If you’re thinking of starting a business in Australia, understanding how to get an ABN is likely important. And yes, registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN) is completely free! You can register through the Business Registration Service on the Australian Government’s website.
What is an ABN and why do you need it?
An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a 11-digit number given to one business or company. You can learn more about what an ABN is, who needs one and the benefits of having one in our article “Forming a Company in Australia: Benefits and Procedures“.
Be prepared: 5 things to check before you apply for Free ABN Registration
Look at the list below before you start your free ABN registration process. You’ll be asked the following questions or required to provide the following information:
- Do you have a company number from Australia? Before getting the ABN for business activity, an Australian company or business must register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Upon registration, ASIC will issue an Australian Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN). Also, you need to get a Director ID number and create a MyGovID during this process.
- Company name, business nature and location? Tell them the legal name of your business or entity. If you’re an individual and you don’t have a business name, use your own name. Your main business activity is usually the main source of income. For each permanent, physical business location you’ll be asked for the street address, business activity details, phone and email contact details. Provide the choosen name for your company or organization. If you are a person without a business name, use your own name. The main source of income that consists of your business income is considered your main business activity. A clear explanation of what you do or sell in business, and the exact place where your business conducts. This information helps to know what your business is, what it does and where it takes place. It helps in correctly registering and knowing about your business company.
- What is your tax file number? The fastest way to get your Australian Business number (ABN) online is by providing your Tax File Number (TFN) and the TFN of your partners in your company. If you or your partners are Australian residents who are more than 18 years old and do not provide all the needed Tax File Number (TFN), you might not instantly get an ABN.
- Contact details of business associates? This person is the official contact for your business, who must be able to handle any problems about your ABN (Australian Business Number). This person should be able to make changes or updates for you. It might be you, or someone you pick to do things for you with taxes and business statements like tax agent or BAS agent. You need to provide the following details of the authorised contact: Use the name, job title, phone numbers, home and email addresses along with registration number if they are your tax agent or BAS agent. For individuals: You will need to give your name, birthday date and the position, income tax number (TFN) and permanent home address. For organisations: You will need to provide the organisation legal name, Australian Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN), Tax file number (TFN) and date of formation.
- What is the date you need your ABN? Your ABN will be issued based on the date you indicate. It should match the planned opening day of your business or venture. Please remember, this date should not be more than six months from when you apply.
How do I get a Free ABN Registration?
When you’ve collected everything needed for your application for free ABN registration, it’s time to move forward.
You have two options:
- Register online for free using the Business Registration Service. This process is easy and you can do it right away.
- Engage an agent for applying, there will be charges.
What happens when I apply for a Free ABN Registration?
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row and submitted your free ABN registration, you shouldn’t have to wait long for a response. You’ll either be notified of a successful application, sent a reference number indicating more information or checking is needed, or notified that your application has been refused.
After you submitted all the documents and the form, you won’t have to wait too long for an answer. You’ll either be told that your application was accepted or you get a reference number for more information needed for the application. Or you might be notified that your application has been rejected.
A successful application
If your application is approved, you’ll get your ABN right away. Make sure to print or save the confirmation and details of your ABN. Once that’s done, you can move on to get your other business registrations needed. The steps for doing this will be explained later in the next part. Your details will be added to the Australian Business Register (ABR). If you worry about privacy, you can ask certain details not to be shared on the register.
A reference number
Getting a reference number means that some details are being checked or more information is needed from you. The review process estimates 20 business days, and if more details are required they’ll contact you. You can check how your application status via using ABN Lookup. If the review is accepted, you will get a confirmation letter along with your ABN number in 14 days.
An unsuccessful application
If your application is denied, you will be given a refusal number. You will also get a letter in 14 days. It will tell you why your application was turned down and what choices you have now. You have the right to get your application to be reviewed again.
What other registrations do I need?
To save time, you’re able to apply for other business registrations as a part of your Australian business number (ABN) application. You may want to apply for the following:
- Register for GST: If you own a business or company and your yearly sales are over $75,000 ($150,00 for non-profit groups), you must register for GST. If you didn’t register for GST, every month should check if you have reached or might go over the limit. If your business makes more than the threshold limit, you need to register for GST within 21 days of reaching it. Find out how to register for GST.
- Register for PAYG withholding if you’re employing staff: Under the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding rules, you must deduct out tax from what you give to your workers or some businesses. This is so they can pay their taxes at the end of the year. Find out how to register for PAYG.
- registering for GST.
- Register for PAYG withholding if you’re employing staff: Under the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding rules, you have an obligation to collect tax from the payments you make to your employees (and some businesses) so they can meet their end-of-year tax liabilities. Learn more about registering for PAYG.
- Register your business name: A business name is the name your company works under. If it’s not your personal name, you need to register for it. To learn more about registering for business name.
What happens once I have my ABN?
You need to make sure the ABN information is always current. If there is any changes, like moving your business address, you have to inform ABR within 28 days. The quickest way to achieve this is by using ABR online services. You can ask your tax agent to do the change.
You must cancel your ABN if:
- If your business has been sold to another party.
- If your business has closed down
- If your business is no longer doing business in Australia
As you start up your business, make sure it’s following all the rules and working well by knowing what you need to do for getting and keeping your ABN. If you need professional help and ease things up, contact FastLane Group for expert advice and support.