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  • Selling or closing down a business

    It's important that all your clients' tax issues are finalised before they cancel their Australian business number (ABN), which ceases that business. This allows us to finalise their account and issue any refunds owing to them.

    Step 1: Lodgment and payment

    Make sure all lodgment and payment obligations are met, including:    

    • outstanding activity statements
    • outstanding instalment notices
    • final fringe benefits tax returns
    • final income tax returns.

    Step 2: Refunds

    Request any refunds for accounts with a final tax position in credit.

    Step 3: Cancel pay as you go (PAYG) withholding registrations

    You can do this using cancel tax registrations in Online services for agents.

    Step 4: Cancel the ABN

    This step must be completed after the first three steps – this will stop any problems with refunds being delayed and the need for us to contact you.

    You need to cancel the ABN within 28 days of the client ceasing business through the Australian Business RegisterExternal Link.

    Cancelling the ABN will:

    • cancel registrations for goods and services tax (GST), luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax, fuel tax credits
    • cancel AUSkeys linked to the ABN
    • end all authorisations for the business in Relationship Authorisation Manager, preventing access to the online services using myGovID.

    After cancelling the ABN, your client may have a PAYG instalment obligation through to the date of ceasing business and still receive instalment activity statements. You are able to vary your client's PAYG instalment amount if the amount or rate we calculated doesn’t reflect their circumstances due to their ceasing business.

    Step 5: Record keeping

    Your clients need to keep business records for five years from when they prepared or obtained the records, or completed the transactions or acts those records relate to, whichever is later.

    See also:

      Last modified: 24 Feb 2020QC 43238