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How do I apply for an Australian Business Number?

Here are the three most common ways to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN):

  1. Ask your accountant to apply on your behalf
  2. Apply at the Australian Business Register website
  3. Complete the application form at the Australian Taxation Office website

1) Ask your accountant

Your accountant already has your files and most of the information required so they can relieve you of the time and hassle involved in obtaining an ABN.

2) Apply at the Australian Business Register website

Apply for an ABN at the Australian Business Register website. The ABN will be issued to you at the time of lodging the required form, or within seven days.

3) Complete the application form at the Australian Taxation Office website

Apply for an ABN by completing the application form at the Australian Taxation Office website.

Tip: Make sure you complete the correct form. The Australian Taxation Office won’t accept the right information on the wrong form. You will need to complete the form relevant to your entity.

When is the registration process complete?

The registration process is complete when the Tax Office sends you notification of the registration in writing. The details of the registration will also be posted on the Australian Business Register, a free search facility which allows members of the public, including your suppliers, employees, contractors and customers, to identify your business.

You will need an ABN if:

- Your entity has set up, or is about to set up, a new business and has never had an ABN using the same business structure in Australia
- Your entity has bought or taken over an existing business
- Your entity is contracting or subcontracting its services
- Your entity needs an ABN to receive payment for services
- Your entity has recommenced business using the same legal structure and it wants to use its previous ABN
- Your legal structure of the business has changed. For example, changing from a partnership to a company.

Below is a list of the questions you will be asked when applying for an ABN. It will make it easier if you prepare the answers before you apply.

1) Does the applicant already have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or has the applicant ever had an ABN in the past?
2) Does the applicant wish to apply for an Australian Business Number?
3) Does the applicant have a tax file number?
4) Does the applicant wish to apply for a tax file number?
5) Does the applicant wish to register for goods and services tax?
6) Does the applicant want to register for fuel tax credits?
7) Is the applicant required to register for Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding?
8) What is the applicant’s tax file number?
9) What is the entity-type?
10) Does the entity have an Australian Company Number or an Australian Registered Body Number?
11) Is the entity a subsidiary company?
12) What is the entity’s postal address for service of notices and correspondence?
13) Is the entity a resident of Australia for tax purposes?
14) Is the entity a non-profit organisation?
15) Is the entity exempt for income tax purposes?
16) Who is the authorised contact person for the entity?
17) If the entity uses, or intends to use the services of a tax agent, what is the tax agent's registration number?
18) Is the entity owned or controlled by Commonwealth, state, territory or local government?
19) What is the entity’s name?
20) What is the entity’s trading name?
21) What is the main business location or address?
22) What are the details and addresses of associated organisations and individuals of the applicant?
23) From what date does the applicant require an ABN?
24) If the entity intends that its business activity be for less than three months, on what date does the entity expect to cease business?
25) Does the applicant have more than one business location in Australia?
26) In which states or territories does the applicant have business locations?
27) What is the main industry in which the applicant operates?
28) What is the main activity from which the applicant derives the majority of its business income?
29) Does the entity operate an agricultural property?
30) Who are the individuals associated with the entity?
31) What are the organisations associated with the entity?


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