If you are an Australian citizen or a business owner in Australia, you may be aware of what an Australian Business Number (ABN) is. The ABN was introduced by the then Prime Minister, John Howard on July 1, 2000, and since then, has become an integral part of the Australian business ecosystem.

This blog sheds light on ABN cancellation, the steps involved in the process, and various instances in which you aren’t eligible for ABN cancellation. But before we get into the details, let’s understand what we mean by ABN.


What is ABN?


ABN stands for ‘Australian Business Number’. It is a unique 11-digit number issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) which serves as a digital ID for Australian businesses.

Every business in Australia must have an ABN. Additionally, every tax invoice and tax-related document issued by a business must include its unique ABN.


Step-by-Step Guide to Cancel Your ABN


Now that we know what an ABN is, let’s understand how to cancel your ABN. Yes, you may need to opt for ABN cancellation due to different reasons which we will explore later in the blog.

You are in luck if you are looking for a detailed guide on how to cancel your ABN.

Let’s dive straight into it.


1. Gather Necessary Information

You will need all the important information related to your business if you wish to cancel your ABN online. Here are a few must-haves without which, cancelling your ABN online can be challenging.

  • Business Details

You should have all the important business details during ABN cancellation to save time and ensure a smooth process.


These include:

  • Tax file number (TFN)
  • Australian company number
  • Entity legal name
  • Authorised contacts
  • Business Location
  • Business activity
  • Business Type
  • Business contact details
  • Contact Information


Businesses are required to submit the names of all authorised contacts, official email addresses, phone numbers, and other relevant contact information while cancelling their ABN.

  • Documentation

All businesses looking to cancel their ABN online must have all the important documents in place. Timely and transparent documentation ensures that the entire process is smooth, reducing delays and complications during ABN cancellation.


2.Fulfil Any Outstanding Obligations


After taking a calculated and bold step to cancel ABN online, you need to ensure you fulfil some mandatory requirements and clearing your outstanding obligations is one of them.

Your ABN is not just a unique number, but a vital link between your business entity and government agencies including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It is also worth noting that when you decide to cancel ABN in Australia, you are shutting this channel of communication between the two parties.

Therefore it is essential to close all pending and outstanding obligations with the government. These include:

  • Lodging activity statements
  • Paying tax dues
  • Paying GST
  • Filing income tax returns
  • Closing PayG account

Failure to settle any of these outstanding matters may result in severe consequences.


3.Log in to the Australian Business Register (ABR)


Once you have gathered all the important information and have all your documents in place, you need to log in to the Australian Business Register website.


4.Click on “Cancel your ABN”


Find and click on the yellow “cancel your ABN” button.


5.Log in to your myGOV ID Account


After clicking the “cancel your ABN” in the previous step, you will be redirected to the government’s myGOV ID website. You can either download the myGOV ID app on your Android or iPhone or log into your account from a laptop or desktop.


6.Provide Cancellation Details


Now, you need to enter all the cancellation details to proceed to the next step.


7.Confirm Cancellation Details


Confirm your cancellation details before you proceed. It is critical to ensure that all the details are entered correctly for frictionless ABN cancellation.


7.Review and Submit


Review all the documentation, business details, cancellation details, and other information you have entered. Click on submit once you review all the entered details.


8.Confirmation of Cancellation


At this stage, you need to confirm whether you are sure about cancelling your ABN. Click confirm to cancel ABN online.


Why Would You Need to Cancel Your ABN?


As a business owner, you are well aware of the pitfalls that come along with setting up a new business. Things can go downhill unexpectedly, you may have to shift base due to unforeseen circumstances, and more.

Additionally, you may need to tweak a few things internally to adapt to the evolving market conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to align your ABN with any operational and structural changes.

Let’s explore why you would need to cancel your ABN.

  • Closing Your Business

We understand that closing your business is never easy. It is a calculative decision you make with a pinch of salt. That said, you must cancel your ABN within 28 days after closing your business.

  • Change in Business Structure

You must cancel your ABN online or offline if you change your business structure. This is required to ensure your ABN details reflect the nature of your business and whether it complies with the regulatory requirements.

  • No Longer Carrying on an Enterprise

ABN cancellation is required if you decide to shut down operations or carry on with your business outside Australia.

  • Merging or Acquiring Another Business Entity

You will need a new ABN if you enter a merger with or acquire a new business. Therefore, you must cancel your previous ABN during such scenarios.

  • Incorrect ABN Registration

You must cancel your ABN if your ABN was incorrectly registered.

  • Legal Requirements

You may have to cancel your ABN if you do not meet the legal requirements. This is an important step to maintain accurate records.

  • Loss of Eligibility

Please note that you must opt for ABN cancellation if your business does not fit the eligibility criteria once it ceases operations or stops dealing with Australia’s indirect tax zone.




We hope this blog answered your primary question; how to deactivate an ABN or how to cancel an ABN online. It is worth noting that the fastest way to cancel your ABN is via the myGOV ID app or website. It is typically a hassle-free process provided you fulfil all the requirements mentioned in this article. It is important to cancel your ABN when your business stops operations or undergoes a structural overhaul to comply with tax regulations and mandatory obligations.




Who needs ABN?


All businesses with an annual and GST turnover of more than $75,000 need an ABN. Additionally, you also need an ABN when business entities you are dealing with require you to have one.


Do ABN holders pay tax?


Yes, almost all ABN holders are required to file an annual income tax return.


How long does it take to cancel an ABN?


It could take around 28 days to cancel an ABN.


Do I get a refund if I cancel my business registration?


No, businesses are not entitled to a refund if they cancel their business registration.


Can ABN be cancelled automatically?


An ABN is automatically cancelled only when the concerned authorities deem a business inactive or if they are confident that an ABN is no longer used.