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In the past ten months, there have been 1.1 billion ABN searches; that’s 40 times the entire population of Australia! This means you’re not the only one searching.
So what is an ABN, and how can somebody find theirs? Let’s jump right in.
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An Australian Business Number (ABN) is an 11-digit code that a registered Australian business entity (not a company) uses to keep track of business transactions for tax purposes.
Registered companies are different as they need an Australian Company Number or ACN.
Any business with an annual GST turnover of $75,000 must apply for an ABN. However, businesses with a lower turnover may also choose to apply for one for various reasons.¹
For starters, if you’ve been in business for a while, it’s probably already printed on one of your invoices or letterheads.
If you’re new, finding your ABN online is easy. There are a few ways.
- The first is the ABN register. 83% of all ABN searches are conducted on this site.²
- Other Australian government websites have an ABN search field on them, for example, the Department of Climate Change.
Another option is to call the Australian Business Register (ABR) Monday to Friday between 8 am and 6 pm AEST on:
13 92 26 — In Australia, and
- 61 2 6216 1111 — Outside Australia:
You will be asked some verification questions to identify you before they assist.
Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about finding your ABN.
A decision was made on 1 November 2018 to retire trading names. However, they’re still in existence, and an ABN search will provide a business’s trading name until 31 October 2023 only.¹
As mentioned above, any business with a GST turnover of $75,000 needs an ABN. When registering for the payment of GST, the ABN is then used as the GST number.³
A tax file number (TFN) is a personal identification number provided by the Australian Tax Office to identify you as an individual for tax purposes.
It’s not the same as an ABN as that’s for a business entity. Your TFN and ABN can be linked if you’re a sole trader.⁴
An ABN is 11 digits. It can be any nine numbers with two leading check digits which are determined by a formula.
The Australian Business Register provides that formula to everyone to confirm that the ABN is valid.⁵
ABNs don’t expire. However, they may get cancelled if the ATO identifies that there have been no transactions over a period. Usually, this is determined by a lack of business tax lodgments.
If this has happened and you wish to keep your ABN, you can reapply for the same number to be reinstated.⁶
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- ATO Business The Importance of an ABN
- Australian Business Register ABN Search
- ATO Business Registering for GST
- ATO Individual Tax File Number
- Australian Business Register Format of the ABN
- ATO Newsroom
Sources checked on: 22 May 2023
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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