Survey results indicate that just over two million (28%) ABNs are not in use and should not be on the register. The main reason for not using the ABN was reported to be ‘used ABN for a while but enterprise no longer operating’.
The outcomes indicate that individuals (41%) and partnerships (35%) are the entity types with the highest reported levels of ABNs not being used.
A higher number of survey participants who still required their ABN were among superannuation funds (93%), companies (91%), government entities (84%) and trusts (79%).
Figure 2 ABR reported usage – Respondents were asked: ‘Are you still using your ABN?’
Responses to questions regarding the accuracy of key data fields highlight the need for us to communicate more effectively with ABN holders about the importance of updating their details on the Register and to make it easier for them to do this electronically.
The estimated accuracy of fields on the Register, based on survey responses of ABN holders, ranged from 58% (business address) to 83% (associates).
Legal/main name – 77% of all respondents indicated this field in their ABR entry was correct, with 90% of superannuation funds and 87% of government entities reporting this field to be correct.
Postal address – 66% of all respondents indicated this field in their ABR entry was correct, although this was lower for individuals at 59%.
Business address – 58% of all respondents indicated this field in their ABR entry was correct. The accuracy of the business address was lower for individuals (52%), trusts (57%) and partnerships (58%) than the other entity types.
Email address – This non-compulsory data field recorded the lowest level of correctness for all respondents at 51% (including not declaring an email address when one existed), with the lowest level reported by individuals (48%). Of those that had an email address recorded 66% indicated that the email address listed on the ABR was correct.
Business/industry activity – Overall, the level of accuracy of the ‘Business/industry activity’ field was 63%, with higher levels of accuracy reported by superannuation funds (90%) and government entities (81%).
Associates – Respondents representing partnerships, trusts, companies and superannuation funds were asked to confirm the details of up to six associate(s) listed on the Register. Overall, the level of accuracy of the ‘Associates’ field was the highest of all ABR data fields at 83% (defined as all associates checked with the respondent being confirmed as correct at the time of the survey). The estimated level of accuracy for this field was higher for superannuation funds (91%) than for partnerships (80%), companies (82%) and trusts (83%).
Figure 3 Accuracy of key data fields – Survey 19