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Registering your business

You need to get an Australian business number. You may also need to get a tax file number and register for other taxes.

Last updated 6 December 2021

This page provides an overview of the registrations you may need when starting a business and information about getting a secure online credential for business reporting.

When you start a business

When you start a business you need to get an Australian business number (ABN) and a tax file number (TFN).

You may also need to register for:

  • goods and services tax (GST)
  • pay as you go (PAYG) withholding
  • fringe benefits tax (FBT).

These other registrations depend on the type of business you're running, refer to Registering for GST and other taxes.

If you need help, phone us on 13 28 66.

Getting a TFN

All businesses need a TFN. If you're operating your business as a sole trader, then you can use your personal TFN. For other business structures, you can get a TFN when you apply for an ABN.

Getting an ABN

An ABN is the number your business uses when dealing with other businesses, government and us.

You need an ABN to operate in the GST system and claim GST credits. You must include it on your invoices. If you don't, other businesses will withhold tax at the highest rate from any payments they make to you.

To get an ABN:

  • Apply onlineExternal Link through the Australian Business Register
  • phone us on 13 92 26
  • apply through a registered tax or BAS agent.

When you're applying for an ABN, you can register your business name and taxes like GST and PAYG withholding at the same time (if you need to).

If your business details change – for example, if you change your address or authorised contact person – you must advise us within 28 days.

Refer to Update your details.

Decide your business structure

If you plan to run your business as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation, you need to register your corporation with the Office of the Registrar for Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).

Visit ORIC Start a corporationExternal Link.

If you plan to run your business through a company, you need to register your company and get an Australian company number (ACN). You do this with ASIC when you start your company. You need to get your ACN before you can get your ABN and tax registrations.

Visit register a company with ASICExternal Link

Getting a director identification number

You need a director identification numberExternal Link (director ID) if you want to become a director or are already a director of:

  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act)
  • a company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act).

Getting an online credential

A secure online credential lets you deal with us (and many other government agencies) online. To access our online services such as Online services for business, you'll need to use myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM).

Through Online services for business, you can complete most of your business reporting such as:

  • lodge your business activity statements
  • check your tax account balance and update your registration details
  • add or cancel registrations for GST and PAYG withholding.

Registering your business name

Most businesses need to apply for a registered business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

You don’t have to do this if you use your own name as the business name.

To apply for a registered business name you need to have an ABN or be applying for one.

If you already have an ABN, refer to Register a business name with ASICExternal Link.