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Do we charge foreign clients GST?
Thread poster: DJHartmann

DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Jun 8

Hi Australian-based friends!

I've just returned to Aus and am working through things with my accountant re tax.

He seems to be convinced that as service-providers, we have to charge our foreign clients GST.

I can understand charging Australian clients GST but what are regulations regarding foreign clients?

I'm currently 100% foreign client-base right now but am about to go through the NAATI process.

Your suggestions and recommendations welcomed!

Best regards,

DJH


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Daria Bontch-Osmolovskaia
Australia
Local time: 16:48
English
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I don't think so... Jun 8

Hi DJH,

Are you registered for GST and paying it to the ATO? If so, I would check with the ATO directly about their ruling on this.

From one perspective, yes you are exporting your services overseas to foreign clients; however I have a strong suspicion that GST only applies to services, supplied within Australia only. Call ATO, they are the best people to advise you.

Not many translators earn over 75K per year, so this is probably not the best place to ask!

Good luck,
D.


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Nicola Thayil
Australia
Local time: 17:48
Member (2012)
French to English
No GST on foreign clients Jun 8

My accountant told me that overseas clients are exclusive of GST

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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
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English to Russian
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Nicola is right Jun 8

My husband, who has an Australian degree in Finance and Accounting, last year had a very long conversation with ATO. First of all, no GST for overseas clients, and secondly, a GST-registered requirement applies if you make AUD 75,000 on Australian clients, so if you make AUD 70,000 on overseas clients and only 5-10,000 on Australian clients, then you do not need register for GST.

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Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:48
English to Dutch
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Is your accountant Jun 9

the best person to deal with our line of work, I wonder? As Nicola and Vanda pointed out, normally no GST is charged on export services. Some more info can be found on this link (scroll down to 'Other exports' and the example given , which is relevant to our situation: https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/International-tax-for-business/Australians-doing-business-overseas/Exports-and-GST/

I'm also interested to see you've decided to start up the NAATI process after all, as you weren't that enthusiastic in one of the previous threads. If you don't mind my asking, what made you change your mind?


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
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Thank you! Jun 9


First of all, no GST for overseas clients, and secondly, a GST-registered requirement applies if you make AUD 75,000 on Australian clients, so if you make AUD 70,000 on overseas clients and only 5-10,000 on Australian clients, then you do not need register for GST.


Thank you all for the helpful suggestions!
This is the advice I was so keen to hear. Yes I do make over $AU75,000 but none of that is from Australian clients.


I'm also interested to see you've decided to start up the NAATI process after all, as you weren't that enthusiastic in one of the previous threads. If you don't mind my asking, what made you change your mind?


Regarding the NAATI process, what's changed is that my wife and I have decided to stay here in Aus and I noticed there aren't that many registered TH>EN professional translators. In my research I happened upon the ProZ profile of one of those colleagues and his rates are incredible.... $US 0.56/word and $101/hour!! If NAATI allows me to charge half of this, yes please, sign me up!


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
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Country NSW! Jun 9

Natasha Ziada wrote:

Is your accountant the best person to deal with our line of work, I wonder?


My options are seriously limited! We've returned to the family property here in Nimbin, NSW for the time-being. The closest regional centre is Lismore and I've been paired with the "hotshot" tax accountant from the biggest firm in the city. Still, they have zero experience with anyone in our line of work.

Better to turn to the ProZ community for advice!


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
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You do know... Jun 9

NAATI doesn't set price for anyone. You don't need NAATI if most of your clients are outside Australia.

DJHartmann wrote:
In my research I happened upon the ProZ profile of one of those colleagues and his rates are incredible.... $US 0.56/word and $101/hour!! If NAATI allows me to charge half of this, yes please, sign me up!



Nimbin is a funky place, at least used to be.

DJHartmann wrote:
We've returned to the family property here in Nimbin, NSW for the time-being.



[Edited at 2017-06-09 11:30 GMT]


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
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Yes, you're right Jun 9


QUOI wrote:
NAATI doesn't set price for anyone. You don't need NAATI if most of your clients are outside Australia.


You're right, I've not needed NAATI in the years I've been working but seeing the lack of TH>EN pro translators in my region, it might be in my best interest to register and score some local certified jobs. NAATI doesn't set the price sure, but if the number of registered translators is limited, and the job has to be done by a certified translator, the price must reflect that.


Nimbin


Still funky but as a local you become accustomed to it. The area, old volcano and forests are really nice to go cycling through.


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Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:48
English to Dutch
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Incredible rates! Jun 10

Yep, those rates would be enough to convince anyone to put up with NAATI's bureaucracy and archaic ways... I'm up for my accreditation test in August, which will hopefully be the only time in my life I will be doing a handwritten translation!

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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:48
Member (2008)
English to Russian
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Brisbane - FIT Congress? Jun 11

DJHartmann wrote:

My options are seriously limited! We've returned to the family property here in Nimbin, NSW for the time-being. The closest regional centre is Lismore and I've been paired with the "hotshot" tax accountant from the biggest firm in the city. Still, they have zero experience with anyone in our line of work.

Better to turn to the ProZ community for advice!


You might consider coming to the FIT Congress in Brisbane then. NAATI representatives, agencies and a lot of colleagues. Networking is a key. Your language pair is in demand in Australia, so it is all about visibility.

@Natasha, good luck with the test!


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Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:48
English to Dutch
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Thanks Vanda :) Jun 11

Vanda Nissen wrote:

@Natasha, good luck with the test!


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
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Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
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FIT for a freelancer? Jun 13

Vanda Nissen wrote:

You might consider coming to the FIT Congress in Brisbane then. NAATI representatives, agencies and a lot of colleagues. Networking is a key. Your language pair is in demand in Australia, so it is all about visibility.


A huge event like FIT Congress seems like it's a step above my head as a solo freelancer. I still would be waiting for NAATI test scores and AUSIT registration, so doesn't seem that I'll be at that stage just yet. It'd be a bit overwhelming!

[Edited at 2017-06-13 23:10 GMT]


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
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GST Registration Jun 13

I have since registered for GST after my accountant got back to me with this:



Hi Dylan

We agree with the following points in your email below;

· There is no GST on your current export sales/services.
· You are not currently required to register for GST, as your turnover from Australian sourced income is less than $75,000.

However, you may still wish to consider registering for GST. If you were to register for GST from say 1 July 2017, you would be entitled to claim input tax credits for the GST included in the price of purchases you use in your business to produce your export sales/services.



With this above point, we can get tax credits for office goods!

[Edited at 2017-06-13 23:08 GMT]


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