COVID-19: Deferring of GST for importers

April 24, 2020

Quarterly GST reporters that import goods into Australia may use the deferred GST scheme to assist with business cash flow during the COVID-19 period by changing to a monthly reporting option in April. This allows for the deferment of GST payable on imports until the first activity statement is lodged after the goods are imported.

The ATO has advised these businesses of the following steps to access the deferred GST scheme:

-Change its GST reporting from quarterly to monthly through the tax or BAS agent, the Business Portal, the myGov account or by phoning the ATO. It is recommended that the change be done in April 2020 as if the change is done after April 2020, the GST deferral will only start on 1 July 2020.
-Wait 24 hours for the change to be processed.
-The authorised person applies for the deferred GST scheme on the ATO system.

Importers that are already monthly GST reporters can apply for the deferred GST scheme immediately. Businesses must be otherwise eligible for the scheme, for example be up-to-date with lodgement of tax returns and payments.

Upon a successful application, the ATO will notify the applicant within 24 hours.