Goods and services tax (GST) - the MBS and PBS

How GST applies to Medicare benefits and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Payments to the public

Generally, Medicare and PBS payments or services supplied to the public are GST free. This applies to:

  • Medicare benefits
  • medicines supplied under the PBS
  • income tested rebate on private health insurance.

More information about taxes borne by consumers is available from the ATO Tax Reform website.

Payments to service providers and suppliers

This section relates to programme and incentive payments made to:

  • pharmacies, pharmacists and other approved dispensers
  • radiation-oncology clinics
  • colostomy and ileostomy associations, and paraplegic and quadriplegic associations
  • wholesale medicine suppliers for the Botox and in-vitro fertilisation or gamete intra-fallopian transfer programmes
  • simplified billing agents
  • software suppliers.

Many health services, such as Medicare and the PBS, are free from the GST. However, the Australian Taxation Office has advised that GST should apply to some payments, including some of those paid on behalf of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Under those circumstances, the payment itself is deemed under GST law to be a 'consideration for a supply' that is, a payment for a service that you are deemed to be rendering to us or the Australian Government.

As a result, we need to collect some information from you to ensure that you continue to receive Medicare payments in full.

What suppliers and providers need to do

For your enterprise to continue to receive payments in full, you must comply with the requirements of the GST legislation. If you receive or may receive payments from us that are not GST-free, you need to give us the Australian Business Number (ABN) of the enterprise, and enter into a Recipient Created Tax Invoice Agreement with us, signed by an appropriate representative of the enterprise. You also need to advise us if you do not have an ABN, or if any of your ABN or Medicare Reference ID details change.

Provide this information to us by completing the appropriate form.

Health related taxation links

Page last updated: 28 March 2024.
QC 32286