presence in Australia."

The ATO says there have also been other changes to Australia's GST law that mean that from 1 October 2016, certain transactions between overseas and Australian businesses are no longer subject to GST. Further information about this is available on the ATO website.

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