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People living outside Australia – TFN application

How people living outside Australia with income from an Australian source apply for a tax file number (TFN).

Last updated 18 June 2024

Eligibility to apply

People living outside Australia with income from an Australian source may need to apply for a TFN.

It is free to apply for a TFN.

Apply for a TFN if you:

  • receive income from an Australian source, other than interest, dividends or royalty payments, such as rental income
  • receive income from Australian business interests
  • have a spouse who is an Australian resident and is applying for family tax benefit or child care subsidy
  • are a member of an Australian superannuation fund that  
    • you expect to receive benefits from
    • you intend to make personal contributions to
    • contributions are made to on your behalf
  • need to lodge an Australian tax return or apply for an Australian business number (ABN).

For more information about your tax obligations if you live overseas, see Coming to Australia or going overseas.

What you can claim

Use your TFN to claim a refund of any tax withheld, from an Australian bank account or dividends from Australian shares.

Foreign residents of Australia for tax purposes do not need a TFN if they only receive from an Australian source:

  • interest
  • dividends
  • royalty payments.

To find out the rate of tax that your payer should withhold, see Interest, unfranked dividends and royalties.

How to apply

If you are a foreign resident for tax purposes, to apply for a TFN you will need to complete a paper form.

Download and complete: Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals living outside Australia.

If you can't download the form, order it either onlineExternal Link or by phoning 1300 720 092.

Send your completed TFN application and certified copies of your proof of identity documents to the address on the form.

You must provide certified copies of your proof of identity documents. You don't need to send us your original documents as they may not be returned to you.

You should receive your TFN within 28 days from when we receive your completed application and the required documents.

To prevent delays, don't lodge another application. We appreciate your patience during the processing period.

If you haven't received your TFN notification letter after 28 days, contact us.

Keep your TFN and your personal information secure to prevent identity theft and fraud.