If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you may need an Australian business number, commonly referred to as an ABN. Not everyone needs an ABN, so let’s take a look at why you need an ABN and how to apply for one.
What is an Australian business number?
Similar to a tax file number, an ABN is a unique 11-digit number that makes it easier for businesses to interact with the Australian government. It is free to register and your ABN details will be stored in the Australian Business Register.
Why do I need one?
After you register for an ABN, you will be able to register a business name and sign up for GST. You can also avoid Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax on payments you receive and claim GST credits.
You will also be able to get an AUSkey in order to transact with government agencies online, be endorsed as a deductible gift recipient or an income tax exempt charity, and claim energy grants credits.
Most business are required to display their ABN on all invoices as a confirmation of your business identity.
How do I get one?
You can apply for an ABN online via the Australian Tax Office website. You will need to declare your business structure (e.g. sole trader or company), and have your tax file number handy. To ensure you are a legitimate business and not an employee, you will be asked a few key questions.
If your application is successful you will received your ABN immediately. A confirmation letter will also be posted to you within 14 days.