How To Set Up GST For Australian Businesses On Shopify

By Cesar Beltran
How to Set Up GST for Australian Businesses on Shopify created by shopify website experts

As more and more Australian Business moves to Shopify Ecommerce, a common question from our clients is:

How do I set up my store to comply with GST requirements in Australia?

This includes displaying the GST during the checkout process, showing your ABN and Company name on the tax invoice, and including taxes in the receipt.

This post outlines how to set up your Australian Shopify store for GST in 5 easy steps.

Note: You’ll need to have access to your store’s Administration Panel.  You can reach it by going to YourStoresWebAddress.com/admin.

1. Make Sure All Your Products Are Set To “Charge Taxes”

This will tell Shopify to reach into your Tax Settings and include them in your product’s price. Go to Admin > Products, open each individual product, and set them up to look like this:

gst-on-shopify-charge-taxes

Have lots of products?  Use the .csv export and import via Products.

2. Set Up Your Tax Region For 10% GST In Australia

Go to Admin > Regions & Taxes and make sure that you have Australia set to 10% GST. It should look like this:

gst-on-shopify-tax-region

gst-on-shopify-tax-region-au

3. Update Your Cart Settings To Say “GST” Instead Of Plain Old “Taxes”

Go to Admin > Preferences > General > Checkout Language > Inspect, and rename “.. including %s taxes.” to “Including %s GST (Goods and Services Tax).

gst-on-shopify-language

This will show on your checkout page:

Before:

gst-on-shopify-taxes-cart

After:

gst-on-shopify-taxes-gst-cart

Feeling overwhelmed? If you need GST on your Shopify store but want someone to take care of it for you, we can help with our quickfire GST-ify service pack – click here for more details.  Otherwise, read on…

 

4. Add Your Company Information Into The Order Confirmation

Go to Admin > Preferences > Email & Notifications

Here, we’re going to add three things:

  • The word “Invoice” to make it look more official
  • Your Company Name
  • Your Company’s ABN (Australian Business Number)

Open the Order Confirmation Template, and add the word “Invoice”, your Company Name and your ABN into the template, like this:

gst-on-shopify-order-conf

gst-on-shopify-order-conf-invoice

 

Now, when your customers receive an email, it will automatically contain all the information we just added, so it looks like this:

gst-on-shopify-email-conf

5. Add “All prices Include GST” Somewhere Unobtrusive But Prominent On Your Checkout Page:

Add this via Admin > Template Editor > Cart.liquid (where exactly? It depends on your theme).

gst-on-shopify-all-prices-include-gst

Boring but important disclaimer: We’re not lawyers so can’t guarantee that this contains everything your accountant or customers will need. We are an Australian business and compiled this tutorial and the GST-ify service package to better equip Australian businesses on Shopify with their GST requirements.

Need GST implemented in your shop, but want someone to take care of it for you? We can help with our quickfire GST-ify service pack – click here for more details.

We hope this tutorial gets you on your way to GST-ifying your store. Questions, comments corrections? Post them below.

***

Thank you for keeping up to date with our Shopify Insider Blog @ Blackbelt Commerce. Please make sure to check out our products. We also have some top blog recommendations for you to check out; Bilingual Theme Retired and The 3 Shopify Design Mistakes To Avoid.  As always, keep a lookout for new blog posts.

Do you have any questions? Please leave them in the comments below.

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Comments 33

  1. Hi – thanks for a great post. There isn’t much info out there on this topic. I am just about ready to launch my online shop with Shopify and I am working on making it GST compliant. Everything you went through was great but I was wondering if you could tell me how to add a total GST line to my Tax Invoice and New Order notification emails?

    1. Hi Samantha,
      Glad you found it helpful! The Tax Invoice (Order Confirmation) should happen automatically if you have your products set to “Charge Taxes”.

