The details to include on an Australian GST tax invoice template
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.
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.
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.
A tax invoice issued by a business in Australia needs to feature the following information:
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.
There are two ways you may be able express GST in your invoices:
|Hourly onsite services
|Equipment package #1234
|Total amount payable (includes GST)
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.
|Hourly onsite services @ $80 (plus GST) per hour
|Equipment package #1234
|Amount payable (total price includes GST)
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’.
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.
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.
1. Westpac does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any third-party templates referred to in this article.
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.