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  • Getting a tax file number

    In this section:

    Reasons to get a tax file number

    A tax file number, commonly known as a TFN, is your personal reference number in our tax and superannuation systems. Before starting work, we recommend you get one. A TFN is also useful if you intend to keep money in a bank account, because you may be required to pay tax on the interest.

    Getting a TFN is not compulsory, but if you don't have one you may:

    • pay more tax than necessary
    • not be able to get government benefits you are entitled to receive
    • not receive concessional tax treatment on your super contributions.

    A TFN will help you:

    • lodge a tax return
    • ask us about your tax affairs
    • start or change jobs
    • keep track of your super accounts
    • avoid tax being withheld from interest or dividends earned if you have savings accounts or investments that earn income.


    Further Information

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    Tax file numbers

    End of further information

    Applying for your tax file number

    If your visa allows you to work in Australia, you can apply for a TFN online. We will send your TFN to the address you provide.

    Protecting your tax file number

    Your TFN is a key part of your identity while you are in Australia. It must only be used by you. It is like a password or personal identification number. You must not:

    • use another person's TFN
    • incorrectly use your own TFN
    • allow someone else to use your TFN.

    You should not provide your TFN over the internet or give it to anyone who should not ask for it. Only certain people and organisations can ask for your TFN, including:

    • us - the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) - when discussing your tax records
    • your superannuation fund
    • your bank or financial institution
    • your employer, but only after you have started work with them
    • your registered tax agent when they are handling your tax affairs.



    If you think someone else has used your TFN or it has been stolen, phone us on 1800 467 033 (within Australia), between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

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    Further Information

    Find out more

    Identity theft and your tax file number

    End of further information

    When to give your tax file number to your employer

    When you start work, your employer will ask you to complete a Tax file number declaration. If you do not give your TFN to your employer using this form within 28 days of starting your new job, they must deduct a higher rate of tax from your pay. Your employer will also need your TFN so they can give it to your super fund.

    Remember, you should only give your TFN to your employer after you start work for them. Never give your TFN when you fill out a job application or when you apply for a job over the internet or phone.

    • Last modified: 20 Aug 2014QC 33245