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When do you need an ABN?

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An Australian business number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit number that the Australian Business Register issues to all businesses, identifying your business to the community and government whilst also making it easier to keep track of business transactions for tax purposes.

While it is compulsory for businesses with a GST turnover of $75,000 or more to have an ABN and to be registered for GST, businesses with a GST turnover of less than $75,000 can still apply for an ABN and may choose to register for GST. You are entitled to an ABN if you are aligned with the following entitlement criteria.

Carrying on or starting an enterprise in Australia:
An enterprise includes activities done in the form of a business, as well as acting as the trustee of a super fund, operating a charity and renting or leasing property. Features of a business include:

  • Significant commercial activity, involving commercial sales of products or services, and is of a reasonable size and scale.
  • Intention to make a profit from the activity as demonstrated by a business plan and a set rate of pay.
  • The activity is repeated, systematic, organised and carried on in a business-like way with records being kept.
  • The activity is carried on in a similar way to that of other businesses in the same or similar industry.
  • The entity has relevant knowledge or skill.
  • The entity has the appropriate insurance, such as public liability and WorkCover.

Making supplies connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone:
Even if your business or organisation is located outside Australia, you may be entitled to an ABN if you are carrying on an enterprise in Australia or involves making supplies connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone.

A Corporations Act company:
Companies registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) are entitled to an ABN.

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