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I had clients complain all the time that something was wrong with my invoices because I didn’t have GST and my invoice stated ‘Invoice’ rather than ‘Tax invoice’. The complaints subsided once I added ‘No GST has been charged’ to the bottom of my invoices.

You are right that you shouldn’t have collected GST if you were not registered for it. You also don’t need to register for GST unless your income from the current month + prior 11 months or future 11 months is greater than 75k. I don’t see a problem with refunding the GST portion but it may be a little embarrassing contacting your previous clients and changing things. I’m no expert so I’ll leave it to someone else to give a more qualified response.