Your TFN and keeping it safe

A TFN is a unique number we issue to individuals. It is an important part of your tax and superannuation records, as well as your identity. It is also an important part of locating and keeping track of your superannuation savings. In the wrong hands, it could be used to commit fraud, so keep it safe. Make sure you protect your identity by keeping all your personal details secure, including your TFN.

We only issue one TFN to you during your lifetime – even if you change jobs, change your name, or move.

To find out more about how to protect your TFN and avoid identity crime, refer to Identity crime

When to use this form

You can use this form if you:

  • have never had a TFN
  • have a TFN but cannot find it on any of your tax papers.

What if you have lost your TFN?

If you have lost your TFN, check all your correspondence from us or contact your registered tax agent.

If you still cannot find your TFN or would like to update your details, you can contact us. See More information

Who should sign the form?

You can apply for a TFN at any age – however, if you are:

  • 16 years or older – you must sign your application
  • 13 to 15 years old – you or your parent or guardian can sign
  • 12 years old or under – your parent or guardian must sign on your behalf.

Note: If a parent or guardian signs on behalf of the applicant, they will need to provide further information when they submit the form. See Parent or guardian

When will you receive your TFN?

You should receive your TFN within 28 days after we receive your completed application and required documents. We appreciate your patience during the processing period – do not lodge another application during this time; and allow for possible delays with international mail.

How to apply

Foreign residents

Visit International tax for individuals to check your Australian residency status for tax purposes.

You can apply for a TFN using Tax file number - application or enquiry for individuals living outside Australia (NAT 2628, PDF, 338kB) if you are a foreign resident for tax purposes and:

  • you receive rental income from an Australian property
  • you receive income from Australian business interests
  • your spouse is  
    • an Australian resident, and
    • applying for the Australian family tax benefit.
  • you are a member of an Australian superannuation fund  
    • you expect to receive benefits from
    • you intend to make personal contributions to, or
    • to which contributions are made on your behalf.
  • you need to lodge an Australian income tax return to claim  
    • a refund of tax that has been withheld from an Australian bank account, and/or
    • dividends from Australian shares.
  • you want to apply for an Australian business number (ABN) and, if applicable, another associated business account, such as goods and services tax (GST) – for example, if you receive an appearance fee under contract as an entertainer or sportsperson.

We recommend you complete the TFN application before registering for an ABN –this will speed up processing of your ABN application.

You can register for an ABN at Link

See also:

Receiving interest, dividends and royalty payments

Non-resident withholding tax

If you are a foreign resident for tax purposes, you do not need a TFN if you only receive either:

  • interest from an Australian bank account
  • dividends from Australian shares
  • royalty payments.

Your withholding tax is deducted at the tax rate applicable to your country of residence before you receive these payments. You do not need to declare this income on your Australian tax return.

However, you must:

  • inform your investment bodies (for example, banks) that you are a non-resident
  • provide an overseas address for statements.

For more information about withholding tax rates, phone +61 2 6216 1111 between 8.00am and 5.00pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight-saving Time) Monday to Friday, and ask to be transferred to Personal tax enquiries.

TFN withholding tax

If you are a non-resident, you must not provide your TFN to investment bodies, unless your investment body is acting as your Australian superannuation fund manager.

It is not an offence not to quote a TFN to your superannuation fund, but if you do not supply it you may have more tax withheld than you need to.

If an investment body deducts TFN withholding tax from your interest, dividend or royalty payments, instead of non-resident withholding tax, you can apply for a refund of the difference. Do this by lodging an Australian tax return together with the statement showing tax has been deducted.

Last modified: 14 Oct 2016QC 27136