The Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit identifying number businesses use when dealing with other businesses.
For example, you generally need to put your ABN on your invoices or other documents relating to sales you make. If you don't, other businesses may withhold 46.5% from any payment to you.
You also need an ABN in certain dealings with the Australian Tax Office and other areas of government.
Registering for an ABN is not compulsory but you will need one to register for the GST. Your ABN allows you to:
- facilitate a single business activity statement
- confirm your business identity to others when ordering and invoicing
- avoid PAYG tax on payments you receive
- claim GST credits
- claim energy grants credits
- obtain an Australian domain name.
Apply for an ABN
You can apply for an ABN in one of three ways:
- online through the Australian Business Register website of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
- through a tax agent, who will lodge your application electronically
- on paper - the ATO's website has downloadable forms for sole traders, companies, partnerships and trusts.
A complete introduction to the ABN - Australian Taxation Office