ABN important facts

Have you ever wondered what an Australian business number (ABN) can and can’t do?

To help you better understand ABNs and tell fact from fiction, we've put together a short video series on a range of ABN topics.

On this page:

ABNs and the tax free threshold

Most people who have an ABN are required to lodge an annual income tax return. This is regardless of whether the business is reporting a profit or loss and above or below the tax-free threshold.

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ABN Entitlement

Not everyone is entitled to an ABN – you must be running a business. You are also responsible for your own income tax, superannuation and GST(if applicable).

To check if you are entitled to an ABN, go to abr.gov.au and use the entitlement tool.

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Updating your ABN

It's your responsibility to maintain your ABN details. You must update your details within 28 days of becoming aware of changes.

Updating your ABN details will ensure:

  • the right people have the right permissions to act on behalf of a business
  • government agencies have current information – for example, if emergency services need to contact businesses during a natural disaster
  • you are ready for new government services when they become available.

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ABNs for life

Your ABN is for life. You are only entitled to an ABN while you’re running an enterprise. We periodically check to make sure you are still running an enterprise. The best way to prove that to us is by keeping your tax returns and activity statement lodgments up to date.

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Cancelling ABNs

Before you cancel your ABN, make sure you lodge any outstanding income tax returns and activity statements, and meet your payment obligations, including Single Touch Payroll.

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Cancelling business obligations and ABNs

If you’re no longer running a business and you cancel GST, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding or other registrations, you will still need to cancel your ABN.

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ABNs before GST

You may still need an ABN even if you earn below the GST threshold of $75,000.

ABNs and agents help

Tax agents can help their clients apply for an ABN by using the Tax Agent Portal.

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