Happy 20th birthday to the ABN!

While Australian business numbers (ABNs) are commonplace now, there was a time when they didn't exist.

In July 1999, the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 introduced a new business identifier – the ABN.

The ABN was to be, among other things, the public registration number for the goods and services tax (GST). The legislation also provided for the establishment of the Australian Business Register (ABR) and for the appointment of the Commissioner of Taxation as the Registrar of the ABR.

A lot has changed since 1999. Fast forward to 2019, and we’ve come a long way! We now receive 99% of ABN applications electronically, and have over 1.1 billion searches a year on ABN Lookup.

We also have approximately 8 million businesses with ABNs, and more than 570 government agencies using our data to support the community. These agencies identify businesses that may be entitled to grants or subsidies, or let them know about tender opportunities.

We know that registering an ABN is at the start of your businesses journey. It’s vitally important to us that we continue to work together with you to make sure that we can provide the best registration experience possible.

Stay tuned for more on what the next 20 years looks like for ABNs. Happy birthday ABN, and may there be many more to come!

Last modified
12 Mar 2020