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Your Guide to Registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN)

Deciding to go into business is a major decision to make. When you have invested a lot of time and resources into a business, there is no turning back; you’ll have to face the consequent result – success or failure. That is why you must be fully ready and have thoroughly planned before making the crucial decision.


After you have defined the business you want to pursue and organised your plans well, you will then be ready to register your business. Registering your business is easy and convenient. You start by applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN). 


What is an Australian Business Number (ABN)?


ABN is a unique number that identifies your business to the government and to the community. It is needed for tax purposes and other business activities. ABN does not replace your tax file number.


The ABN has many uses, which include the following:


        Identify your business to others especially when making an order or invoicing     

        Avoid ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG) tax on payments that you get

        Claim goods and services (GST) credits

        Claim energy grant credits

        Get an Australian domain name


Who Needs an ABN?


You need to have a business and be carrying or starting an enterprise in Australia to be entitled to an ABN. You can also be entitled to an ABN if you make supplies connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone (excludes Christmas and Cocos Islands) or if you are a company registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). For work that you carry out as an employee including apprentice, trade assistant, or labour, you are not entitled to an ABN. 


What You Need Before Applying for an ABN


You’ll need the following before you register:


1. You should have identified your business structure

2. Proof of identity

3. Details of your business activities and your associates


How to Register for an ABN


You can apply for an ABN directly through the Business Registration Service page of the Australian government. Registering is free. You to have the following ready when you apply:


        Name and contact details of the applicant

        Address and contact details of the business or organisation

        Details of each person or organisation associated with the business

        Tax agent number

        ABN reference number (if any)

        Details of business

        Tax file number (optional for ABN)

        Proof of identity information such as name, address and birth details

        Business structure

        Business activity details


You’ll find out online about your ABN as soon as you’ve accomplished your application if the required information you provide is complete and in order. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will review your application within 20 business days and contact you for more information if necessary.


You can also take the opportunity to register for a business name or taxes at the same time when you use the Business Registration Service for your ABN application.



About the author:

Mike is a content writer and marketing consultant for phonebook at St Marys, NSW.

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