• ABN entitlement

    When applying for an Australian business number (ABN) online you will be asked to provide details about your entity type or business structure, activities and identity. Your answers will help determine if you are entitled to an ABN.


    Apprentices, trade assistants, labourers and other types of employees are not entitled to an ABN. Find out how the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) distinguishes between an employee and a contractorExternal Link for tax purposes.

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    Entitlement criteria

    Although everybody can apply, only those entitled will get an ABN. To get an ABN:

    • you must be able to demonstrate that your business structure is in place
    • you must also:
      • be carrying on an enterprise in Australia or
      • in the course of carrying on an enterprise make supplies connected with Australia or
      • have undertaken sufficient activities to commence an enterprise.
    Further information

    Read about business structures as they relate to entitlement to an ABN

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    What carrying on an enterprise means

    An enterprise includes activities done in the form of a business. The following may help you understand if your activities are done in the form of a business:

    • you have undertaken significant commercial activity and there is an intention to make a profit from the activity
    • the activity isn’t a hobby
    • there is a repetition of similar type activities on a regular basis
    • the activities are similar to other businesses in the chosen industry
    • a business plan exists and the activity is systematic, organised and carried on in a businesslike manner and records are kept.

    If you cease carrying on your business you should cancel your ABN

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    What commencement activities are

    You must be able to demonstrate more than an intention to commence an enterprise. Commencement activities could include:

    • consulting with financial or business advisors
    • completing a business plan and/or financial projections
    • applying for finance
    • conducting feasibility studies
    • leasing or purchasing premises or equipment for the business
    • obtaining licences to operate
    • advertising your business.

    Check ABN entitlement

    You can check your ABN entitlement as many times as you need to before starting your ABN application.

    If you apply for an ABN after completing the questions the answers will transfer to the application so that you don't have to answer them again.

    Check ABN Entitlement
    • Last modified: 22 Apr 2015QC 332