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  • Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals

    If you're an Australian resident for tax purposes, and you can attend an interview at a participating Australia Post retail outlet, you can apply for a tax file number (TFN) online. Otherwise, you'll need to complete a paper form.

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    Applying for a TFN using a paper form

    If you can't apply online and attend an interview at Australia Post, you'll need to complete a paper form, Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals (NAT 1432). You can get a copy of this form by either:

    • ordering it online
    • phoning 1300 720 092 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)
    • asking for one from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if you're applying for a government benefit or pension.

    The form must be accompanied by documents which prove your identity – your TFN won't be processed without these. Send us certified copies of your documents – don't send original documents. Certified copies of documents you mail to us may not be returned to you.

    A full list of acceptable documents is provided in the instructions to the form.

    You can download a sample (for your guidance only) of the Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals (PDF 288KB)This link will download a file (NAT 1432).

    Don't print and submit this online sample form – you must instead complete the paper copy we provide when you order the form from us.

    You can use this form if you:

    • have never had a TFN
    • are not sure if you have a TFN
    • have a TFN, but can't find it on any of your tax papers.

    Other ways to apply for a TFN

    There are other ways to apply for a TFN for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, foreign passport holders and non-residents for tax purposes:

    Who should sign your application

    You can apply for a TFN at any age. However, if you are:

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

    If you're unable to sign your own application because of a disability and you are:

    • 15 years old or under – your parent or guardian can sign on your behalf
    • 16 or 17 years old – your parent or guardian can sign, but they must provide a signed statement from a doctor explaining your circumstances
    • 18 years or older – a court-appointed guardian can sign, but they must provide legal proof of guardianship, such as a power of attorney or a court order.

    If a parent or guardian signs on behalf of the applicant, they will need to provide additional information when they submit the form – see Parent or guardian.

    If you complete a TFN application on behalf of another person, this does not give you the authority to ask about their tax matters.

    When you will 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 – don't lodge another application during this time.

    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 super savings.

    In the wrong hands, your TFN could be used to commit fraud, so keep it safe. Make sure you protect your identity by keeping all your personal details, including your TFN, secure.

    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 Protecting your information.

    If you've lost your TFN

    If you've lost your TFN or aren't sure you have one, check all your correspondence from us, or contact your registered tax agent.

    If you still can't find your TFN, or would like to update your details, you can phone us on 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday – see More information.

    Find out about:

    How to complete your TFN application form

    Section A: Applicant information

    The answers to the questions in this section will help us establish whether you are already on our records or not.

    Definition of spouse

    A spouse includes another person (of any sex):

    • you are legally married to
    • you are in a relationship with and is registered under a prescribed state or territory law
    • although not legally married to you, lives with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

    Section B: Address details

    Your TFN will be sent to the postal address you provide. This could be your home address, your post office box, or your registered tax agent’s postal address.

    We may use these details to send notices and correspondence about your taxation affairs.

    Section C: Residency details

    To understand your tax situation, you must first work out whether you are an Australian resident for tax purposes.

    Generally, we consider you to be an Australian resident for tax purposes if you:

    • have always lived in Australia or you have come to Australia and now live here permanently
    • are an overseas student doing a course that takes more than six months to complete
    • have been in Australia continuously for six months or more, and for most of that time you worked in the one job and lived in the same place
    • will be or have been in Australia for more than half of the financial year (unless your usual home is overseas and you do not intend to live in Australia).

    If you go overseas temporarily and don't set up a permanent home in another country, you may continue to be treated as an Australian resident for tax purposes.

    The criteria we use to work out your residency status for tax purposes are not the same as those used by other Australian agencies for other purposes, such as immigration.

    To check your Australian residency status for tax purposes, visit Work out your tax residency.

    Section D: Contact details

    Provide all details where you can at question 13.

    You can also provide details of another person we may contact for further information about this application, such as a parent, guardian or alternate contact, at question 14.

    Section E: Supporting documents

    What are the proof of identity requirements?

    • If you don't provide all the proof of identity documents we ask for, your application will be returned to you and we can't issue you with a TFN.
    • When you lodge your application, you must provide current documents that prove your identity for registration purposes (proof of identity).
    • If you are completing a paper application, you must provide certified copies of your proof of identity documents – refer to Copies of documents – applicants within Australia.
    • Certified copies of documents that you mail to us may not be returned to you.
    • Documents that have been corrected or changed and initialled are not acceptable.

    Parent or guardian

    Can I sign the form if I am a parent or guardian?

    Depending on the age of the applicant, a parent or guardian may be eligible to sign the form on behalf of the applicant – see Who should sign your application?

    What do I need to provide if I sign on behalf of the applicant?

    If you sign on behalf of the applicant, you must provide all of the information outlined at question 18 on the form.

    If your parent or guardian signs your application, they must provide all of the following:

    • their full name and either their own full proof of identity documents or their TFN at the declaration
    • your full proof of identity documents
    • a document showing your relationship (for example, full birth certificate, guardianship papers or Medicare card)
    • if you are 16 or 17 years old – a signed statement from a doctor explaining your circumstances.

    Protected persons (applicants who are unable to sign their TFN application)

    If you are 16 years or older and someone is appointed to help you with financial and legal matters, ask them to phone us on 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday to discuss your application and the identification you need to supply. We have special arrangements in place to help you with the application process.

