Jul 13, 2015

Government Crackdown: ABN and GST for Uber X Drivers

You’re fresh out of cash and you need to get home, who ya gonna call?, You need a second job to fit around your schedule, who ya gonna call?

Since its arrival in Australia, accusations of illegality have been leveled against the Uber X service, an offering that has proven highly successful and somewhat revolutionary for the transport system. Through Uber’s mobile application consumers can book, follow, fare split and pay for their journey without opening their wallet. Uber X is effectively a ride-sharing operation, allowing people to register as Uber drivers using their own vehicles and Uber programs. Drivers can earn extra cash, users enjoy a discounted fare; at face value, it’s a win-win situation.

The NSW Government has previously showed its distaste for this enterprise with the April 2014 raids of Uber’s Sydney offices and more recently the issue of a series of token Court Attendance Notices to Uber X drivers.

Now the Federal Government has taken up the gauntlet after competitors have alleged tax evasion to be at play.

Taxi drivers are required by law to have their own ABNs and to be GST registered regardless of the annual income they derive from driving. As of 1 August 2015 Uber X drivers will similarly need to obtain an ABN, collect and pass on GST payments. This will see an immediate rise in Uber X fares to compensate for the additional tax levied. Is this an attempt to level the playing field for personal transport and bring Uber under the purview of the Government? (What free market liberalism?)

Is this an argument of fairness or of government control and revenue collection?

Whatever your stance, the facts are these: Uber X drivers must register for an ABN and GST. This is the specialty of our subsidiary, EasyABNs. Let us help.

What is an Australian Business Number (ABN)?

An ABN is an 11-digit number used primarily by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as an identifier. It is a way to monitor and regulate your tax payment and reporting commitments.

A business operation (sole-trader/partnership/company) must have an ABN if:

  • It will earn over $75 000 per year (and must also register for GST)

  • It intends to issue invoices and receipts

  • You would like to open a business bank account

N.B. You must have an ABN to register for GST

EasyABNs offers a convenient, hassle-free ABN application process completed entirely online for just $49. In 95% of cases our customers have received their ABN within 15 minutes during business hours. However, issues with the application can result in manual review by the ATO, extending up to 28 days for completion.

To apply for your ABN today, simply visit EasyABNs and begin your application. We have staff available via LiveChat and telephone to guide you through the application process.

The best part? You can apply for your ABN and GST in the one online form!

What is Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

GST is experienced as a 10% addition to the price of most goods and services in Australia. An entity registered for GST must pass these funds on the ATO at the end of each tax period, usually quarterly or per month (as elected).

Entities then have the benefit of claiming tax credits for any business supplies for which they have been charged the 10% GST. These are subtracted from the amount of GST payable to the ATO each tax period.

Taxi drivers and now Uber X drivers fall within a class of persons legally obligated to be GST registered. You can opt to register for GST as part of your ABN application with EasyABNs, at no extra cost. The ATO will generate your GST registration within 3-5 working days and post these details to your business address.

What do I need to apply?

In order to obtain an ABN with GST registration you must be an Australian resident with a tax file number (TFN). It is important to ensure that the ATO has the correct identification information on record for you to allow for the smooth passage of your application. This includes your name. If you have changed it, perhaps due to marriage or cultural reasons, advise the ATO. Similarly it is crucial that you provide your correct date of birth, TFN and contact details.


This commitment doesn’t end once you have registered for your ABN and GST. Should you fail to lodge your activity statements, GST returns or information reports on time financial penalties apply. At the same time, if you risk operating without registering for these requirements with the ATO, the infringement won’t go unnoticed.

For further information and to apply for your ABN please visit EasyABNs.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You must seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances before acting.

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