Requirements for quoting an ABN

A supplier must quote their ABN by the time the payment is made, to prevent 49% being withheld. A supplier may quote their ABN on an invoice or other document relating to the supply.

Documents that an ABN may be quoted on include:

  • invoices
  • quotes
  • renewal notices (such as for insurance or subscriptions)
  • order forms
  • receipts
  • contracts or lease documents
  • letterheads, emails or internet records (web pages)
  • records of over-the-phone quotation of an ABN
  • catalogues (and other promotional documents) the supplier produces.

Payers must keep this information with other records relating to the supply.

Payers do not have to check if the ABN is valid. However, if they suspect that the ABN quoted does not belong to the supplier or the supplier's agent, they can check it by either:

  • using ABN lookup
  • phoning us on 13 72 26, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

If a supplier has applied for an ABN, they may ask their payer to hold back payment until the ABN has been obtained and quoted – this is a matter for the payer and the supplier to work out. However, unless one of the above exceptions applies, payers must withhold 49% from the payment if it is made before an ABN is quoted. If payers do not withhold from the payment, they may have to pay a penalty equal to the amount they should have withheld.

See also:

ABN lookupExternal Link -

What payers need to do if they are required to withhold

If payers are required to withhold an amount, they must:

  • be registered for PAYG withholding – this can be done by phoning 13 28 66 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday (payers may already be registered if they are withholding from other payments, such as wages to employees)
  • withhold 49% from the payment, unless an exception applies
  • report and pay the withheld amounts to the ATO, using their activity statement
  • complete a PAYG payment summary – withholding where ABN not quoted (NAT 3283), providing a copy to the supplier at the time of payment or as soon as possible afterwards – suppliers can use the payment summary to claim a credit in their income tax return for the amount withheld
  • keep a copy of the payment summary with your records
  • complete a PAYG withholding where ABN not quoted – annual report (NAT 3448).

What if the payer does not withhold when they are required to?

Payers may be subject to penalties if they do not withhold an amount when required. The penalty will be equal to the amount that should have been withheld. It is an offence not to withhold, and the payer may be prosecuted in appropriate cases.

Copies of this publication

A printable version of Statement by a supplierThis link will download a file (NAT 3346, 145KB) can be downloaded as a PDF.

Find out more

If you need more information about ABNs, you can:

  • visit Link
  • phone us on 13 28 66 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday
  • speak to your tax adviser.

If you do not speak English well and need help from the ATO, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone the ATO through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below:

  • TTY users – phone 13 36 77 and ask for the ATO number you need
  • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users – phone 1300 555 727 and ask for the ATO number you need
  • internet relay users – connect to the NRS on Link and ask for the ATO number you need.
Last modified: 13 Jan 2015QC 17241