GST for food retailers – Simplified accounting methods

Five simplified accounting methods (SAMs) have been designed for food retailers that buy and sell a mixture of products, where some are taxable and some are GST-free.

You can choose one of these SAMs to help work out your GST for each tax period. If you decide to use a SAM, you must tell us the method you are going to use.

You can't use these methods to set your prices. You must set your prices in line with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) guidelines.

Choosing a SAM

If you sell food, there are five SAMs you can use to estimate your GST-free sales and/or purchases:

  • Business norms – applies business norms percentages to your sales and purchases. This is the simplest method but can only be used by specified business types including bakeries, health food shops and convenience stores.

  • Stock purchases – uses information relating to your purchases to estimate your GST-free sales.

  • Snapshot – take a snapshot of your trading to estimate your GST-free sales and GST-free purchases.

  • Sales percentage – work out what percentage of GST-free sales you make in a tax period and apply this to estimate your GST-free purchases. Available to supermarkets, groceries and convenience stores.

  • Purchases snapshot – take a snapshot of your purchases and use this sample to calculate your GST credits. Available to restaurants, cafés and caterers only.

To use a SAM you must meet the basic eligibility conditions:

  • you make both taxable and GST-free sales of food (or, for the purchases snapshot method, you buy both taxable and GST-free food)

  • your relevant turnover is not more than $2 million.

Which SAM you can choose also depends on:

  • whether you’re a converter or reseller – if you’re both, you’re treated as a converter

  • whether you have adequate point-of-sale equipment for distinguishing GST-free and taxable sales

  • whether you sell both taxable and GST-free food on the same premises.

If you decide to use a SAM, you must tell us which method you are going to use.

Source: ATO

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