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The details to include on an Australian GST tax invoice template

4-minute read

Whether you’re a sole trader, small company owner or multinational, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) requires you to feature specific information on your invoices, including tax invoices. The first thing to consider is the need to register for and charge GST.

Key take-outs
  • The need to register for GST is subject to your turnover
  • Your GST tax invoices must feature specific information
  • GST tax invoice templates are available online
  • You can consider the convenience of online invoicing

Do I have to register for goods and service tax (GST)?

If your business has a GST turnover of $75,000 or more, you must register for GST. What’s a GST turnover? Your GST turnover is your total business income – not your profit – minus any GST included in sales to your customers. 

 

Exceptions to the above are non-profit organisations and businesses providing taxi travel services (including ride-sourcing), who have a GST turnover threshold of $150,000.

 

Your GST turnover is not related to the financial year. You reach the GST threshold as soon as your turnover for the current and previous 11 months reaches $75,000, or it is projected to do so. The finer details – along with ways to register for GST – are available on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

 

In general terms, you charge 10% GST on the goods and/or services you sell in Australia, unless they are GST-free (such as food, medicine and medical services). At the same time you can claim a credit for any GST included in the price of goods and services you buy for your business – which is one reason why some business owners choose to register for GST even though they are beneath the turnover threshold.

Do I have to issue tax invoices?

If you or your business is registered for GST, you must provide tax invoices. Any GST-registered customer of yours wanting to claim a credit can only do so if you provide them with a formal tax invoice. 

 

It’s easy to think of invoicing as just time-consuming paperwork. But it’s worth remembering that well-structured invoices help you monitor, manage and protect the cash flow of your business – and they are an important element of record keeping and helping you meet your tax obligations.

What needs to be on an Australian tax invoice?

A tax invoice issued by a business in Australia needs to feature the following information:

 

  • The words ‘Tax invoice’ (or similar)
  • Your identity as a ‘seller’ (contact details are optional but advisable)
  • The quantity and description of the goods or services provided
  • Your Australian business number (ABN)
  • The date the invoice was issued
  • The GST amount(s) (featured as described below)
  • For invoices over $1,000, the extent to which each sale on the invoice is a taxable sale, and therefore includes GST.

 

Naturally, you’ll also want to include the ways you can be paid (the more choice the better) and when you expect to be paid by. A phone number gives the recipient the opportunity to contact you immediately if they have a question – and using the most appropriate customer name on each invoice will help you get paid faster. 

Where should the GST amount appear on my invoices?

There are two ways you may be able express GST in your invoices:

1. Feature the GST alongside each line item:

 

QTY Description Unit price GST Total
3 Hourly onsite services 80.00 8.0 $264.00
1 Equipment package #1234 400.00 40.0 $440.00
Total amount payable (includes GST) $704.00

This allows you to feature a mix of GST and GST-free items – and is the only acceptable format for total amounts payable of more than $1,000.

2. Add the GST as a total at the end (only allowed for invoices of less than $1,000):

 

QTY Description Total
3 Hourly onsite services @ $80 (plus GST) per hour $264.00
1 Equipment package #1234 $440.00
Amount payable (total price includes GST) $704.00

You can only use this second method if the GST is exactly one-eleventh of the total price – which must be less than $1,000. Your invoice will need to include words such as ‘Total price includes GST’.

Where can I get a free GST tax invoice template for a business in Australia?

A simple online search will reveal many sources of GST tax invoice templates1. Some may be available in common formats such as Word and Excel, and others may be incorporated in small business accounting software.

 

Doing your invoicing online avoids the need to print and post invoices – and can have other time-saving benefits such as help with reconciliation and chasing unpaid amounts. If you hold a Westpac Business One Low or High Plan account and are registered for online banking, you’ll have access to this convenience through Westpac’s complimentary Biz Invoice online invoicing tool.

 

The invoice template provided with Biz Invoice can be customised with your logo, features all the required fields, and has the option to include your ABN and GST amounts.

 

Biz Invoice is also available with most Westpac foreign currency accounts, though the invoice template associated with these accounts will not be a tax invoice for the specific country you’re trading with.

 

We hope this article has helped you with your invoicing obligations and needs. One last thing to consider is that in common with all paperwork associated with your work, your invoices say a lot about you as a business. Therefore, when choosing a tax invoice template, it’s well worth using one that’s smart and professional and gives a good impression.


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Things you should know

1. Westpac does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any third-party templates referred to in this article.

 

Westpac’s products are subject to terms, conditions and fees; and eligibility criteria may apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs for Westpac business bank accounts, foreign currency accounts and online banking and consider if the product is right for you.

 

The information in this article is general in nature; does not take your objectives, financial situation or needs into account; and does not constitute tax advice. Consider its appropriateness to these factors; and we recommend you seek independent professional legal and/or financial advice about your specific circumstances before making any decisions.