ABR integrity

We regularly check if Australian business number (ABN) holders are still entitled to have an ABN and review inactive ABNs for cancellation.

Government agencies, emergency services and the wider community rely on current ABR information.

We ensure the accuracy of our information by:

  • checking applicants are entitled to an ABN
  • cancelling inactive ABNs.

On this page

ABN cancellation program

Our cancellation program aims to identify and cancel ABNs where we're confident the ABN is not actively in use.

We’ll cancel your ABN if Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) advise your company is deregistered.

Your ABN may be selected for review and cancelled if:

  • you haven't reported business income
  • your lodgments aren't up to date, indicating that the business is no longer operating
  • you advise that you have stopped business in your latest income tax return
  • you lodge a final tax return.

What you need to do

If we intend to cancel your ABN, we’ll contact you or your agent by letter, email or SMS.

To stop your ABN being cancelled, you need to contact us using the automated phone service provided in our communication to you. This is the fastest way to respond, other methods of contacting us may not be received in time and can result in the ABN being cancelled.

If we contact you and you’re no longer operating your business, you don’t need to do anything. We’ll cancel your ABN.

We’ll never ask you to provide confidential details in our communications. For information about how and why we may contact you, check our communication to ABN holders.

ABN entitlement checks

We conduct reviews on a regular basis to confirm businesses are entitled to an ABN. These entitlement checks are random and may happen when you apply or after your ABN has been issued.

You may be selected for an ABN entitlement review if:

  • there are indicators on your tax return, other lodgments, or other third-party information that indicate you are no longer operating a business
  • you’ve reapplied for an ABN after we've refused or cancelled it.

If you’re selected for review

We’ll contact you and ask you to provide information to confirm your entitlement to an ABN.

You’ll need to provide evidence that you’re operating your business or have started your enterprise from the date provided in your application. This includes evidence that you’ve undertaken some of the following activities:

  • advertising and setting up a social media account or a website for the business
  • purchasing business cards or stationery for the business
  • obtaining business licences or insurance to operate (such as public liability and professional indemnity)
  • leasing or purchasing premises, equipment or stock for the business
  • issuing quotes or bidding for work
  • consulting with financial, business or tax advisers
  • applying for finance
  • buying a business.

We’ll let you know the outcome of the review, and your rights if you’re not satisfied with our decision.

ABN has been cancelled or refused

If we’ve cancelled or refused your ABN and you don’t agree with our decision, you can:

  • reapply online
  • lodge an objection.

If your self-managed super fund ABN has been cancelled, you can phone the ATO on 13 10 20 to find out whether it can be reinstated or if you require a new ABN.

It’s an offence to quote an ABN that isn’t your own, or to use your ABN when it has been cancelled.

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