Transform the way you do business

The Australian Business Register (ABR) makes it easier to interact with your clients

Eligible government agencies can get 24/7 access to:

  • free, up-to-date business identity information on all Australian business numbers (ABNs)
  • easy integration into agency systems
  • our client service program – to help maximise your data benefits.

Transform the way you do business

Access to ABR data can make it easier for you to achieve your program goals. Common uses of the data include:

  • service delivery – validate client information in real time and pre-fill online forms
  • procurement – validate supplier ABNs and identify local suppliers and tradespeople
  • planning and economic development – identify and plan for growth in the community
  • licensing businesses – validate business details, risk profiling and plan site visits
  • disaster management – identifying businesses that have been affected by a natural disaster.

Streamline your business processes

Over 500 government agencies can access the full range of ABR data.

In 2014-15 approximately 700,000 ABNs were registered.

Every 39 seconds a new business is registered.

Information you can rely on

You can rely on ABR information because we:

  • incorporate real time identity checks
  • conduct real time validation of mobile phone numbers and email addresses
  • prevent, detect and remove ineligible ABN registrations
  • cross-check and validate selected company data with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • partner with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to review industry coding data
  • conduct annual surveys to measure the accuracy of ABR data.

Benefits to your agency

  • Removes the need for your agency to collect and maintain certain information.
  • Gives you an understanding of your client base.
  • Spend more time serving your community and less time managing a business database.

For convenience, you can look up the status of an ABN before doing business.

ABN Lookup service is in the top 10 ‘most visited’ government websites in Australia. Over 500 million business searches will be made in 2016.

How to start accessing ABR data

There are three simple steps:

1. Talk to us about how your agency wants to use ABR data.

2. Submit a terms and conditions form, signed by your agency head.

3. Choose how you would like to access the ABR information – ABR Explorer, ABR data extract, ABR web services.

Access the full range of ABR data in just three simple steps

An ABN gives you access to a range of public and non-public data.

Public data available


A unique 11 digit identifier issued to entities registered in the ABR

ABN status

Active or cancelled – the date the ABN was registered or cancelled.

Entity name

The name of the entity that appears on official documents or legal papers

Entity type

A description of the entity – for example, partnership, sole trader, company

Goods and services tax (GST) status

The date the GST registration became effective or was cancelled

Main business location

The state/territory and postcode of the main business location

Registered business names

The registered business names for the entity

Tax concessions for charities and funds, Deductible gift recipient (DGR) status
and ACNC

Includes the charity or fund type, the type of concession and the date when it became active or inactive

Includes the DGR fund name and the date when the DGR status became active or inactive

A DGR is a fund or organisation that can receive tax deductible gift recipients


The Australian Company Number (ACN), the Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN), or the Australian Registered Scheme Number (ARSN)

Returned mail indicator

An indicator to advise addresses of entities whose mail has been returned as unclaimed or undeliverable

Authorised contact details

The details of persons authorised to act on behalf of the business in the ABR

Non-public data available

Service of notice address

The Australian postal address for the entity


Delivery Point Identifier is a unique barcode assigned to most street addresses in Australia

The barcode allows sorting machines within Australia Post to quickly and accurately read addresses on envelopes

Business address

The main business (street) address within Australia

Latitude and longitude

Coordinates that indicate the geographical location

Mesh block

The smallest geographical area as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Mesh blocks were designed with standard criteria and assist with comparing areas

Business locations

Branch/office location details

Industry code
and description

The type of industry the business or organisation operates in, as described by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC)

Associate details

Names of associates – for example, public officers, directors, partners or trustees – associated with the entity

Contact details

The email address and phone numbers (including Australian mobile number)

How current agencies are using ABR data

Growing the economy

Sutherland Shire Council used ABR data to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

The council used email addresses to survey home-based businesses about their needs and to ensure they were getting the help they needed to grow and succeed.

The council said email provided a low cost option for dealing with clients and allowed recipients to respond easily and quickly.

