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The Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit identifier issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is operated by the
Australian Taxation Office The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is an Australian statutory agency and the principal revenue collection body for the Australian Government. The ATO has responsibility for administering the Taxation in Australia, Australian federal taxation sy ...
(ATO). The ABN was introduced on 1 July 2000 by
John Howard John Winston Howard (born 26 July 1939) is an Australian former politician who served as the 25th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or s ...

John Howard
's
Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
government as part of a major tax reform, which included the introduction of a GST. The law requires each entity that carries on a business in Australia has an ABN and that the ABN appear on each tax invoice and other tax related documents issued by the entity.


Australian Business Register

The Australian Business Register (ABR) is maintained by the Registrar of the ABR, who is also the Commissioner of Taxation. The Registrar registers entities, issuing them with an ABN, while the Commissioner of Taxation issues the entity a
tax file number A tax file number (TFN) is a unique identifier issued by the Australian Taxation Office The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is an Australian statutory agency and the principal revenue collection body for the Australian Government. The ATO has res ...
.


Entitlement to an ABN

The Registrar issues ABNs only to entities that are entitled to an ABN, which can be: * an individual, * a body corporate, * a corporation sole, * a body politic, * a partnership, * any other unincorporated association or body of persons, * a trust, or * a superannuation fund. For an entity to be entitled to an ABN, it must: * carry on an enterprise in Australia, or * carry on an enterprise that makes supplies connected with Australia, or * be a company registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Whether or not an entity is carrying on an enterprise is a question of fact and there are many circumstances where an entity will be carrying on an enterprise. Without being exhaustive, an entity will be carrying on an enterprise if it: * is in the form of a business, * leases property, * is a religious institution, * is a superannuation fund, * is an arm of the government, or * is a charity. The Registrar can refuse an entity's application to be registered. Equally, the Registrar can cancel an entity's registration and thus their ABN. Each of these decisions are
reviewable taxation decisionsThe decisions of by Australia's Commissioner of Taxation broadly fall into two categories: reviewable and non-reviewable. Reviewable decisions may be objected against first through an administrative process.Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Ac ...
.


Applying for an ABN

An entity can apply for an ABN: * online through the Australian Business Register portal, * using the services of a registered tax agent, or * lodging a paper-based application with the ATO. Before applying for an ABN the entity must have a
tax file number A tax file number (TFN) is a unique identifier issued by the Australian Taxation Office The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is an Australian statutory agency and the principal revenue collection body for the Australian Government. The ATO has res ...
(TFN).


Format of the ABN

The ABN is an 11-digit number where the first two digits are a
checksum A checksum is a small-sized Block (data storage), block of data derived from another block of digital data for the purpose of error detection, detecting errors that may have been introduced during its telecommunication, transmission or computer ...

checksum
. Unlike with the
tax file number A tax file number (TFN) is a unique identifier issued by the Australian Taxation Office The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is an Australian statutory agency and the principal revenue collection body for the Australian Government. The ATO has res ...
(TFN), the ATO has publicised the formula for checking and creating valid ABN checksums. Also, the nature of the ABN algorithm means that any 9-digit number can be made into a valid ABN. In the case of companies, the ATO determines the ABN by using the company's
Australian Company Number An Australian Company Number (usually shortened to ACN) is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent commission of t ...
(ACN) to which the two-digit checksum is prefixed.


See also

*
Australian Company Number An Australian Company Number (usually shortened to ACN) is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent commission of t ...
*
Taxation in Australia Income taxes An income tax is a tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is ...
*
List of company registers This is a list of official business registers around the world. There are many types of official business registers, usually maintained for various purposes by a state authority, such as a government agency, or a court of law A court is ...


References

{{Reflist


External links


Australian Business Register
*
ABN Information

ABN Lookup

Formula of the ABN
National identification numbers Taxation in Australia 2000 establishments in Australia