      This is already built in – you shouldn’t need to do anything extra. The liquid code that does it is:
      {% for tax_line in tax_lines %} {{ tax_line.title }} : {{ tax_line.price | money_with_currency }}{% endfor %}

      You should see that via Preferences > Email & Notifications > Order Confirmation.

      For the New Order notification, if you wanted to see that as the store owner each time an order was placed, you can just replicate the code above into your New Order notification and it should come through in the email. Hope that helps!
      Tristan.

  2. hi guys, is there a way for shopify to only charge aussies GST but the rest of the world not (being that we’re exporting, the don’t have to pay tax is my understanding)

    ideas?

    1. Hi Marty,
      Thanks for your comment. There is indeed a way to do this. You can set individual tax rates for each country (e.g. GST for AU, VAT for EU, etc.), or GST for AU and no tax for the rest of the world. To do this:
      1. Log into your store’s admin panel (yourstorename.myshopify.com/admin)
      2. Go to Preferences > Regions and Taxes
      3. Select the country (ies) you want to set tax rates for, and apply them there.

      From here, every time someone checks out with products and specifies their country, they’ll be charged the corresponding tax type.

      Best of luck!
      Tristan.

  3. Hi Marty,
    it would appear that Shopify only permits a single tax (VAT) rate for the store. Is there any way to have different tax rates for different products?

    Thanks,
    J

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for the question. As far as I know, there’s no way to add different tax rates for different products.

      You can add different tax rates for different countries: for example, VAT for the UK and GST for Australia. This lives under Admin > Settings > Taxes. But I’m not aware of a way to add different tax rates by product. Sorry! You could try emailing support@shopify.com if you like.

      Hope you can find a solution! =)
      Cheers — Tristan.

    1. Hi Aengus,
      Glad we could help 🙂 It can be a bit tricky to set up but it sounds like you have the hang of it now. Good luck with it and just let us know if you need a hand. Cheers — Tristan.

  4. Hi Tristan,

    What if the seller is not registered for gst and thus can’t charge gst to its customers?
    I can’t find any information anywhere on this..

    1. Hi Femke,
      My official thought on that would be that you’d need to ask an accountant 🙂 But in terms of your Shopify store and my personal experience — if you’re not registered for GST (i.e. under $75K/year in Australia), you wouldn’t need to charge GST. Therefore you wouldn’t need to have GST on your Shopify store either. Best to check with your accountant though.
      Cheers!
      Tristan.

  5. Hi Tristan

    I am having major issues with the overseas tax rates!
    I have set the Australian tax rate at 10% and other Overseas countries at 0% and set the Taxes included in the price as ticked but when I come to the checkout the 10% GST is not deducted from the overseas checkout prices meaning that all customers are charged the 10%. Is there a way around this as this is illegal! I have read many forums on this and I’m certainly not alone in this, can you please help?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Nicola!

      Sounds tricky. There’s one other setting – “My product prices include taxes” under the tax settings. This should be set to off. Is it?

      Ideally I’d suggest this, with a same product of $10 NOT incl. GST:

      1) Don’t include tax in your prices. Eg product price should be $10.

      2) Regional taxes at 10% for AU; 0% overseas (done).

      3) Set your products to “Charge Tax on this product” in the product’s settings.

      If you try that and still know good, let me know. Cheers – Tristan.

      1. Hi Tristan,

        If I understand your instructions above, you are suggesting to turn off ‘My product prices include taxes’ which will effectively make the price $10 ex GST.

        Then 10% will be ADDED to the $10 price effectively making the total sale $11.00

        The problem with this workflow is that the prices displayed on your website will be Ex GST and this is against Australian Consumer Law.

        1. Hi Jeffrey,
          If you were to do this, you are correct – under Australian Consumer Law you would need to have an EXTRA price displayed on your product pages.

          For example:
          “Australian Price: $11 Incl. GST”
          “Non-Australian Price: $10”.

          This can be accomplished by adding some Liquid code into your product.liquid template, adding 10% to the baseline price, to arrive at $11.

