An ABN is short for Australian Business Number, which is a unique identifier given to a business. It is an 11-digit number that identifies your business to the government and community.
When do I need an ABN?
If you are running a business, then you need an ABN. If you are also expecting to earn $75,000 or over, then you can register for GST at the same time.
Who is entitled to an ABN?
To register for an ABN for your business, you must be:
- Starting a new enterprise within Australia or continuing carrying on an existing business, or
- A Corporations Act company.
‘Carrying on a business’ doesn’t have a set meaning, but there are factors that indicate a business activity:
- intention to make a profit with a plan for the business (not just a hobby);
- commercial sales of products and/or services of a reasonable size;
- it is repeated, organised and you keep records;
- other business in the industry are carried on in a similar way.
The main benefits are that:
- Your business will comply with tax and legal requirements.
- Your business is easily identifiable to other businesses when ordering and receiving inventory.
- You don’t have to wait for the money that is received from other businesses to clear through the PAYG system – it is available to you sooner.
How to apply for an ABN
You can apply for an ABN for your business on the Australian Business Register website. It is free to register using this site.
You will be asked some questions regarding your eligibility before being able to register for an ABN.
If you do not know if you are eligible, then it is advisable to seek professional advice from a Registered Tax Agent or BAS Agent prior to filling out the forms online. These professionals will charge a fee for their services.