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:
- each Department of State, Department of the Parliament and each agency prescribed under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997  (the FMA Act), and
- each authority and company subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997  (the CAC Act),
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.
- Creation of a New Agency
- Abolition of a Department/Agency
- Change of Name or Registration Details
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 and Deregulation
John Gorton Building
King Edward Terrace
PARKES ACT 2600
Contact for information on this page: LRB@finance.gov.au