• Applying for GST, PAYG and business name for your client

    As part of the Australian business number (ABN) application you can apply for other business registrations on behalf of your client. Applying for other registrations for your client at the same time as their ABN will save you time as some information will be pre-filled.

    Depending on the status of your client’s ABN application and their entity type you will be presented with different registration options.

    If your client’s application was refused you will not be able to continue to apply for other business registrations.

    If you decide to apply for other business registrations for your client at a later stage, or if they already have an ABN, you will need to register with the relevant government agency.

    Goods and services tax

    Goods and services tax (GST) is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia.

    Your client must be registered for GST if:

    • they run a business or other 'enterprise' and their GST turnover is $75,000 or more (for non-profit organisations the threshold is $150,000 or more)
    • they are a taxi driver, regardless of their turnover.

    If they run a business or other enterprise and their GST turnover is less that $75,000, registering for GST is optional.

    Your client may also be eligible to register for Fuel Tax CreditsExternal Link (FTC).

    Although not mandatory, you will be asked for your client’s business banking details when applying for GST at the same time as an ABN.

    Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for more information on GSTExternal Link.

    Pay as you go withholding

    Pay as you go (PAYG) withholding is a system for withholding amounts from payments your client makes to employees and businesses so they can meet their end-of-year tax liabilities.

    Your client will have withholding obligations if they:

    • have employees
    • have other workers, such as contractors, and they enter into voluntary agreements to withhold amounts from payments they make to them, or
    • make payments to businesses that do not quote their ABN.

    Visit the ATO’s website for more information on PAYG withholdingExternal Link.

    Business name

    To register for a Business name, your client will need an ABN. If they do not apply for their Business name at the time they register for an ABN, they need to complete their registration directly through the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

    Your client will need a business name if they carry on a business, or trade within Australia, and they are not trading under their own entity or legal name.

    The following entities do not need to register a business name:

    • an individual where the business name is the individual’s first and last name.
    • a registered companyExternal Link where the business name is the company’s name, or
    • a partnership where the business name consists of all of the partners’ names.

    You will only be able to register a business name during the ABN application if your client is an individual / sole trader or an entity with an Australia Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN).

    Note: Business names are not to be confused with the term 'Trading name'.

    If your clients are still using a Trading name, please register a corresponding Business name, as Trading names will not be displayed in ABN LookupExternal Link starting November 2018.

    Visit the ABN Lookup website for more information on Business names and Trading namesExternal Link.

    • Last modified: 24 Feb 2017QC 328