An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and community.

An ABN doesn’t replace your tax file number, but it is used for various tax and other business purposes. If you are running a business you will need an ABN.

You can apply for an ABN for free at any time through the Australian Business Register website.

abn how to apply

Do I need an ABN?

Not everyone needs an ABN. To get one you need to be carrying on an enterprise.

If you apply for an ABN and you’re not entitled, your application may be refused. You’ll be sent a letter explaining why.

With an ABN you can:

  • confirm your business identity to others when ordering and invoicing
  • avoid Pay as You Go (PAYG) tax on payments you receive
  • claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) credits
  • claim energy grants credits
  • obtain an Australian domain name.

For more information about your entitlement to an ABN visit the Australian Business Register (ABR) website.

How do I apply for an ABN?

Applying for an ABN is free.

To apply for an ABN online, visit the Australian Business Register website.

Fill out the online form with all of the required details. You will need your tax file number, entity legal name, contact details, business activity and locations, as well as some other information depending on your business circumstances.

If you are successful in applying for an ABN, you will receive it almost instantly. In some circumstances they may need to check your details before issuing you with an ABN.

Does it cost money to register an ABN?

No, it doesn’t cost any money to register an ABN through the Australian Business Register website.

If you are on a website that is asking you for money to register an ABN, you may be on a third party website that is registering on your behalf or you might also be on a scam website. You do not need to pay any money to register an Australian Business Number.

Do I need to register an ABN and a business name separately?

You can register for a business name at the same time as your ABN application. If you choose not to register for both at the same time you will need to go to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to register your business name. You can do this after you get your ABN.

Business names are administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

As your registered business name may sometimes be referred to as an Australian business name or trading name, it’s important to understand the difference between your Australian Business Number (ABN) and your registered business name. Visit our register your business name page for more information.

You can check business names already in use with the ASIC website search function. It may also be useful to check for trademarks of the business name you are thinking of using.

I want to register a company. Do I apply for an Australian Company Number (ACN) or an ABN first?

You will need to register your ACN first, then your ABN.

For information on applying for an ACN and to download an application form, visit How to register a company on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website.

How long does it take to get an ABN?

If you provide all the required information when applying online , you’ll receive an online notification of your ABN immediately after completing your application.

If your identity cannot be confirmed, or more information is needed, the ABR will review your application within 20 business days. They may contact you if they need more information.

My business details have changed. Who do I need to inform?

You must inform the ABR within 28 days of becoming aware of any changes to your ABN registration details. Please note that if you change your business structure you may also be required to register a new ABN.

When you make changes to your business, you may also need to change your business name details. To do this, you must inform the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

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