We have been asked on numerous occasions how to register for an ABN and we have even come across business owners who have googled the ‘how to’ and paid $99.00 and upwards for some organisation to complete this very simple task. Be aware that you may never receive what you paid for!!
Firstly the correct link will always be found on the ATO website. For your convenience, you can click here.
Follow these steps
Click on the yellow button that says “Apply or reapply for an ABN”.
Please note that if you have operated on an ABN in the past then have this number on hand as you will be asked for it when completing the application.
- Tick the box on the first page to agree to the conditions and hit ‘next’
- Tick the box with your chosen entity status e.g. sole trader, company etc
- From here you will be asked a series of questions such as;
- Will your activities be carried out in Australia?
- Have you started or are you taking steps to start your activity?
- What is the nature of your activity? YOU MUST SELECT THE CORRECT OPTION HERE! If you are legitimately starting a new business then select the option ‘’In the form of a business’’
- Are you doing things that are consistent with running a business?
You will then click ‘’next’’ and be directed to the next set of questions and this is where you will be asked if you have previously had an ABN. If you select ‘’yes’’ then you will be asked to provide it. If the answer is ‘’no’’ then you leave the box blank.
- Does the applicant wish to apply or reapply for an Australian Business Number (ABN)? YES
- Does the applicant have a Tax File Number? YES (assuming you have a TFN)
- Does the applicant wish to apply for a Tax File Number? NO
- Is the applicant an Australian resident for tax purposes?
- If the applicant uses, or intends to use the services of a tax agent, what is the tax agent’s registration number? (It is not necessary to put anything here)
Hit ‘’next’’ and you will be asked to enter your details such as name, date of birth and Tax File Number (TFN)
Once you have completed this step then again hit ‘’next’’ and you will be asked;
- From what date does the Individual/Sole Trader require its ABN? Input the date that you actually started trading
- If you intend for this business activity to be less than 3 months, on what date do you expect to cease business? You can leave this blank unless you actually are only planning on being in business for less than 3 months!
- Describe the Individual/Sole Trader’s main business activity e.g Plumber, Electrician, Bookkeeper
- Select the category which best matches the Individual/Sole Trader’s main business activity Select from the drop down box e.g Contract Electrician
- Does the Individual/Sole Trader operate an agricultural property? I am assuming this will be a NO
Hit ‘’next’’ and complete the application. You will need to provide an email address also.
Once completed you should immediately be provided with an ABN. If this does not occur then it is possible that your application has been rejected for some reason.
If you wish to register for GST you can do so by following the instructions on the last page. Please remember that if your annual income is going to be $75,000 or more then you MUST register for GST.
Tip to remember. If you are operating under a business name other than your own name then you must register your business with ASIC.
Editor’s note: This blog post has been updated in line with current best practices. It was first published on October 6th, 2020.