Strictly speaking, yes. You may not be able to zero-rate the transaction without further action.
Most export sales of goods will be zero-rated for GST purposes. This is because they have met the criteria to zero-rate, which are:
- The goods have physically been exported within 28 days of the time of supply (see below); and
- You, as the exporter, are named as the supplier on the relevant export documentation.
A deposit will trigger the time of supply, and in turn the 28-day countdown.
If the goods are not exported within the 28-days, then GST zero-rating cannot apply and (for those with a “plus GST, if any” contract) you will be seeking recourse from the purchaser (which clearly won’t be easy and is probably commercially not a recommended approach).
The good news is that the Commissioner can apply discretion to extend the 28-day timeframe, if asked.
We therefore recommend immediate action and contact with Inland Revenue to request an extension (preferably before the 28-day timeframe has passed). We are confident that the Commissioner will accept the request.
The request does not need to be wordy, include name of registered person and IRD number with a short commentary:
Due to the impact of Covid-19, we are unable to meet the timeframe to zero-rate exports. We therefore apply to the Commissioner for an extension to properly permit zero-rating.
We have informally discussed this point with Inland Revenue and we do expect a formal remedy to this issue. However, in the meantime, in our view, this is the best approach.