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Obtaining member TFNs

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

Last updated 25 July 2023

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.

If you don’t have a member's TFN

  • You may be liable to pay additional income tax of 32% 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If you provide what you believe to be a valid TFN for a member, but that TFN has been cancelled, withdrawn or is otherwise wrong, we may be able to provide you the member's correct TFN if we can determine the correct one. 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 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.

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.

You should treat any TFN provided under sections 299TA or 299TC of the SISA, as though it has been quoted by the member and update your records accordingly. If a member has specifically requested for the trustee to not record their TFN prior to the trustee receiving a notice under section 299TC, the notice can be disregarded.

See also

Providing and using TFNs in the super system