As a business, it is no surprise that your number one goal is to minimise costs and maximise profit. As important as this may be, another essential target should be to operate legally. And the easiest way to do that is to get an Australian Business Number (ABN). This adds credibility to your company both at home and abroad.
What is an ABN?
An ABN is a personalised 11 digit number that serves the purpose of identifying your business or organisation in the Government database. An ABN gives you legal rights to pay tax as a business. It also permits you to carry out business activities without any legal hiccups. In other words, an ABN is your business identification number.
Now that you know what an ABN is and why you should get one. We are sure you’re wondering how to apply for one. Look no further. We’ve got you covered.
The Application Requirements
Before we get shoulders and knees deep into dissecting the process of applying for an ABN, here are the documents and information you need;
- The Tax File Number (TFN) of the business and that of any partners or shareholders
- The licence number of your professional adviser That is, if any is available
- The tax number of the registered agent, if available.
- You also need to provide the details of any previously held ABN. Maybe from another business or if you are reapplying.
- The legal or official company number
- That is gotten through the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
- The date your company or business is previewed to commence business. That also implies the date your ABN is required.
- You also need to provide the contact details of any agent authorised to take action on behalf of the company if available.
- The contact details of your business are required—details such as a phone number, postal address, and email address.
- Your business activities. Information about what your business is built to do and its primary source of income will be required.
- And lastly, you need to provide location details. You need to state with precision the physical location of your company or enterprise.
The application process
The application process for an ABN is relatively straightforward. The best way to do this is by accessing the ABN registration website via a server. What you have to do is search www.ABNregistration.com.au on your search engine. Then proceed by filling out the necessary details with accuracy.
Once you can get to the website, it is safe to assume that you have all the required documents using the information provided above. What you need to know next is the application process.
Processing your application
Your application process can be fast or slow, depending on the accuracy of the information you provided when filling out your application form. If your application is successful, you will receive an 11 digit number unique to your business immediately. That is your ABN.
After receiving your ABN, you have to proceed by;
- You are printing and saving both your ABN and your ABN details. These are essential details that should be kept secure and only accessed by authorised persons.
- You have to apply for other legal registrations such as the Goods and Service Tax (GST).
- Your ABN details will be updated on the Australian Business Register (ABR) online platform, and you can decide which pieces of information to disclose and that to keep confidential.
- Once you get an ABN, it becomes your responsibility to update any changes in your business. Make sure to do this within 28 working days once changes are made.
If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a refusal number via email almost immediately. And then a letter of refusal within 14 working days. This letter of rejection will contain the reasons your application failed and all of your review rights. It is important to note that not everyone or business is eligible for an ABN.
Who is eligible for an ABN?
To be eligible for an ABN, you must meet one or more of the following requirements;
- You must be carrying out or starting a business in Australia.
- You must be making business transactions connected to the Australian indirect tax zone.
- Or, you must own or run a Corporations Act Company.
Updating and cancelling an ABN
We are all familiar with the art of updating. We do this every day, with our clothes, gadgets, and whatnot. An ABN number is no different. While we are sure you are particular about why you want to update your wardrobe and electronics, you must be asking yourself why you need to update your ABN, here is why;
- An ABN authorises the right people to act in your stead if the need arises.
- An ABN provides the government and other agencies with accurate information that they can contact businesses in the case of any emergencies.
- Your ABN is the first-hand representation of your business activities and all your scope of influence as a business. That tells the government how credible and valuable you are as a business.
- Your ABN also makes you visible, available, and ready for any government service which may arise over time.
How to update your ABN
The most effective way to update your ABN details is using the myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager, also known as (RAM). These are available on the Australian Business Register (ABR) online services. myGovID is an application used for identification purposes when dealing with online government services. You will need to download this app from the Apple app store or the Google play store onto any device of your choice and then fill out the required details.
A RAM gives an individual the authority to take action on behalf of a business( could be the business owner or an authorised agent). You cannot use RAM without a myGovID account. Once you have gotten both accounts set up, you can update your ABN details with the options provided to you on the ABR website.
If you ever need to cancel your ABN, it is essential to have the following reasons in mind before pushing through with the process;
- It would be best if you had sold your business
- Or closed it down
- Your business is no longer operational in Australia
- Or your business no longer makes any Australia-related transactions.
If any or all of these are true, you can proceed to cancel your ABN but before that, make sure to clear out any pending government or tax-related payments.
How to cancel an ABN
Like the updating process, an ABN can also be cancelled using your myGovID account. Your myGovID account needs to be linked to your RAM account. You will be given the cancellation option on the ABR online service platform. Any changes made on ABR will be updated effective immediately on your ABN.
It is also important to note that cancelling an ABN will cancel any tax-related goods and services registration that was made before cancellation. The cancellation of your ABN also severs any ties between your ABN and your myGovID account.
Hopefully, by now, you understand the importance of an ABN. The information in this article has been carefully researched and put together to assist you in knowing why and how you can get an ABN. We advise you to apply the steps provided and get your business registered.