Deferring and refunding GST on imported goods

Importing goods and services with extra-added GST costs but not sure how you can apply for refunds or deference? The ATO has outlined a series of steps for all Australian businesses to follow when deferring or refunding any GST payments from imported goods to help better manage your cashflow.

Instead of paying GST every time you purchase an imported good, the ATO is now introducing a deferred payment scheme, where you can defer GST payments until the first activity statement lodged after your goods are imported.

An online application for the deferred GST scheme must be submitted for eligible businesses. To be able to apply for the deferred GST scheme, businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • Have an ABN
  • Be registered for GST
  • Lodge your activity statements monthly and online
  • Make your activity statements electronically
  • Comply with customs regulations on imported goods and services

According to the ATO, you can also apply for GST refunds when you return a low-value imported digital good or service. If your purchase possesses a custom value of $1000 or less, there are almost always GST costs attached to the product. While the GST added cost for one product may not be much, these tax payments do add up and it is important to consider applying for a refund when you choose to return these imported items.

When returning an imported good, your overseas supplier should always refund the paid amounts including GST but on the off-chance that they don’t, the ATO is always open to helping out with refund requests for imported GST costs. The ATO encourages contacting them directly for any GST-related problems concerning your business.

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and its resulting negative economic impacts on small Australian businesses, it is also worth noting that the ATO has also introduced some tax relief options including GST refunds, whereby businesses can acquire their GST refunds faster by reporting GST monthly rather than the usual quarterly reports.

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