Tax invoices are an essential element of Australia’s taxation system, and serve both to collect taxation revenue related to the goods and services on which GST is levied as well as record the credits that are claimable by eligible businesses.

A business registered for GST will generally be required to hold a tax invoice for any transaction in order for an input tax credit to be claimed. The tax invoice can usually only be issued by the entity that made the taxable supply, which generally must issue a tax invoice as a normal incident of transactions, or within 28 days of a request to do so.

Tax invoices are not required where the GST-exclusive value of the transaction does not exceed $75 (that is, a GST-inclusive price of $82.50) or if the goods or services supplied are GST-free, such as many food items. (And if you are wondering why $75, it’s merely a reflection, in miniature, of the turnover threshold of $75,000 at which a business must be registered for GST.)

To qualify as a bone fide tax invoice, it generally must include certain details, such as the seller’s identity (name, ABN), date, the form of supply, the price, the GST amount and so on.

Suppliers who fail to issue a tax invoice or adjustment note as required are liable to an administrative penalty from the ATO. If a tax invoice or adjustment note is not provided, it is generally expected that the recipient will make genuine reasonable attempts to request one. The emphasis however is on “genuine reasonable attempts”, as the ATO does not generally require anyone to go to extraordinary lengths to pursue a supplier for the tax invoice.