• Applying for an ABN

    You can apply for an ABN online without charge.

    Not everyone is entitled to an ABN. To get an ABN you need to be carrying on a business or other enterprise.

    For example, if you want to carry out work as a sole trader with an ABN, typically you need to be:

    • genuinely running your own business
    • paying your own income tax and GST directly to the ATO
    • sourcing your own clients by, for example, advertising your services
    • able to delegate work to others if you choose without approval from an ‘employer’
    • quoting for work, including setting or negotiating your own prices
    • invoicing for work
    • maintaining a business bank account separate from your personal account
    • paying for your own business insurance such as public liability.

    Your application will be processed faster if we can identify you from the information you provide, such as your tax file number. If you don't have all the information now, you can still start your application and save it as you go, but the issuing of your ABN is likely to be delayed.

    If you previously had an ABN that's been cancelled, and your latest application is successful:

    • you'll be re-issued with the same ABN if your business structure hasn't changed; for example, you previously had an ABN as an individual (sole trader) and you're applying again as an individual – make sure you quote your cancelled ABN in your application
    • you'll receive a new ABN if your business structure has changed; for example, from a sole trader to a partnership.
    Apply for an ABN


    Return to saved ABN application

    If your application is successful:

    • you'll receive your 11-digit ABN immediately
    • you can continue and apply for other business registrations, such as GST
    • your details will be added to the Australian Business Register (ABR) – but you can request that certain details not be disclosed if there is a risk to you or your family due to the information being available on ABN Lookup and data.gov.au
    • a confirmation letter will be sent to you within 14 days showing your details on the ABR – it's then your responsibility to keep this information up to date.

    If you receive a reference number it may mean that we need to check some details in your application or more information is needed. We aim to review your application within 20 business days and contact you if further information is needed.

    If your application is unsuccessful you'll receive a refusal number. You'll also receive a letter within 14 days confirming that your application has been refused, the reasons for the refusal and the options available to you.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Watch this video to find out more about ABNs.

  • Last modified: 17 Apr 2018QC 417