          1. Hi Tristan, I believe this thread is relevant to my question.

            I am setting up a wholesale website where it is password protected. The general structure of wholesale is to show the prices ex GST and charge GST at the invoice.

            Can you explain to me how to set it up that the invoice would read at the bottom ?
            Total order amount ex GST
            GST amount
            Shipping amount
            Total inc GST

    2. This is a flaw with the way that Shopify handles tax inclusive pricing. I’ve raised this issue in several support tickets with Shopify but no one seems to want to address this issue. You are correct, for an overseas purchase that is Tax Exempt Shopify will not reduce the tax inclusive price by 10% even if you have set a 0% tax rate for overseas customers. This means every overseas customer will be overcharged.

  6. It appears I dont have access to:
    Admin > Preferences > General > Checkout Language >
    to rename “.. including %s taxes.”
    Has Shopify changed since your post?
    Thanks

    1. Hey Cam! It’s still in the same place. If you’re using someone else’s checkout langauge, you might have to ask them for access to it.
      If you’re using your own checkout language though, you should be able to access it. Are you the store owner? Cheers — Tristan.

  7. I must be blind 🙁
    I have looked in:
    /admin/settings/general – not there…
    /admin/settings/payments – Checkout Language=English at bottom of page. No other options. See image. https://i.imgur.com/ajBnkjD.jpg
    What is the URL for this settings page?
    Thanks Tristan.

  8. Found it 🙂
    You cannot edit English checkout language. You have to make your own and any empty fields will display the default English translation.

    URL=https://myshop.myshopify.com/admin/settings/locales/new

  9. We are using Lightspeed Pro with Channels Connector to Shopify.
    Channels Connector is picking up our ex GST price and showing that in Shopify.
    We need to show our inc GST price for our Australian customers and not charge for International…I have read and tried all in this thread…I still can’t see the solution?
    Hope someone has the answer?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for writing in. Sorry, but I don’t think I’m quite qualified to answer this one 🙂 As I’m not familiar enough with LightSpeed / Channels Connector. Could I suggest checking with the developers of those two apps/systems? They’ll probably be better able to help, as they should have documentation on how their software integrates with Shopify, and should be able to help with the GST / tax setup. Sorry I didn’t have a better answer for you!

      Thanks,
      Tristan.

  10. I’m not based in Australia, but maybe you can help me. I live in a location that doesn’t have sales tax. From what I understand I only have to charge sales tax if I have Nexus somewhere. If I want to ship worldwide though, do I have to charge the sales tax for each country? For example if I wanted to ship to the U.K would I charge 20% and for Australia I would charge 10% and so on or would it be 0% for international customers?Do I charge each country on their sales tax or do I not charge tax for international customers? Any help would be appreciated?

    1. Hi there, thanks for reading. I’m not quite comfortable answering this without knowing your specific situation, sorry. This is a question best raised to your accountant 🙂

      Normally, though, no, you don’t need to charge taxes to other countries, at least that’s how it is if your business is headquartered in Australia.

  11. Hi Tristan,

    I’ve been reading the previous comments on GST and been a great source of information. I am based in Melbourne and planning to open a shopify store. Planning to use https://printaura.com for printing my t-shirts which is based in New York.

    Question: do I have to enable tax for both Australian GST and New York (United States)?

    1. Hi Daniel! Best to check with your accountant on that 🙂 My thought would be, if you are an Australian business, you only need to charge Australian clients GST; other countries would not attract GST. Best to check though. Hope that helps!

  12. Hi Justin,
    We are having a problem with this section
    Go to Admin > Preferences > General > Checkout Language > Inspect, and rename “.. including %s taxes.” to “Including %s GST (Goods and Services Tax).”

    I can’t find anything that lists ‘inspect’ has the language changed to something else. We can find –

    >Checkout & System
    >Vat label html

    What do we add in this section to make it show the costs of GST like your example.

    Also any tips how to make your email notification show the GST?

    Thanks

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