• Applying for an ABN

    As a tax professional, you can log in to Tax professionals services with your Administrator AUSkey to apply online for an ABN for your client.

    You should ensure your client is entitled to an ABN as not everyone is entitled to one.

    Employers that require their workers to be engaged under an ABN when they're really employees are engaging in 'sham contracting' and can be penalised by the ATO, the Fair Work Ombudsman and state and territory revenue offices and workcover agencies.

    If an employer has asked a worker to get an ABN it is highly likely they're not entitled to one. Typically, workers engaged under an ABN when they're legally in an employment relationship are being underpaid and missing out on superannuation, paid sick leave and annual leave. They may also miss out on the safeguards of the Fair Work Act such as protection from unfair dismissal.

    To determine whether a worker can be engaged under an ABN you need to look at the whole working relationship. To find out if a worker should be an employee or contractor use the employee/contractor decision toolExternal Link.

    To apply for an ABN for a client you need to be their registered agent. And you'll need to complete a declaration at the end of the application stating that you:

    • are authorised to act on their behalf
    • have a written declaration from your client stating the information they provided to you is true and correct.

    Your application will be processed faster if we can identify your client with the information you provide.

    If we recently cancelled your client's ABN, you may not need to submit a new application. Call 13 92 26 to see if their ABN can be reinstated over the phone.

    Tax professionals services

    Note: You can check the ABR Dashboard for current information about ABR availability.

    If your application is successful:

    • you'll receive your client's 11-digit ABN immediately
    • you can continue and apply for other business registrations for your client, such as GST
    • your client's details will be added to the Australian Business Register (ABR)
    • a confirmation letter will be sent to you within 14 days showing your client's details on the ABR – it's then their responsibility to keep this information up to date.

    If you receive a reference number it may mean that your client's identity can't be verified 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. This means that we've determined, based on the information you provided, that your client was not entitled to an ABN.

    In this case, you'll receive a letter within 14 days confirming your application has been refused. If you or your client doesn't agree with our decision, you can contact us to discuss it. If still not satisfied, your client can lodge an objection.

    Find out more about applying for an ABN at For Business, Super funds & Charities:

    See also:

  • Last modified: 02 May 2017QC 388