What is an ABN?
The Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit number issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) to identify your business or organisation to the government and the community. ABNs add legitimacy to businesses and come with various tax benefits. An ABN is also used by the lending companies in Australia to verify the existence of a business and it’s financial stability in processing ABN loans applications.
How to register or apply for an ABN?
First, you should have decided on the right structure for your business. Your business structure determines your tax liabilities, potential personal liability, ongoing costs, and the volume of required paperwork, among other things. The most common business structures in Australia are the following:
- Sole trader – A sole trader is the simplest form of business structure and is easy and inexpensive to set up. As a sole trader, you will be legally responsible for all aspects of the business. You will make all the decisions about starting and running your business and employing people.
- Partnership – A partnership involves two or more people (up to 20) going into business together to make a profit. In Western Australia, partnerships are governed by the Partnership Act 1895.
- Company – A company can either be a private (proprietary) or public entity. A registered company must have at least one director and a company secretary, unless it is private. A director is responsible for managing the company’s business activities. For an entity to become a company, it must be incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 and registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
- Trust – A trust is a structure where a trustee carries out the business on behalf of the trust’s members or beneficiaries. A trust is not a separate legal entity.
The ABR will identify you based on the information you’ll provide, such as your tax file number (TFN). Make sure to prepare all necessary information to avoid delays in your application and the issuance of your ABN. No need to worry if you don’t have all the information yet. You can still start the ABN application and save it as you go.
Non-residents (businesses outside Australia) may be entitled to an ABN if they are starting or carrying on a business in Australia or making supplies connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone.
What you need for your ABN application
To complete your ABN application, you’ll need the following:
- Tax file number (TFN) and the TFNs of any associates (partners, directors and trustees)
- Previously held ABN
- Tax agent registration number
- Professional advisor number – if you’re using the services of a professional advisor, you can provide their licence number such as Australian Financial Services licence (AFS licence)
- Australian company number (ACN) or Australian registered body number (ARBN). Companies and registrable organisations can register for an ACN or ARBN through the ASIC.
- Date your ABN is required – this should be the date that you expect to start any business activities. It can’t be more than six months in the future when you apply.
- Entity legal name – appears on all official documents or legal papers.
- Authorised contacts (applicant or tax agent) – they must be authorised to make changes or update information on behalf of the entity.
- Details of associates – associate requirements are different for each entity type.
- Business activity – it is usually the main source of income for your enterprise (agriculture, construction, investment and manufacturing).
- Business locations – provide business locations for all premises operated by your enterprise, unless there’s a risk to safety of individuals.
For non-residents, they need to provide either their Australian TFN or proof of identity documents and a statement of business activities in Australia.
Documents should be sent by the due date specified at the end of your application. If these are not sent within 43 days of submitting the application, it will be refused.
Successful ABN application
- Your 11-digit ABN will be issued immediately.
- You can now apply for other business registrations, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST), Pay As You Go (PAYG), and AUSkey.
- A letter confirming your ABN and ABN details will be sent to you within 14 days. Save the confirmation and your ABN details.
- Keep your details up to date.
- Your details will be added to the ABR as either public information or non-public information. For privacy concerns, you may request for non-disclosure of certain information.
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Public ABN information:
- ABN registration – status and date of effect and cancellation of the ABN registration
- Approved worker entitlement fund status – your status as a (trust) fund for employee long service leave, sick leave or redundancy payments
- Australian Company Number or Australian Registered Body Number
- Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) registration – status and date of effect
- Deductible gift recipient – fund name, status and date/s of effect and cancellation
- Entity legal name
- Entity type – eg sole trader, superannuation fund, company, trust
- GST registration – status and date/s of effect and cancellation
- Income tax exempt fund status
- Postcode of the main business address
- Registered business name
- Registrable Superannuation Entity (RSE) licensees status
- Registrable Superannuation Fund (RSF) status
- State of the main business address
- Tax concession and/or charity status and date/s of effect and cancellation
- Trading name
Non-public ABN information:
- Associate details
- Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) code and description
- Business address
- Geocoding – latitude and longitude of business addresses and additional locations
- Mailing address for the service of notices
- Phone numbers
- Authorised contacts
- Working holiday maker registration – date/s of effect and cancellation
You can also use the government’s ABN Lookup any time to check if the ABN has been successfully processed. If further information is needed, you will be contacted and receive a reference number.
Unsuccessful ABN application
Not everyone is entitled for an ABN. If you’re application was unsuccessful, you will receive a refusal number and a confirmation letter within 14 days. Enclosed in this letter are the reason for the refusal, available options for you, and your review rights.
Updating or cancelling your ABN
Keep your ABN details up to date. Update your information within 28 days of any changes to your ABN details. You need to cancel your ABN if you are no longer entitled to it. The same goes if your business structure changes, where you need to apply for a new ABN.
ABN Loans Application
With Cigno Business Solutions, you can get ABN loans in Australia as long as the loan amount is reasonable to your needs and you can afford the repayment. Don’t forget to consider your business’s cash flow and profits in the equation. You can enquire about the interest rates, fees, and charges that will be included and how long it will take to complete the repayment terms.
Usually, the following documents are required in an ABN loan application:
- Tax returns
- Financial statements
- Proof of rental income
- Notice of Assessment (NOA)
- Bank statements
- Company information
- Proof of identification (may include your Australian driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, or your proof of age card)
Most lenders require a business to be operating for at least 6 months and generating a monthly revenue of $5,000 to qualify for a loan. Based on your qualifications, the business loan can either be secured or unsecured.
Once you made up your mind, you can start the ABN loan application here.