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When you register for GST, you need to choose an accounting basis and a filing frequency. This page explains the options and who's eligible so you can decide what's best for you. You'll also find a tool at the bottom of the page to make your decision making a bit easier.

Choosing your GST accounting basis

Your accounting basis is how you report on your GST. It's what you show in your GST return about the GST you've collected and paid.

You choose your accounting basis when you register for GST.

Accounting basis

Who's eligible

What you need to do

Payments

If your total sales are:

  • $2 million or less in the last 12 months
  • likely to be $2 million or less in any 12-month period beginning on the first day of a month.

Show this in your GST return:

  • The amount you've been paid by your customers in the period covered by your GST return.
  • The amount you've paid to your suppliers in the period covered by your GST return.

Invoice

Anyone

Show this in your GST return:

  • The amount on the invoices you've sent to your customers in the period covered by your GST return, even if you haven't been paid yet. If a customer pays a deposit before you've invoiced them you still include the sale in your return.
  • The amount on the invoices you've received from your suppliers in the period covered by your return, even if you haven't paid them yet. If you've paid a deposit before you've received an invoice you must wait till you've received the invoice before you can claim the GST back.

Hybrid

Anyone. It's not used often as it's complicated.

Use the invoice basis for your sales.

Use the payments basis for your expenses.

Choosing your GST filing frequency

You need to file regular GST returns. How often you file depends on your sales.

You choose your filing frequency when you register for GST.

Filing frequency

Who is eligible

Who it's suitable for

Monthly

  • Anyone.
  • You must file monthly if your sales are over $24 million in any 12-month period.
  • For a GST group the $24 million applies to the group as a whole.

Customers likely to get regular GST refunds.

Two-monthly

  • Anyone with sales under $24 million in any 12-month period.
  • For a GST group the $24 million applies to the group as a whole.

Customers who find regular filing helps them keep on top of paperwork.

Six-monthly

  • Anyone with sales under $500,000 in any 12-month period.
  • For a GST group the $500,000 applies to the group as a whole.
  • Customers with few sales and purchases.
  • You only need to file two returns a year but it can be a big job to account for six months' worth of trading in one go.

Once you've chosen your filing frequency, make note of when your returns and payments are due.

What's best for you?

Our online tool can help you choose the most suitable accounting basis and filing frequency.
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Last updated: 29 Nov 2021
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