If you’re setting up a new business in Australia, you must be aware of the seemingly endless list of forms and other paperwork you need to complete.

Getting an Australian Business Number or ABN makes the entire process of setting up a business much faster and simpler.

However, before you begin the process, knowing and understanding various aspects of registering your ABN is critical.

In this post, we will cover everything about ABN, including what it is, how to get yours, and why new businesses need to prioritise it.

What is an ABN 

An Australian Business Number or ABN refers to a unique 11-digit number used to identify businesses in Australia.

If you’re an Australian business, you need an ABN to interact with the general public, other companies, and government agencies/departments, such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

ABN can be used for multiple purposes, including: 

  • To identify your business with other businesses/agencies  
  • To help you claim your goods and services tax (GST) credits 
  • To avoid pay-as-you-go tax on payments received 
  • To register your business name 
  • To register a domain name in Australia

Multiple ABNs put together from an ABR or Australian Business Register. It is a comprehensive database managed by the tax department of the Australian government.

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Who Needs an ABN 

As per the law, an ABN is a must for businesses having an annual turnover of $75,000 or more. However, all businesses should get an ABN to ensure fair tax treatment and payments in the long run.

Learn more on who can register an ABN here.

Apart from making it easier to deal with government agencies and other businesses, registering an ABN allows your business to claim fuel tax credits and GST credits. It also enables you to offer various other fringe benefits to your staff. 

RELATED: 5 Steps to Register a Business Name in Australia

How to Get an ABN 

The Australian Business Register or ABR manages the registration process for ABN. Overall, the process is quite simple and can be completed in a few minutes.

All you need to do is visit ABR’s website and process your registration online.

While there’s no cost associated with registering for an ABN from the government’s side, you may have to pay a certain fee if you use the services of a tax practitioner or any other service provider. 

If you do decide to get assistance to get an ABN, make sure to partner with a registered tax agent or BAS agent, as they’re both professionally qualified and experienced in assisting with associated tax issues.

Also, remember that only a registered agent can charge a fee for assisting you with GST registration. 

READ: How to Register for GST in Australia

Requirements to Get an ABN 

ABN registration should be done by anyone conducting business in Australia, including both physical and non-physical companies.

Apart from businesses, startups, and sole traders, freelancers need an ABN too. Registering early gives you the benefit of saving more money and time in the long run.

When getting an ABN, it makes sense to commence the process as early as possible. If you’re too close to the date when registration is due, it’s recommended to complete the application before that or else you will be charged extra by the ABR.

Below are a few of the other requirements you need to consider when registering for your ABN: 

  • To apply for an ABN, one must be a resident of Australia. 
  • One can apply for an ABN even if they don’t have a company name yet. 
  • While your business can be based anywhere across the world, you will require a representative if it’s not physically based in Australia.

How Much Time Does It Take to Get an ABN 

An ABN is generally issued as soon as you complete the registration process. However, in case of any missing information or anything that is unverified or not cross-checked, the application is processed manually and can take up to 28 days.

What’s Next Once You Have Your ABN 

Once you get your ABN, you must always keep your details up to date. If you know of any changes that need to be made, such as updating your business location, it’s your responsibility to let the ABR know within 28 days. The quick and easy way to do this is through ABR online services. 

Also, you must cancel your ABN in the following situations: 

  • If your business has been closed or sold. 
  • If you’re no longer operating in Australia or making products connected to Australia.

Your business is better off online

If you’re a new business owner in Australia, this ABN guide will definitely help you. We have covered everything you need to know about ABN, along with some useful tips to do it seamlessly. 

You can either apply for ABN yourself or hire someone to act as your representative if the company isn’t physically based in Australia. If you want to learn more about ABN, you can check the bus.gov.au website.

Meanwhile, make sure your efforts will not go to waste. Reach a wider audience, future-proof your business, and ensure growth by going online.

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