Registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN) is an important process and can unlock the pathway to a number of grants and programs. This article will explain all you need to know about ABN Australia, however if you need any further information call us today to see how we can help your business.
ABN Australia: What are Australian Business Numbers (ABNs)?
Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) are a unique 11 digit number. It helps identify your business to the community and government. ABNs are operated and administered by the Australian Business Register (ABR).
There are a number of key benefits to having an ABN, most notably your company can avoid pay as you go tax on payments, claim goods and services tax credits and claim energy grants credits. As we have detailed in some of our other articles, there are a number of grants and support programs open to Australian businesses – many of which require companies to have an ABN.
How To Register For An ABN Australia
If registering through the official Australian Government service, registering for an ABN is free, and can be done online. In order to register for an ABN, you will need to have proof of identity, have identified your business structure (e.g. sole trader or partnership company) and details of your business activities.
If you have provided all of the required information, your online ABN Australia application should be approved instantly. If further information is required, the Australian Taxation Office will review your application and should make a decision within 20 working days, or contact you for further information.
It is easy to get confused between ABN and the Goods and Service Taxes (GST) threshold. Many believe that if your earnings are below the GST threshold of $75,000 you do not need an ABN. This is incorrect, and one of the common myths surrounding ABNs, as depending on your circumstances you may still need an ABN even if you earn below the $75,000 threshold.
If you need to apply for an ACN Australian Company Number, you can apply for an ACN and ABN at the same time, using the same online form.
Are You Eligible For An ABN?
Not everyone is eligible or entitled to an ABN. To save yourself any unwanted stress or wasted time in filling out an ABN application, we have listed some of the key information below.
Sole traders, companies, deceased estates, partnerships, superannuation entities and trusts are all eligible for ABNs, subject to the right criteria. You may be eligible for an ABN if you:
- Are Carrying on or starting an enterprise in Australia
- Have a Corporations Act Company
- Make supplies that are connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone
Before applying for an ABN, you will need to have a tax file number (TFN). Not all businesses types are entitled to or require an ABN. For example, the renting out of a residential property for profit does not normally require Goods and Services Tax (GST) and therefore an ABN may not be required.
If the Registrar believes that your application does not meet the requirements of an ABN, they may refuse or cancel your application and therefore your ABN.
Are Non-Residents Entitled to An ABN?
Non-residents may be entitled to an ABN depending on their circumstances. Firstly they will need to be carrying on or starting an enterprise within Australia or be making supplies that are directly connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone.
The application process for non-residents is a little bit more tricky, but it is still possible to do this online, even if you don’t have an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). If the correct documents are not sent to the Australian Taxation Office within 43 days of submitting an application, the ABN application will be refused.
What Do I Do With My ABN?
If you have an ABN in Australia, laws require you to include it on each tax invoice you produce and other related documents.
Cancelling your ABN
Whilst there are benefits to your business for having an ABN, there may be a time when you need to cancel your ABN. As you might expect, if you are closing your business or are no longer operating your business you will probably need to cancel your ABN. If you need to cancel your ABN, this can be easily done online.
It is also important to remember that changing your company structure could mean that you need to cancel your ABN and get a new one. If any of the following changes apply to your business structure, you will need to cancel your ABN:
- Sole trader to a company or partnership
- Partnership to company.
The Australian Government are keen to stress that it is your responsibility to maintain your ABN and update it when necessary. It is a requirement that any changes are updated within 28 days of you becoming aware of them.
Before cancelling your ABN, you should make sure that you have paid any outstanding tax and other obligations.
ABN Holder Grants
Governments, both regionally and nationally, use ABN data to identify businesses that could benefit from support packages. As such, it is very important to keep your ABN data up to date, to ensure that you do not miss out on any vital support.
In other articles, we have provided an in-depth overview of the main business grants and programs available to small businesses. These can make a massive difference to the success of a business, helping reduce overheads, improve cash flow and help businesses invest in the future. Many of the small business grants and programs require an ABN, so having an ABN if you are entitled to one, can unlock future opportunities for you and your business.
ABN Australia Lookup
Once you have successfully registered your ABN, the public and/or clients can search for your details on ABN Lookup. Over 1.1 billion ABN Lookup searches have been conducted in the last 10 months.
Having an ABN is an important process for many business owners in Australia. It can open up new opportunities, however once you have an ABN you will need to use it appropriately and keep it up to date with any changes. Remembering to make these minor changes can sometimes pass business owners by, especially when they are busy running a business on a day-to-day basis.