Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN)
An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and community.
An ABN doesn't replace your tax file number, but it is used for various tax and other business purposes.
Do I need an ABN?
Not everyone needs an ABN. To get one you need to be carrying on an enterprise.
If you apply for an ABN and you're not entitled, your application may be refused. You'll be sent a letter explaining why.
With an ABN you can:
- confirm your business identity to others when ordering and invoicing
- avoid Pay as You Go (PAYG) tax on payments you receive
- claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) credits
- claim energy grants credits
- obtain an Australian domain name.
For more information about your entitlement to an ABN visit the Australian Business Register (ABR) website.
How do I apply for an ABN?
Applying for an ABN is free.
You can apply for an ABN and other key business registrations on the Business Registration Service.
Do I need to register an ABN and a business name separately?
You can register a business name at the same time as your ABN application. If you choose not to register for both at the same time you will need to return to the Business Registration Service to register your business name.
As your registered business name may sometimes be referred to as an Australian business name or trading name, it's important to understand the difference between your ABN and your registered business name. Visit our register your business name page for more information.
I want to register a company. Do I apply for an Australian Company Number (ACN) or an ABN first?
You can apply for an ACN and ABN in the same form on the Business Registration Service.
How long does it take to get an ABN?
If you provide all the required information when applying online, you'll receive an online notification of your ABN immediately after completing your application.
If your identity cannot be confirmed, or more information is needed, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will review your application within 20 business days. They may contact you if they need more information.
My business details have changed. Who do I need to inform?
You must inform the ABR within 28 days of becoming aware of any changes to your ABN registration details. Please note that when you change your business structure you may also be required to register a new ABN.
Visit the Update your ABN details page on the ABR website for more information about updating you ABN information.
When you make changes to your business, you may also need to change your business name details. To do this, you must inform the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
How can I find an ABN?
If you want to look up information about a registered ABN, such as to check that your details are up to date or check the details of a supplier, you can do this on the ABN Lookup website. ABN Lookup allows you to search publicly available information supplied by businesses when they register for an ABN.
When and how do I cancel my ABN?
You'll need to cancel your ABN when changing from a:
- Sole trader to a company
- sole trader to partnership
- partnership to company.
If your business is no longer operating you need to cancel your ABN on the ABR website.
ABR Contact information
Contact the ABR to find out how your application for an ABN is progressing, to update your ABN or to cancel your registration.
- Read our Business or hobby? page to determine if you are carrying on an enterprise.
- Visit the ABR's ABN explained page to learn more about the benefits of having an ABN, who's eligible and more.
- Check out our Starting a business guide to help you get started.
- Find out more about Business structures and types to help you decide which structure suits your business.
- Download our templates and downloads for starting and growing a business.
- If you're cancelling your ABN, you might also be interested in information on Selling or Closing a business.