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  • Obtaining member TFNs

    When a member gives their TFN to their employer, the employer must pass it on to you.

    If you get calls from your members asking if you accept super co-contributions, check that you hold their TFN before responding. If you don’t have it, we recommend you request it at this time.

    If you claim super co-contributions on behalf of your members, they must contact you to provide their contribution reference number. We recommend that you check you have the member's correct TFN at the same time.

    On this page:

    If you don’t have a member's TFN

    • You may be liable to pay additional income tax of 34% (this rate includes the 2% temporary budget repair levy) on top of the 15% tax you’ve already paid on assessable contributions, such as employer and salary sacrifice contributions.
    • The member may miss out on super co-contributions.
    • You must return all member contributions made on or after 1 July 2007 to the person or entity that paid it within 30 days of becoming aware that you should not have accepted those contributions.
    • It will make it harder for your member to keep track of their super.

    If you pay additional income tax and your member gives you their TFN later, you can claim a tax offset for the additional tax you paid.

    Valid and invalid TFNs

    A valid TFN must:

    If you provide what you believe to be a valid TFN for a member, but that TFN has been cancelled, withdrawn or is otherwise wrong, we can give you the member's correct TFN. We can do this only if they have a TFN and we can identify them. In this case you must update your records accordingly.

    We’ll accept that a member has quoted their TFN if either:

    • we can provide you with the correct TFN
    • it is clear that the member intended to quote their correct TFN, for example, if the TFN digits have been transposed.

    If the TFN you report for a member does not match our records, we’ll inform you that you have not quoted a valid TFN.

    TFN algorithm

    The TFN algorithm is a mathematical formula that tests the validity of numbers quoted as TFNs. We recommend its use in software, as it will minimise TFN errors. We can send you the algorithm to use in your software to minimise TFN errors.

    You can request the algorithm if you are a software developer who is developing either a commercial or in-house software product that will test the validity of a TFN provided by a taxpayer.

    For information about the TFN algorithm or its use, contact the Digital Partnership Office:

    TFN exemption code

    If a member gives you a TFN exemption code, you cannot use that code as a valid TFN to work out if you either:

    • have no-TFN-quoted contributions income
    • can accept member contributions.

    If a member claims a TFN exemption on the declaration they give their employer, the employer does not have to provide details of their TFN exemption claim. The employer must pass on only TFNs that have been quoted in an employee's TFN declaration.

    Member contributions statement

    We may also provide you with a TFN for a member if you do not report a TFN for that member on the member contributions statement (MCS). We can do this only if we are able to identify a TFN for the member and they have quoted their TFN for super purposes elsewhere.

    Generally, we make two attempts to find a correct TFN:

    • via automatic data matching after the MCS is lodged
    • manually, if automatic data matching is unsuccessful.

    If the TFN you report for a member does not match our records and we can’t identify a TFN for the member, we’ll inform you that you haven’t quoted a valid TFN.

    If you can’t locate a TFN for the member and don’t re-lodge your MCS with a valid TFN, we’ll issue you with an Invalid TFN notice and you may need to:

    • pay no-TFN-quoted contributions tax
    • refund member contributions for these members
    • remove the member’s (invalid) TFN from your records
    • re-lodge your MCS for the member reflecting the removal of the TFN and return of member contributions

    Correct TFN (Section 299TA) notices

    We’ll advise you if any TFNs you reported don’t match our systems. If we can work out the correct TFN, we'll give you notice of the correct TFN under either:

    • section 299TA of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 for APRA-regulated funds
    • section 143A of the Retirement Savings Account Act 1997 for RSAs.

    If you are advised of a correct TFN, replace the incorrect TFNs you reported to us with the correct TFNs we provide.

    See also:

    Last modified: 08 Sep 2015QC 24748