Chapter 7

Understanding GST

In This Chapter

Getting your head around how GST works

Deciding whether to register for GST, and what boxes to tick if you do

Forging neural pathways with amazing feats of multiplication and division

Applying this strange and wonderful tax to real-life situations

Setting up tax codes in your accounting software

Keeping your nose squeaky clean

Making sure your paperwork is up to scratch

Holey moley. As part of researching this chapter, I decided to download ‘The Simple Guide to GST’ from the Australian Taxation Office website, along with its twin sister equivalent from Inland Revenue in New Zealand. Many hours and 168 pages later, I was left with a strange sensation which I couldn’t quite put into words.

Then in the night it came to me. Obfuscation was the word I was looking for. According to Wikipedia wisdom, obfuscation is the ‘concealment of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, intentionally ambiguous and more difficult to interpret’. A more succinct definition of government-generated documents I could not imagine.

Never mind. Hopefully, the price of my suffering can be an exchange for your peace of mind. In this chapter, I take a stab at distilling how GST works, some of the do’s and don’ts of accounting for GST, what mistakes to watch out for, and how to peel a grape with your tongue — no fingers or teeth allowed. (Ah, the useful skills one learns late at night in Sydney’s bars.)

Coughing Up the Difference

As you probably ...

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