Through the survey, business owners could choose the support and services they needed to help take their business to the next level including workshops, seminars and coaching sessions.

Community services

Auburn City Council used ABR data to scope and target transport for disadvantaged workers in the region.

Using industry codes and address details, the council approached large employers operating multiple work shifts in the most disadvantaged areas, to gauge the possible need for transport assistance amongst their employees.

Concurrently, Auburn used the data to identify potential project partners – both within the transport industry and from licensed clubs or sports and recreation clubs where privately-owned minibuses may be available during club downtimes.

ABR data has helped many local government agencies deliver better community services and support businesses to grow and succeed.

Having ABNs embedded into your systems and processes makes it easier for you to identify businesses.

Land use

Bass Coast Shire Council in Victoria used ABR data to identify and contact over 1,000 agricultural businesses in the area, to survey their views about rural land use including agricultural tourism, food production and protection of natural assets.

The responses were used to develop a rural land use strategy for the shire that supported long-term economic and social changes consistent with government policies and plans.

The council said ABR data provided an extra layer of information about businesses, allowing them to establish the numbers and types of business by industry segments.

Managing a biological hazard

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPIF) Northern Territory used ABR data to help contain an outbreak of a fungal disease which was threatening the NT banana industry.

ABR industry coding and location data allowed DPIF to determine the scope of the problem and identify and contact businesses connected with the banana industry. These actions ensured the disease did not spread to larger commercial banana growing regions in Australia.

By enabling you to identify business types, ABR data can be used to assist development of land use strategies.

Disaster response

When bushfires hit Sampson Flat in South Australia in January 2015, the Registrar provided data to government agencies to support their disaster response and recovery efforts. ABR information was used across all levels of government to provide intelligence about the businesses in and around the disaster area.

At the height of the response, the South Australian Country Fire Services (CFS) used ABR data for risk analysis to identify and map businesses in the areas around the fire front that may have hazardous materials.

Emergency Management Australia also used the data to help identify the industries likely to be impacted by bushfires within the affected areas.


Inspectors from the New South Wales Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) have an extensive program of workplace visits they conduct across the state every year.

OIR inspectors use ABR information in planning their visits. They identify specific types of businesses within an area by combining industry coding data with business addresses.

OIR inspectors can request an up-to-date list of businesses in a region, suburb or street, allowing them to plan their programs more effectively. They also use the GST registration date to identify new businesses for field inspections. Businesses registering for GST are more likely to be active and, if their turnover is greater than $75,000, they are more likely to be employing staff.

Improved data and greater accuracy assists with compliance and disaster recovery

About six million addresses or 85% of ABR data has been geocoded.

Service delivery

Centrelink have streamlined the way customers report income through their automated reporting service by using their ABN as their key business identifier.

Centrelink's Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service asks the customer a series of questions about their employment income including the name of their employer.

If the employer is not listed against the customer’s record:

  • the IVR asks the caller to provide the ABN of the new employer by verbally quoting the ABN or keying in the number using the telephone keypad
  • the system first checks whether the ABN is valid, then retrieves details of the ABN in real time
  • the IVR confirms with the caller the correct employer has been matched.

If correct, the employer is added to the customer’s record for the next fortnight.

Centrelink said the IVR service automates the reports of more than 100,000 callers per fortnight, which makes it the most used of all Centrelink’s self-help services.

Using ABR as own register

The Queensland Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games (DTESB) manages the Business and Industry Portal (BIP) as a franchise of the Queensland Government’s One Stop Shop Strategy.

DTESB are using ABR data to support its interaction with businesses. This includes using ABR data to identify small businesses and provide access to services to support growth and improve productivity.

ABR data can help with administering accounts, procurement and reporting, and reducing operating costs

To find out more:

© Australian Taxation Office for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2016

You are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute this material as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the Australian Taxation Office or the Australian Government endorses you or any of your services or products).

Published by ABR, Canberra. April 2016 / JS36684D

NAT 74839-04.2016

Last modified
19 Feb 2019