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Ecommerce Sales Tax: A Guide for Small Businesses, Part 1

Ecommerce has revolutionised the way people shop and do business online. Today, consumers can buy products and services from anywhere in the world, and small businesses have the opportunity to reach customers beyond their local area.

However, with the growth of e-commerce comes the challenge of navigating sales tax regulations. In this two-part series, we will explore what small businesses need to know about sales tax for e-commerce and where to find an accountant for ecommerce business.

What Is Sales Tax?

State and local governments impose a sales tax on selling goods and services. The buyer must pay the tax at the time of the transaction, which is often set as a percentage of the sale price. The seller is responsible for collecting and remitting the tax to the government.

Sales tax is a significant source of revenue for state and local governments, and the rules and regulations surrounding sales tax can be complex. Each state has its own sales tax laws, and some localities may impose additional taxes.

Understanding Ecommerce Sales Tax

In Australia, ecommerce sales tax is primarily determined by the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a 10% tax applied to most goods and services sold or consumed in Australia. The GST applies to almost all online transactions, including sales of goods, services, and digital products.

However, some goods and services are exempt from GST, such as basic food items, healthcare, and education.

Businesses with a turnover of $75,000 annually must register for GST and charge GST on their taxable sales.

However, some businesses may voluntarily register for GST, even if their turnover is below the threshold. To register for GST, businesses must apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and register for GST using the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) online portal.

Ecommerce Sales Tax for Small Businesses

Small businesses may face challenges when managing ecommerce sales tax obligations. One of the most common difficulties is determining whether a sale is taxable or GST-free. Small businesses must also ensure they comply with GST reporting and payment requirements, which can be complex and time-consuming.

To manage ecommerce sales tax obligations, small businesses should ensure they have an accurate record-keeping system in place. This system should track all sales, including taxable and GST-free sales, and provide records for GST reporting purposes.

Small businesses should also consider using software or tools to automate GST calculations and reporting and seek professional advice from a small business accountant if they need clarification on compliance requirements.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Ecommerce Sales Tax

Australia's e-commerce sales tax has significantly changed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The pandemic’s economic repercussions have caused a revenue fall for many small enterprises, making it challenging for them to meet their GST requirements.

However, the Australian government has implemented various relief measures to support small businesses, including tax relief and cash flow assistance.

Small businesses affected by the pandemic should review the government's COVID-19 relief measures and seek professional advice to determine their eligibility and how to access support. Small businesses may also consider applying for payment plans or extensions to help them meet their GST obligations.


Understanding ecommerce sales tax is crucial for small businesses operating in Australia. Small businesses must comply with GST regulations, accurately track all sales, and maintain accurate records to avoid penalties and ensure compliance.

Small businesses should review the government's relief measures and seek professional advice to determine how to manage their ecommerce sales tax obligations effectively. By following these guidelines, small businesses can successfully manage their ecommerce sales tax obligations and operate their online businesses with confidence.

Business consultants are available through The ECommerce Accountant to assist various organisations and people make the most of their finances. Contact us right away if you're searching for an accountant for ecommerce business.

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