Do I Need an ABN to Register for GST?

Aug 10, 2020
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Samuel Guzman

In order to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST), you will need an Australian Business Number (ABN). This article will briefly explain what the GST and an ABN is, as well as their respective registration and application processes. For more information, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website here. Otherwise, if you need further assistance, consult an accountant or business lawyer today.

Registering for GST

Businesses registered for GST have to pay an extra 10% to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for any goods or services that they sell. To account for this, businesses registered for GST generally charge the extra amount to their customers by including it in their sales price.

For some businesses, it is mandatory to register for GST. For example, if your business has a GST turnover that meets or exceeds $75,000. Other businesses may voluntarily choose to register for GST because it can be very beneficial. For instance, it can improve your business’s reputation as it shows legitimacy and a proactive approach to following the law. You can read about situations where companies would register for GST here.

Registering for GST can be done through the ATO on the Business Portal, by phone, through a registered tax or BAS agent, or by completing a written form.

Applying for an ABN

Regardless of the reason, you will need an ABN to register for GST. An ABN is an 11 digit number unique to your business. It is mainly used to identify your business. However, it is also used for other reasons, including for tax purposes, such as to avoid having to pay PAYG tax.

Generally, a prerequisite to applying for an ABN is that you must either be starting or carrying on an enterprise within Australia. For example, by conducting business activities such as buying and selling products systematically, with an intention to make a profit. Businesses which have a turnover of more than $75,000 per year are also required to have an ABN. You should also have already decided on a specific business structure for your business. For instance, a company, partnership or sole trader.

To complete an application for an ABN, you may need to provide information such as:

  • Your business’s Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Your business’s legal name and contact details (for example, physical address, email address, contact number)
  • The expected date when you will start conducting business activities
  • Your specific business’s activities (for example, construction or manufacturing)
  • Authorised contacts (for example, you as the applicant if you are authorised to make changes on behalf of your business)

Once you have completed an application, the process is generally quick. However, your application may be subject to a review from the ATO if it lacks necessary information, which can take up to 20 business days.

How we can help

Lawpath can assist you with registering an ABN by filling out our fast interactive online form here. Typically, you can expect to receive your ABN within 24 hours. Otherwise, if you have yet to start your company, Lawpath can assist you with registering both your ACN and an ABN on top of other important things. You can do so here.

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