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

    If you're a resident outside Australia, you need to submit certified and translated proof of identification documents (POI) to register for a tax file number (TFN).

    The supporting documents we require from you will depend on whether you are an individual, a foreign company, a partnership, a trust or other organisation, or if you are a GST, or withholder, payer only.

    On this page:

    Why we establish your identity

    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 the identity documents we require, we may accept alternative credentials.

    Where you provide POI documents 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. We may not return certified copies of documents unless you request us to.

    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

    Primary documents include:

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

    Secondary documents

    Secondary documents include:

    • 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's licence – the address on the licence must match the home address provided.

    If you have changed your name, you must also provide another document that shows 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.

    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. We may not return certified copies of documents unless you request us to.

    Where an individual associate has a TFN, and it's provided on the TFN application, we don't require POI documents for that individual. By law, there is no requirement for an individual 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.

    See also:

    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. We may not return certified copies of documents unless you request us to.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, we don't require POI documents for that associate. By law, there is no requirement for an associate 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, we require POI documents for at least one partner (in accordance with the partner’s entity type).

    For example, a partnership of three companies would be required to provide POI documents 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. We may not return certified copies of documents unless you request us to.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, we don't require POI documents for that associate. By law, these is no requirement for an associate 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 documents 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 documents 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. We may not return certified copies of documents unless you request us to.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, we don't require POI documents for that associate. By law, these is no requirement for an associate 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:

    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.

    We may not return certified copies of documents unless you request us to.

    Where an associate of the company has a TFN, and it’s provided on the TFN application, we don't require POI documents for that associate. By law, these is no requirement for an associate to provide their TFN, but this will make it quicker and easier to process your application.

    See also:

    Withholder payer number only registrations

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

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

    POI documents are 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 (letters) from us or contact your tax agent.

    If you still can't 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 individual tax enquiries.

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

      Last modified: 16 Apr 2021QC 20280