Registration of Government Entities for Taxation Purposes

As a general rule, the registration policy for Australian Government entities, as agreed between Portfolio Ministers in 1999, requires:

to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and to be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Two exceptions to the general rule are that:

  • a unit within an entity subject to the FMA Act whose operations are materially independent of other operations of the entity concerned, can register as a separate entity; and
  • a number of related Australian Government entities that keep accounts on the same basis for the same tax periods can group together to help facilitate GST administration.

    Note: in either of these exceptions, the relevant Portfolio Minister must approve the registration before an application can be lodged with the Australian Taxation Office.

The GST legislation also allows for a parent entity, such as a Department of State, to establish GST branches. Where this occurs, each branch accounts for GST separately. Prerequisites are that each GST branch:

  • maintains an independent accounting system (the branch is a separate unit within the parent entity's accounting system or is established as a separate cost centre); and
  • is separately identifiable either by its location or by the nature of its enterprise.

    Note: decisions on branching are the prerogative of the management of the parent entity.

Specific Registration Issues

Please visit these pages for information about the following specific registration issues.

Further Information

For further information about the registration of Australian Government entities for taxation purposes, contact the Legislative Review Branch (LRB) within Finance.


Phone: (02) 6215 3657

Legislative Review Branch
Financial Management Group
Department of Finance
John Gorton Building
King Edward Terrace

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