• Proof of identity – for individuals and businesses resident outside Australia

    We need to establish proof of identity (POI) when issuing a tax file number (TFN). The supporting documents we require from you will depend if you are an individual, or a foreign company, partnership, trust or other organisation, or if you are a GST-only or withholder payer-only.

    We must establish the identity of an entity and its associates (if any) to issue a TFN.

    We may verify details of a foreign business application with the relevant authority in your country.

    Where an entity or its associates are unable to provide required identity documents, we may accept alternative credentials.

    Where you have provided POI documentation in support of another registration, we may not need further identity documents from you.

    Australian Business Number (ABN) registrations require further POI.

    If you are outside Australia, we accept certified copies of your original POI documents. Copies of documents in a language other than English must include a written translation. Certified copies of documents may not be returned.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    POI for individuals

    Individuals or individual associates of an entity that aren’t Australian residents for tax purposes must provide two current POI documents.

    One of these documents must be a primary document from the list below.

    Primary documents

    • Foreign birth certificate
    • Foreign passport
    • Australian birth certificate
    • Australian passport.

    Secondary documents

    • National photo identification card
    • Foreign government identification
    • Marriage certificate – if this document is provided to verify your change of name, it will not be classified as a second document
    • Driver licence – the address on the licence must match the home address provided.

    If you have changed your name, you must also provide another document showing the change, such as a marriage certificate, deed poll or change of name certificate.

    If your preferred gender is not reflected on your identity documents, you must provide a document that indicates your preferred gender, such as an amended birth certificate or a statement from a registered medical practitioner. For further details on these requirements refer to Acceptable proof of identity documents.

    We accept certified copies of original POI documents. Copies of documents in a language other than English much also include a written translation of the document. Certified copies may not be returned.

    Where an individual associate has a TFN, and it's provided on the TFN application, POI documents for that individual are not required. By law, an individual is not required to provide their TFN, but this will make it quicker and easier to process your application.

    See also:

    POI for a non-individual entity

    There are separate POI requirements if you are a foreign company, partnership, trust or other organisation, or if you require a TFN for GST-only or withholder payer-only.

    Companies

    To establish the identity of a foreign company, the company should provide their Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN).

    If the company does not have an ARBN, we require a certificate of registration or incorporation (or equivalent) from the relevant authority.

    If a certificate of registration or incorporation cannot be provided, a signed statement to that effect is acceptable. The statement must be signed by at least two directors of the company.

    We require the following.

    Companies listed on a stock exchange:

    Companies not listed on a stock exchange:

    We accept certified copies of original POI documents. Copies of documents in a language other than English must also include a written translation of the document. Certified copies may not be returned.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, POI documents for that associate are not required. By law, an associate is not required to provide their TFN, but this will make it quicker and easier to process your application.

    Partnerships

    To establish the identity of a foreign partnership, POI documentation for at least one partner (in accordance with the partner’s entity type) is required.

    For example, a partnership of three companies would be required to provide POI documentation in accordance with company requirements.

    We accept certified copies of original POI documents. Copies of documents in a language other than English must also include a written translation of the document. Certified copies may not be returned.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, POI documents for that associate are not required. By law, an associate is not required to provide their TFN, but this will make it quicker and easier to process your application.

    Trusts

    To establish the identity of a foreign trust, POI documentation for all trustees (in accordance with each trustee’s entity type) must be provided.

    For example, an individual trustee would be required to provide POI documentation in accordance with individual requirements.

    We accept certified copies of original POI documents. Copies of documents in a language other than English must also include a written translation of the document. Certified copies may not be returned.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, POI documents for that associate are not required. By law, an associate is not required to provide their TFN, but this will make it quicker and easier to process your application.

    Other organisations

    To establish the identity of a foreign organisation, the organisation should provide their Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN).

    If the organisation does not have an ARBN, you must provide the following:

    • non-resident individual POI for all office bearers
    • resident individual POI for the resident public officer (if relevant and already appointed).

    We accept certified copies of original POI documents. Copies of documents in a language other than English must also include a written translation of the document.

    Certified copies of documents may not be returned.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, POI documents for that associate are not required. By law, an associate is not required to provide their TFN, but this will make it quicker and easier to process your application.

    See also:

    Goods and services tax only registration

    To establish the identity of an entity for goods and services tax (GST)- only registration, the following evidence is required:

    • documents that show the entity is registered with an equivalent corporate, market and/or financial regulator in its country of origin
    • a letter issued by a revenue authority of a comparable taxing regime stating that the entity exists in their records and it carries on an enterprise.

    POI documentation is not required to establish the identity of the entity’s directors, public officer and associates.

    Withholder payer number only registrations

    To establish the identity of an entity for withholder payer number (WPN)-only registration the following evidence is required:

    • documents that show that the entity is registered with an equivalent corporate, market and/or financial regulator in its country of origin
    • a letter issued by a revenue authority of a comparable taxing regime stating that the entity exists in their records and it carries on an enterprise.

    POI documentation is not required to establish the identity of the entity’s directors, public officer and associates.

    Enquiring about a TFN

    If you have lost your tax file number (TFN) or are not sure you have one, look for your TFN on any correspondence from the ATO or contact your tax agent.

    If you still cannot find your TFN, phone us on +61 2 6216 1111 between 8.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

    If you are an individual, ask for personal tax enquiries.

    If you are a company, partnership, a trust or other organisation, ask for business tax enquiries.

      Last modified: 24 Aug 2016QC 20280