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2 min read

How to Get an ABN in Australia: A Step-by-Step Guide

ABN form in Australia

Are you starting a business in Australia and need an ABN (Australian Business Number) to operate legally? In this post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to get an ABN in Australia.

What is an ABN number in Australia

In Australia, an ABN, or Australian Business Number, is a unique 11-digit number that identifies businesses in Australia and allows them to interact with various government agencies and entities. It is essential for many business activities, such as getting a business name, issuing tax invoices, or claiming tax credits. The ABN is used for various tax and other business purposes, including:

  1. Facilitating a single Business Activity Statement (BAS) for taxation purposes.
  2. Claiming Goods and Services Tax (GST) credits.
  3. Confirming the business’s identity to others when ordering or invoicing.
  4. Avoiding Pay as You Go (PAYG) tax on payments received.

Businesses need to have an ABN to register for GST, and not all businesses are required to have an ABN, but it’s beneficial for most. If a business doesn’t provide its ABN when it supplies goods or services, the buyer may be required to withhold tax from the payment and send it to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).


Step 1: Determine if you need an ABN

Not all businesses in Australia require an ABN. Generally, you will need an ABN if you are carrying on an enterprise, which means that you are regularly undertaking activities in a business-like manner with the intention of making a profit. You can check if you need an ABN on the Australian Business Register website.

Step 2: Gather the required information

To apply for an ABN, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your tax file number (TFN)
  • Your legal name and any trading names
  • Your business address
  • Your business activity details
  • Your contact details

Step 3: Apply for an ABN

You can apply for an ABN online through the Australian Business Register website. The application process is free and should take around 15 minutes to complete. You will need to provide the information gathered in Step 2, as well as answer some additional questions about your business.

Apply for an ABN online

Step 4: Wait for your ABN

After you submit your application, you should receive your ABN immediately, provided that you have provided all the required information. In some cases, the Australian Business Register may need to review your application, which can take up to 28 days.

Step 5: Register for other business requirements

Once you have your ABN, you may also need to register for other business requirements, such as GST (Goods and Services Tax) and PAYG (Pay As You Go) withholding. You can do this through the Australian Business Register website.

At RemotePad, Lech draws on his professional experience to write about employment taxes and payroll (both remote, and in-office). Lech holds a Bachelors’ degree from the University of Kent, a Master of Arts (MA) from Kings College London, and professional payroll and tax qualifications. He has 20 years experience advising on all manner of tax and business planning matters.