Australian Business Number

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The Australian Business Number, or ABN, is a unique identifier issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is operated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The ABN is a component of the reform known as A New Tax System introduced by John Howard's Liberal government on 1 July 2000.

Contents

Australian Business Register

The Australian Business Register (ABR) is maintained by the Registrar of the ABR, who is also the Commissioner of Taxation.[1] The Registrar registers entities and, in doing so, issues them with an ABN.[2]

Entitlement to an ABN

The Registrar issues ABNs only to entities who are entitled to an ABN.[3] Entities do not have to be individuals (natural persons) or companies (legal persons). An entity can be:

For an entity to be entitled to an ABN, it must be:

Whether or not an entity is carrying on an enterprise is a question of fact and there are many circumstances where an entity will be carrying on an enterprise. Without being exhaustive, an entity will be carrying on an enterprise if:

The Registrar of the ABR can refuse an entity's application to be registered.[9] Equally, the Registrar can cancel an entity's registration and thus their ABN.[10] Both of these decisions are reviewable taxation decisions.

Applying for an ABN

There are three ways to legally apply for an ABN:[11]

Format of the ABN

The ABN is an eleven digit number where the first two digits are a checksum. Unlike with the Tax File Number (TFN), the ATO has publicised the formula for checking and creating valid ABN checksums. Also, the nature of the ABN algorithm means that any 9-digit number can be made into a valid ABN.

In the case of companies, the ATO determines the ABN by using the company's Australian Company Number (ACN) to which is prefixed the two-digit checksum.

See also

References

  1. ^ Section 28 of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  2. ^ Section 11 of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  3. ^ Section 8 of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  4. ^ Subsection 184-1(1) of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth).
  5. ^ Paragraph 8(1)(a) of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  6. ^ Paragraph 8(1)(b) of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  7. ^ Subsection 8(1) of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  8. ^ Section 9-20 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth).
  9. ^ Section 13 of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  10. ^ Section 18 of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth).
  11. ^ http://www.ato.gov.au/businesses/content.aspx?doc=/content/33384.htm&mnu=43088&mfp=001/003

External links