What's the cost to get an ABN?

Roberto Efflandrin

There are lots of things you need to do when starting a new business, including plenty of paperwork. It’s important to make sure you’re ticking all the boxes from a legal and tax perspective. If you run a business in Australia, it’s likely that you’ll need an ABN.

But does it cost to get an ABN, and what’s the process for getting one? We’ll cover the answers to both of these key questions here in this guide.

And as well as getting an ABN, you’ll also need to get your finances sorted as a brand-new business. If you’re looking for a business account for your startup, Wise could be the ideal choice. But more on this later. Let’s focus on ABNs for now.

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What is an Australian Business Number — ABN?

An ABN is a unique, 11-digit number used to identify your specific business.¹ It’s an important thing to have for many different reasons.

Crucially, it’s a legal requirement for all businesses with an annual goods and services (GST) turnover of $75,000 AUD to have an ABN.²

But if your business is new or your annual turnover is less than this, you may still need to get an ABN. For example, you’ll need it to claim GST tax credits, as well as to get an Australian domain name for your website.³ Other uses include:

  • Claiming energy grants credits
  • Avoiding pay as you go (PAYG) tax
  • Identifying your business when invoicing – without an ABN, the supplier may have to withhold tax from their payment.
  • Making it easier to keep track of transactions for tax purposes.

If you’re starting a business or are a Corporations Act company, it’s strongly recommended to get an ABN.

Does it cost anything to get an ABN?

Registering for an ABN through the Australian Government’s Business Registration Service is free.³

If you’re still not sure whether to get an ABN, there’s a little something to make it easier.

You can apply and register for it through the Australian Government’s Business Registration Service and you won’t pay a cent. But remember that there may be a fee to pay if you use a tax practitioner or other service to complete the ABN application for you.

So, if you’re on the fence about getting an ABN, you might as well. It costs nothing and could be very useful (and even essential) in the future running of your business.

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What is the process for getting an ABN?

It should be quite straightforward to register for an ABN, but you’ll need to make sure you have all the required details and documentation to hand. This includes⁴:

  • Proof of ID
  • Details of your business structure and activities
  • Information for each person involved in the business (i.e. colleagues, directors and associates)
  • Tax agent number (if you’re using a tax agent).

If you find you’re missing something, don’t worry. You can always save your application, retrieve the information and pick back up where you left off.

Got everything ready? Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to https://register.business.gov.au/
  2. Select the registrations you require – you’re here to register for an ABN, but you can also do other things at the same time. For example, register a business name or for Goods and Services Tax (GST)⁴.
  3. Follow all steps of the application process and supply all requested details.
  4. Submit your application and receive your ABN.

How long does it take to get your ABN

As long as you’ve provided all requested information during the registration process, you should receive your ABN right away. But if there’s a problem (such as missing information or issues confirming your identity) your application will be reviewed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This could take up to 20 business days.³

Read more: Learn how to start your own business in Australia

An account for your business

You’ve got your ABN, so what’s next? This is the perfect time to start thinking about how you’ll manage your business finances.

This is where a Wise for Business account comes in very handy, especially if you have big plans to trade oversea. Like buying stock, paying invoices to suppliers abroad, or paying international staff and collaborators, Wise is tailor made for you.

From your Multi-currency account, you can send money to international suppliers for tiny, transparent fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate. You’ll find this is a much better rate than most banks offer.

And if someone in another country needs to pay you in their own currency, you can receive it into your multi-currency account like a local. You can hold the money in your account for future expenses, spend it using your linked Wise Business Mastercard, or convert back to your own currency for a small fee.

Additional features for businesses include integration with Xero accounting software, batch payments tool (perfect for payroll) and an open API. This means you can connect your account with other business tools.

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  1. ATO - Applying for an ABN
  2. Importance of an ABN and Threshold
  3. Benefits and needs for registering for an ABN
  4. Registration requirements for an ABN 2nd page of flow

Sources checked on 31 March 2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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