    Appointees can include:

    • guardians (legally able to act on behalf of someone under a power of attorney or a court order)
    • carers (those who provide care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail or aged (or both))
    • parents.

    If you are signing on behalf of an applicant who is:

    • 16 or 17 years old and unable to sign their own application, you will need to provide the information outlined at question 18 on the form, and a signed statement from a doctor explaining the circumstances
    • 18 years or older and unable to sign their own application, you will need to provide the information outlined at question 18 on the form, but your linking document must be one of the following
      • power of attorney
      • letter of authority
      • court order
      • authorised guardianship papers.
       

    Prisoners and detainees

    Prisoners

    If you’re in prison and unable to provide full proof of identity documents, we will accept one primary document and both of the following:

    • a letter from the prison (on prison letterhead) signed by a prison officer, stating your name, date of birth and current postal address, and
    • a certified copy of your prison identification, signed by a certifier as a true and correct copy.

    Detainees

    If you’re a detainee and unable to provide full proof of identity documents, we will accept one primary document and both of the following:

    • a letter from the detention centre (on detention centre letterhead) signed by a detention centre officer, stating
      • your name
      • your date of birth
      • your current postal address
      • the circumstances preventing you from supplying proof of identity documents.
       
    • a certified copy of your detention centre identification signed by a certifier as a true and correct copy.

    Documents in your previous name

    If your documents are in your previous name, you must provide another document that shows how you changed your name – for example, marriage certificate, deed poll or change of name certificate.

    Documents in languages other than English

    If your original document is not written in English, you must provide a written translation that an authorised translation service has certified as a true and correct copy. Authorised translation services include:

    • an appropriate embassy
    • a professional translation service accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI).

    You must show these staff your original documents, not photocopies. The documents must not be altered in any way – a document that has been corrected or changed and initialled is not acceptable.

    Acceptable proof of identity documents

    If you are:

    • 16 years old or over – you need to provide three documents, one of which must be a primary document
    • under 16 years old – you need to provide two documents, one of which must be a primary document.

    If a parent or guardian signs the application, or your documents are in your previous name or a language other than English, there are specific requirements you must meet – read the previous section on proof of identity requirements.

    Primary documents

    • Australian full birth certificate – a birth certificate extract is not acceptable
    • Australian passport
    • Australian citizenship certificate, or Extract from Register of Citizenship by Descent
    • Foreign passport.

    Secondary documents

    • Medicare card
    • Account statement from an Australian bank, credit union or building society less than one year old, with your name and your current address matching the details you provide on your application – transaction lists printed off the internet and credit card statements are not acceptable
    • Current Australian firearm licence with your signature and/or photo matching the details you provide on your application
    • Current student identification card (only one – either tertiary or secondary) with your photo, issued from an Australian government accredited education authority
    • One of the following cards with your photo and signature (any address on the card must match the details provided on the application)
      • Australian drivers licence
      • Australian learners permit
      • state or territory government issued proof of age card
      • state or territory government issued photo card.
       

    If you are under 16 years old, secondary documents can include one of the following, which must be less than one year old and issued by an Australian government accredited education authority:

    • secondary school examination certificate
    • record of achievement
    • examination report.

    Linking documents

    Must be provided if:

    • there has been a change of name
    • the gender on your supporting documents does not match the gender selected on the form
    • a parent/guardian or legally appointed custodian is signing on behalf of the applicant.

    Proof of identity documents

    • Change of name by deed poll
    • Change of name document
    • Marriage certificate
    • Australian full birth certificate
    • Medicare card
    • Foreign birth certificate
    • Doctor’s letter (see Note 1)
    • Letter of authority(see Note 2)
    • Power of attorney (see Note 2)
    • Proof of parentage/guardianship documents (see Note 2)

    Note 1: If:

    • the gender on your supporting documents does not match the gender selected on the form, the applicant can provide a statement from a Registered Medical Practitioner or a Registered Psychologist which specifies their gender
    • the applicant is 16 or 17 years old and unable to sign their application, the parent or guardian signing the application on their behalf needs to provide a signed statement from a doctor explaining the circumstances.

    Note 2: If the applicant is over 18 years old and unable to sign their application, the parent or guardian signing the application on their behalf needs to provide one of these linking documents.

    Section F: Declaration

    For information on who should sign this form if you're under 18 years old, see – Who should sign your application?

    Note: If you're completing this TFN application on behalf of another person, this does not give you the authority to ask about their tax matters.

    Lodging your application

    Make a copy of this application for your own records before you lodge it.

    Send the original application and certified copies of your identity documents to us at:

    Australian Taxation Office
    PO Box 9942
    MOONEE PONDS  VIC  3039

    Or, you can visit your nearest Centrelink Service Centre – if you're applying for a government benefit or pension. You must provide original identity documents with your application.

    More information

    If you can't find your TFN or would like to update your details, phone 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. If you phone us, we need to know we are talking to the correct person before discussing your tax affairs. We will ask you for details that only you, or someone you’ve authorised, would know. An authorised contact (nominated representative) is someone who you have previously told us can act on your behalf.

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    Contact us

    For more information about TFNs, phone 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

    See also:

    Last modified: 25 Feb 2020QC 27134