How to Register or Create an ABN (Australian Business Number)

Applying for an ABN

Registering Your ABN!

Australians looking to start a business or other commercial enterprise will require an Australian Business Number. An ABN is a unique eleven digit number provided by the government to identify your business. It is free to apply for an ABN via the Australian Government Register. There are also services from tax practitioners and other specialist companies to assist should you want professional help. These services generally have a fee attached to them.

Who Needs an ABN

There are essentially four main trading classifications for needing an ABN.

  • ABN for Individuals: For sole traders working for themselves.
  • ABN for Company: For those who have registered a company with ASIC and need a ABN.
  • ABN for Partnerships: For a general partnership with two or more people.
  • ABN for Trusts: For trusts carrying on an enterprise (activities delivered in the form of business)

Business that have an annual turnover less than $75,000 may choose not to apply for an ABN. If invoicing a client without an ABN, the business paying the invoice by law is required to withhold tax from your payment at the highest tax rate and forward it to the tax office. Trading without an ABN comes with many limitations, learn about benefits below.

Benefits of an ABN

Registering an ABN allows you access to multiple benefits to take advantage of.

+ Claim goods & services tax credits (GST)
+ Access different tax deductions
+ Avoid pay as you go tax
+ Access energy grant credits
+ Ability to register an ( domain for your business
+ When invoicing or purchasing, correctly identify your business to others
+ Allow customers to search out your company as a registered business

What’s needed for registering an ABN

To register your ABN, depending on your situation – you’ll need the following information:

  • Proof of identity
  • The reason you are applying for an ABN
  • The date you require the ABN to be effective on (the date can’t be more than 6 months into the future)
  • Your Tax File Number (TFN) along with partners, directors & trustees if applicable.
  • Where your business is located (all locations)
  • Details of any officeholders in your business (partners, directors & trustees)
  • What industry your business will operate in (the main source of income)
  • What activities your business will provide
  • Disclose if you have previously held an ABN

ABN finance to grow your business

Often many new businesses require start-up capital which is generally hard to come by for unestablished businesses. Most lenders categorise new businesses as risky. However, there are immediate options available for certain circumstances and in other situations many lenders require at least 6 months of solid trading to be considered for finance.

If your business needs or will need finance, learn about different ABN loan options to access the cash you need to grow your business.

FAQs for registering an ABN

How much does it cost to setup an ABN?
Registering an ABN can be done by yourself for free. There are however specialist companies and tax practitioners such as an accountant that can help for a fee.

How do I register an ABN?
Once you have established that you are entitled to an ABN. You can either hire a specialist company to assist in creating your ABN or do it yourself via the Australian Government Register site.

Can anyone have an ABN number?
Not everyone is entitled to an ABN number. Those who participate in business activities are eligible. As an example, ongoing commercial sales of a product or service.

How long does it take to get an ABN?
The actual application can be completed online in 15 to 30 minutes. Once an application is submitted it can take between 14 and 28 days to receive an outcome.