• ABR integrity

    The Australian Business Register (ABR) maintains the accuracy of business information by conducting Australian business number (ABN) entitlement reviews and automatically cancelling ABNs.

    ABR integrity is an important program of work as business information is relied on by government agencies and the wider community.

    ABN entitlement reviews

    How we select a business for review

    As part of our ABN review process, we identify and cancel ABNs where we find there is no entitlement to the ABN or the business isn’t operating.

    Your business may be selected for review if it:

    • operates in a particular industry
    • has outstanding lodgments, for example, income tax returns and activity statements
    • hasn’t reported business income.

    If an employer has asked you to get an ABN in order to work, it is highly likely you are not entitled to an ABN.

    Find out more:

    If your business is selected for review

    If your business is selected for review, you will be asked to provide information to confirm your entitlement to an ABN. This information varies from case to case.

    To avoid any delays you should:

    • comply with requests for information
    • participate in the review process
    • update your ABN details within 28 days of becoming aware of any changes
    • cancel your ABN if you’re longer trading. If you later start a new business, you can easily re-apply for an ABN
    • notify the ATOExternal Link if your employer is asking you to register for an ABN and you’re not in business.

    You will be advised of the review outcome once completed.

    ABN cancellations and re-applications

    Your ABN may be cancelled if:

    • you fail to lodge income tax returns or activity statements
    • the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) advise your company is deregistered
    • you advise that you have ceased business in your latest income tax return
    • you haven't reported business income
    • you lodge a final tax return.

    If your ABN is cancelled or your ABN application is refused, you can object to the decision within 60 days.

    You can also re-apply online for an ABN should your circumstances change in the future. If your self-managed super fund ABN has been cancelled, you can call the ATO on 13 10 20 to find out whether it can be reinstated or if you require a new ABN.

    It is an offence to quote an ABN that is not your own, or to use your ABN when it is cancelled.

    • Last modified: 06 Mar 2019QC 1157