Do I need an ABN to do translation work in Australia?
Thread poster: Annett Roessner

Annett Roessner  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (Mar 2017)
English to German
Mar 3

Hi all,

I'm an English->German translator with permanent residency in Australia looking at expanding my client base and actively looking for more translation work. Do I need to have an ABN to invoice end clients? Do I need to include GST on my invoice? I'm not keen to register for GST if I can avoid it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks in advance.


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Anna Herbst  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (2008)
English to Swedish
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
ABN required Mar 3

You need to register for an ABN, but a GST registration does not become necessary until your business exceeds $75 000 per year, which in the case of a freelance business is very unlikely.
Registration can be done on-line by going to the ATO (Australian Tax Office) pages.

Best wishes,
Anna


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Annett Roessner  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (Mar 2017)
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Anna Mar 3

Thank you very much, Anna.

How do I invoice a client in Europe? I assume, I don't need to include VAT, either?

Kind regards,

Anneyy


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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
No VAT Mar 3

Because you are outside EU.

Re GST, as Anna has mentioned only if your business exceeds AUD 75000 per year. There are quite a lot of colleagues who are registered for GST. I guess it depends on many factors: currency rate, language pair, full-time vs part-time etc.


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Annett Roessner  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (Mar 2017)
English to German


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All clear now... Mar 3

...thank you so much.

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Corinne Le Gallic  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (2013)
English to French
No GST on exports Mar 3

An ABN is necessary, but it is a 10mn process online... Your invoices must mention this ABN. You pay tax annually on your income as a sole trader (derived from this individual business), at your individual tax rate (you just add this income to your normal income tax return).

Also, Australian GST does not apply to exports. So you would have to bill more than 75K per year to Australian clients to have to register for GST.

And yes, VAT does not apply if you are based in Australia.

That's bureaucracy in Australia... Very easy to deal with!

[Edited at 2017-03-03 17:09 GMT]


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Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
English to Dutch
+ ...
GST Mar 4

Anna Herbst wrote:

You need to register for an ABN, but a GST registration does not become necessary until your business exceeds $75 000 per year, which in the case of a freelance business is very unlikely.


As Vanda mentioned, that is not necessarily true for all language combinations/specialisations. I myself am nowhere near the GST threshold (yet), having only started my business 6 months ago, but I know several translators who are, both in my language combination (EN - NL) and others.


Also, Australian GST does not apply to exports. So you would have to bill more than 75K per year to Australian clients to have to register for GST.


Corinne, I'm not sure about only having to register for GST when you earn >75k from Australian clients - my accountant told me all income counts towards the GST threshold, whether generated from Aus clients or internationally, but he also told me GST shouldn't be charged to non-Aus clients. Do you know where to find more info on that, as I find it confusing myself?


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Corinne Le Gallic  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (2013)
English to French
GST registration Mar 4

Natasha,
It looks like your accountant is right... Thanks for pointing this out... I checked and found an ATO page on it:
https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/International-tax-for-business/Australians-doing-business-overseas/Exports-and-GST/

In particular, in the section on registering for GST:
"In working out your GST turnover, you include export sales because these are 'connected with Australia', even though they are GST-free."

Therefore, It seems all income, from overseas or Australia (even overseas income on which GST is not charged) counts towards the threshold... This does not make much sense to me!

I do not have any Australian client... All my clients are overseas... So I never charge GST...

Can somebody else confirm that if your total turnover from translation is above 75K, even if only a small part of it is from Australian clients, you must charge GST to these Australian clients and register for GST?

[Edited at 2017-03-04 14:54 GMT]


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
GST turnover Mar 4

The turnover counted to assess whether a business must register for GST is its total sales, and it is not the net turnover after deducting all allowable expenses. So all your sales, domestic or international, counts towards the $75K GST threshold.

In practice, and it is recommended, you register for GST. A number of clients have told me that it's easier for them to process payment with GST as it fits in their normal payment workflow. Once you have registered for GST, you do need to file a BAS with ATO every quarter. It's a 5-minute job if your accounting software is setup properly.

So on the BAS form, you have export sales (G2, no GST collected) and total sales subject to GST (G6). Depending on you sales/purchases, you either pay ATO GST or receive a GST refund.

You must charge, collect and remit GST where applicable once you have registered for GST.



[Edited at 2017-03-04 09:44 GMT]


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Annett Roessner  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:41
Member (Mar 2017)
English to German


Posted via
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again, everybody. Mar 6

I got some really great advice here. I'm now the proud owner of an ABN.

Regards,

Annett


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