• Are you being asked to apply for an ABN?

    8 April 2015 - If you have been looking for work for a while, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to a job when you are offered one. But what if you are told you have to have an ABN to get the job?

    If you aren’t in business and don’t have an ABN, what do you do now? If you are being asked to apply for an ABN you need to find out if you are entitled to one. To be entitled you must be able to prove you are carrying on an enterprise.

    Further information

    Here's a scenario that may help you

    Leigh has been out of the workforce for a while but is ready to start work again. He finds a job that looks like a good fit for him but the company wants him to get an ABN first. 

    Leigh thinks ‘why not?’ He does some research to find out how to apply for an ABN.  He starts the ABN application and the first couple of questions seem pretty straightforward. But then he is asked if he has done anything to show a commitment to starting an enterprise.

    Unsure of the answer he presses the ‘Help’ icon which lists things that you might do if you are starting a business—for instance:

    • 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 any relevant licences to operate
    • registering a patent/copyright
    • advertising your business

    Leigh knows that he hasn’t done any of those things because he didn’t think he was in business—he was just looking for a job. So he answers ‘no’ to the question. The ABN application gives him a message saying he is not entitled to an ABN.

    Leigh is not worried because he now understands that if you get an ABN, it means that you’re in business. Leigh gets in touch with the company and declines the job.

    There was great news for Leigh as he was hired as an employee just a week later.

    End of further information

    Find out more

    Read more about ABN entitlement.

    End of find out more
    • Last modified: 16 Apr 2015QC 913