• Business or company registrations

    If you're applying for an Australian business number (ABN), you can also apply for a business name and register for secure online authentication and taxes, like GST and PAYG withholding, at the same time.

    If you're setting up business as an individual (a 'sole trader'), it will speed things up if you provide your tax file number (TFN) when you apply. Companies should provide their Australian company number (ACN).

    On this page:

    Australian business number

    An ABN is a unique 11-digit identifier that makes it easier for businesses and all levels of government to interact.

    You will need an ABN to:

    • operate in the GST system, including claiming GST credits
    • avoid pay as you go (PAYG) tax on payments you receive
    • confirm your business identity to others when ordering and invoicing
    • connect to Manage ABN Connections or get an AUSkey to transact online with government agencies
    • be endorsed as a gift deductible recipient or an income tax exempt charity.

    If you cease business, you will need to cancel your ABN. Before doing this, make sure you've met all your lodgment, reporting and payment obligations such as activity statements and PAYG withholding reports

    How to apply for or cancel an ABN

    You can apply for or cancel an ABN, or apply to have an ABN you previously held reissued:

    You can also lodge an Application to cancel registration (NAT 2955) form with us to cancel your ABN. You can order this form using our online publication ordering service for businessExternal Link.

    See also:

    Secure online authentication

    To securely access a number of government online business services like the Business Portal or Australian Business Register (ABR), you need a secure way to verify your business identity. You can do this using either:

    • Manage ABN Connections
    • AUSkey.

    Manage ABN Connections confirms your identity through myGov when you connect your ABN to your myGov account. It offers you flexibility to conduct your business anytime, anywhere because it's compatible with all browsers and mobile devices.

    AUSkey is another secure login option that enables you to access the ATO Business Portal to:

    • lodge your business activity statements online
    • check your tax account balance and update your registration details
    • add or cancel registrations online for GST and PAYG withholding.

    You can register for an AUSkey during your ABN application or at any later time. Before registering, check your system is compatible.

    Next steps:

    Registering your business name

    Most businesses will need to apply for a registered business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

    You can carry on a business in your own name without registering a business name if you don't change or add anything to your name. For example, John Smith doesn't have to register a name to trade as J Smith or John Smith, but he does to trade as John Smith Landscaping.

    To apply for a registered business name you will need to have applied for or have an ABN.

    Next step:

    Getting an Australian company number

    If you plan to run your business through a company, you need to register your company and get an ACN. You do this with ASIC when you start your company. You need to get your ACN before you can get your ABN and tax registrations.

    Next step:

    Last modified: 06 Feb 2017QC 31785