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Application of GST to Cross-Border Transactions

On 11 May 2010, the then Assistant Treasurer announced the release of the Board of Taxation’s report  on its review of the application of GST to cross‑border transactions. The Board made 14 recommendations which seek to simplify the design of the GST cross-border rules and improve the balance between ensuring Australia’s GST system does not draw in non‑residents unnecessarily and ensuring the existing GST tax base is maintained. In releasing the report the then Assistant Treasurer advised that the Government had accepted the Board’s recommendations but that in relation to recommendation five the Government will be looking at approaches that do not impose an excessive compliance burden or revenue risk on Australian suppliers. The Board’s report on its review of the application of GST to cross‑border transactions is available for download. Printed versions of the report are available by email request sent to or by phoning the Board of Taxation Secretariat on 02 6263 4366.


On 12 May 2009, the then Assistant Treasurer announced  that he had asked the Board of Taxation to undertake a review of the application of GST to cross‑border transactions, in particular the extent of non‑resident participation. During the Board’s previous review of the legal framework for the administration of the GST, a large number of issues were raised in public consultations and submissions concerning non‑residents and cross‑border transactions. As part of that review, the Board recommended that the Government may wish to consider a review of the application of the GST to cross-border transactions with a view to simplifying and reducing the number of non‑residents in the system. The Board was asked to consult widely with relevant stakeholders and report to the Government on improvements to the design of the GST system necessary to ensure that cross‑border transactions are treated in an efficient and effective manner. A particular focus was those design features underpinning the involvement of non‑residents in the Australian GST system with a view to simplifying the design. The review was to include, but not be limited to, the consideration of:

The Board was to have regard to the design features of the GST as a multi‑stage value added tax and should also ensure that any possible changes do not undermine the integrity of the GST in aiming to tax final consumption in Australia. In considering any changes, the Board was to ensure that its recommendations have regard to the likely impact on revenue. After considering the views of all stakeholders the Board was to provide a final report to the Government by the end of February 2010. On 29 July 2009, the Chairman of the Board of Taxation announced the release of its discussion paper on the review of the application of GST to cross-border transactions. In developing the discussion paper the Board consulted with members of its expert panel. The discussion paper:

The Board requested written submissions on the review of the application of GST to cross‑border transactions by 4 September 2009. All submissions received were acknowledged. The Board also held targeted consultation meetings with selected stakeholders who have made submissions. The purpose of these meetings was to clarify aspects of these submissions and to explore possible responses to issues raised in these submissions. The Board completed its review of the application of GST to cross-border transactions and provided its report to the Assistant Treasurer in February 2010. In preparing its report the Board took into account the various submissions to the review and discussions with stakeholders. Further information on this review can be obtained from the Board of Taxation Secretariat on (02) 6263 4366.

Submissions received

Australian Booksellers Association353KB
Australian Financial Markets Association2MB
Australian Music Association74KB
Australian Sporting Goods Association28KB
Australian Toy Association38KB
Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers / PricewaterhouseCoopers3MB
Corporate Tax Association159KB
Customs Agency Services2MB
Customs Brokers & Forwarders Council of Australia1MB
Hawker Pacific140KB
Institute of Charted Accountants of Australia284KB
Taxation Institute of Australia93KB
VATit / PricewaterhouseCoopers2MB

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