ABR Help Topics
The ABN Lookup website provides access to the publicly available information provided by businesses when they register for an Australian business number (ABN).
Any regulated fund that is not a defined benefit fund. This type of fund calculates a benefit to the member based on the total amount of contributions received for the member plus earnings, less expenses and tax.
See defined benefit fund and both accumulation and defined benefit fund.
Accrual (non cash) accounting
Entities using an accrual or non-cash basis of accounting for goods and services tax (GST) payable and for input tax credits, account for GST at the earlier of:
For goods and services tax (GST) purposes, an acquisition includes:
to do anything to refrain from an act, or to tolerate an act or situation, or any combination of any of the above.
An active member at the relevant time is someone:
A member is excluded from being an active member if, at the relevant time:
See instalment activity statement and business activity statement.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
The AAT may review certain decisions of the Commissioner of Taxation or the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR).
AUSkey is an online security credential - a single key to access a range of government online services.
There are two types of AUSkey – Administrator and Standard AUSkeys.
Administrator AUSkey holders can view and update details for all AUSkey holders associated with the business, as well as register new Administrator AUSkey holders for their business.
Standard AUSkey holders are able to log in and view or update their own AUSkey details.
Administrator AUSkey holders have:
Standard AUSkey holders have:
New to online services?
See government agencies.
A term used on the Application to Register for A New Tax System (ANTS) to indicate the type of entity that is applying.
An apprentice is a person who has entered into a contract with an employer for the purpose of learning a skills-based trade or occupation.
Under an apprenticeship contract the apprentice is regarded as an employee. As an employee an apprentice will not be entitled to an ABN for the purposes of their apprenticeship.
An apprentice is an employee for Commonwealth taxation and superannuation purposes.
Approved deposit fund
This is a fund that is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA). An approved deposit fund (ADF) is an indefinitely continuing fund maintained for the purpose of receiving, holding and investing certain types of rollover funds until such funds are withdrawn. Withdrawal of funds usually requires certain conditions to be met - for example, a member retiring and reaching their preservation age, reaching age 65, or dying.
A notice, application or other document:
APRA regulated superannuation fund
This is a superannuation fund which is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) - that is, all regulated superannuation funds which are not self-managed superannuation funds.
When you apply for an ABN, an individual may be recorded as an associate on the Australian Business Register (ABR).
Some examples of associates we record in the ABR are:
If you are unsure whether you are recorded on the ABR as an associate for the business, you can check online:
We will only accept an application to register the first AUSkey for a business from an individual associate recorded in the ABR or an individual as a sole trader. The applicant can nominate themselves or another individual for the first AUSkey - the AUSkey holder can then nominate other individuals for an AUSkey online.
Note: The authorised contact currently listed for your business may not be an associate or be recorded as an associate on the ABR.
The ATO internet site for information about ATO products and general tax information.
ATO regulated self-managed superannuation fund
This is a superannuation fund that is regulated by the ATO. For funds other than single-member funds, an SMSF is one where:
For funds that are single-member funds, an SMSF is one where:
There are some exceptions to these general rules - for full details of the definition, refer to section 17A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
Note: Legal Personal Representatives can also act as trustees
AUSkey is a single key to access government online services. In the future, you may no longer need different user IDs and passwords as AUSkey becomes accepted by more government agencies for their online services.
AUSkeys can be used to:
If your business has an ABN you can register for an AUSkey at www.abr.gov.au/auskey
Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)
The standard classification used by both the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand to classify statistical units by industry in official statistics.
It is used by the ABS in a wide range of data-collection methods requiring industry type analysis - this includes production, distribution and other economic statistics, demographic and social statistics, and national income statistics.
The Australian Business Account (ABA) is an online service
that can help you set up, expand and manage your business. The online account
will allow users to save data, and improve and manage their online interactions
is managed by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and
Tertiary Education, with the support of state, territory and local governments.
For more information, go to Australian Business Account.
Australian business number (ABN)
A unique identifying number issued to all entities registered in the Australian Business Register (ABR).
The Australian Business Licence and Information Service
(ABLIS) is an initiative that will give business access to a whole-of-government shared online service for delivering personalised information about
regulatory requirements, such as licences, registrations and permits.
ABLIS is managed by the Department of Innovation, Industry,
Science, Research and Tertiary Education, with the support of state, territory
and local governments.
Australian Business Register (ABR)
A comprehensive register of information provided by businesses and other entities when they register for an Australian business number (ABN). The ABR was established by the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999.
The main objective of the ABR is to make it easier for businesses and all levels of government to interact, using a unique identifier.
Some of the benefits include:
Generally, certain details will be publicly available. The ABR can be accessed via the telephone or online through the internet.
The ABR provides instant electronic access to ABR data and transactions. It will:
Australian Company Number (ACN)
The number allocated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) when a body becomes registered as a company under corporation's law.
Australian private company
An Australian company that is not listed on the stock exchange and is not included in the description of Australian public company or cooperative. A company is a more complex business structure with set-up and administrative costs usually being higher than for other business structures. It has income tax liabilities and other responsibilities in its own right, separate from the individuals who own it.
For more information about tax responsibilities for a company, refer to Choosing the right business structure (NAT 72538).
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
APRA is responsible for regulating certain types of superannuation funds.
Australian public company
An Australian company that includes listed companies, non-profit companies, statutory corporations and their subsidiaries, friendly society dispensaries and mutual life assurance companies.
Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN)
A nine-digit number allocated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) when a body is registered with them other than as a company - for example, foreign companies and registrable Australian bodies.
Australian Registered Scheme Number (ARSN)
A nine-digit number allocated by ASIC to manage investment schemes registered in Australia.
Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)
The federal government regulatory body charged with the administration of the corporation's law, including its insolvency provisions.
Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) number
Refers to an Australian Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) or an Australian Registered Scheme Number (ARSN).
A person who has been authorised by an entity (business) to make changes to its details on the Australian Business Register (ABR) or another agency’s register.
Bank State Branch (BSB)
The six-digit part of a bank account number that indicates the bank and branch of the account.
The term ‘body corporate’ is considered to cover any artificial legal entity having a separate legal personality. These entities have perpetual succession, they also have the power to act, hold property, enter into legal contracts, sue and be sued in their own name, just as a natural person can.
The types of entities falling into these categories are broad, and include:
Included in the definition of body corporate are entities created by:
If an entity is not established under an Act of Parliament, or under a statutory procedure of registration, such as the Corporations Law or an Incorporation Act, it is generally not a body corporate.
Each state and territory has legislation that allows various kinds of non-profit bodies to become bodies corporate. Bodies incorporated under these Acts are normally community, cultural, educational or charitable type organisations.
The term ‘body politic’ is considered to cover any artificial legal entity having a separate legal personality. These entities have perpetual succession. They have the power to act, hold property, enter into legal contracts, sue and be sued in their own name, just as a natural person can.
The types of entities falling into these categories are broad and include:
The term ‘body politic’ includes the Crown in right of the Commonwealth, a state or territory. However, government departments are not bodies politic in their own right - instead, they are part of the larger body politic of the Commonwealth, State or Territory. Bodies such as municipal councils are bodies corporate rather than bodies politic.
The term ‘body politic’ is not restricted to Australia in any way, and can also mean a foreign nation and its government.
Both accumulation and defined benefit fund
A hybrid superannuation fund that provides for both accumulation accounts and defined benefit accounts to all members - see Accumulation fund and defined benefit fund.
An entity (the parent entity) may wish to divide its reporting and remitting responsibility because it has different activities or locations.
A registered entity may set up branches if approved by the Commissioner. If branching is approved, the entity is split into a parent entity and a number of branches.
For each approved branch, an additional client activity centre (CAC) is added to the Australian business number (ABN).
Goods and services tax (GST) branches
For GST branching to occur, the following criteria must be met:
Pay as you go (PAYG) income tax withholding (ITW) branches
For PAYG ITW branching to occur, the following criteria must be met:
Includes any profession, trade, employment, vocation or calling, but does not include occupation as an employee.
Business activity statement (BAS)
The form used for reporting on goods and services tax (GST) and other taxes. To reduce the number of forms that need to be completed by clients, the GST return has been made part of a single business activity statement that must be filled out for each tax period - this statement also covers other taxes, including pay as you go (PAYG) and fringe benefits tax (FBT).
The physical street address where the main business activity takes place - it may be different from the postal address. This address cannot be a post office box number.
The federal government’s website that allows clients to access, complete and lodge certain tax forms through the internet.
A transaction that causes or results in the creation of, or change to, an Australian business number (ABN) - for example, registration, changes of details, ABN cancellation.
A historical database or log. It records events such as name or address changes made to a client’s record. Business history is publicly available information on the Australian Business Register (ABR).
Indicates in which state or territory the entity has business locations. ‘All’ indicates that the entity has business locations in all states and territories.
A business name is the name or title under which a
person or other legal entity carries on a business, other than their own name.
A business name is one that is registered to an entity and
appears on the Business Names Register established by ASIC under section 22 of
the Business Names Registration Act 2011.
See National Business Names Registration Service.
Business start date
The date on which activities relating to business commenced.
Carried on in Australia
An enterprise is carried on in Australia if the enterprise is carried on through:
Carrying on an enterprise
You will be treated as carrying on an enterprise if you are doing anything in the course of commencing, operating or terminating the enterprise - see enterprise.
Entities using a cash basis of accounting account for goods and services tax (GST) payable and for input tax credits when payment for a taxable supply or creditable acquisition is either made or received.
Cash management trust
A trust that pools the relatively small investments of individuals and invests the funds it receives in short-dated securities (such as treasury notes and bank bills) that have traditionally required large minimum investments.
A fund established under an instrument of trust or a will for a charitable purpose. Charitable funds mainly manage trust property and/or hold trust property to make distributions to other entities or persons.
An institution that is established and run to advance or promote a charitable purpose.
See also Charitable trust
Charitable trusts for registration with the ATO are included under the definition of Fixed trust. While charitable trusts are not ‘fixed trusts’ as such, charitable trusts are trusts for particular purposes and do not have named persons as beneficiaries.
Institutions or funds established for a charitable purpose. Charitable purposes are those that the law regards as charitable, namely:
Civil penalty order
An order imposing a monetary fine which a court can make when it finds that a person has contravened a civil penalty provision. The civil penalty provisions consist of a number of key provisions of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1999 and are specified in section 193 of this act.
A taxpayer or non-taxpayer with whom the ATO or the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) interacts in some way - for example, an individual, a group employer, a company. A client is an entity, business or non-business taxpayer or agent.
The Commissioner of Taxation.
A non-individual client type. Company is defined to include:
but does not include a partnership or a non-entity joint venture.
Confidentiality – private key
Associated with online authentication credentials, the key is used to encipher or encode the contents of an online message.
Confidentiality – public key
Associated with online authentication credentials, the key is used to decipher or decode the contents of an online message.
Connected with Australia
Located in, or supplying to, or supplying from, Australia.
A self-employed individual who usually enters into a contract for service with other parties. The contract is usually to achieve a result by carrying out specified work for the other party at an agreed price.
Controlled by government
Refers to a government department’s ability to directly influence the operations of the entity’s business in a way that is more effective and direct than the exercise of general legislative or regulatory powers over the electorate at large.
Convicted of an offence in relation to self- managed superannuation funds
A person declared guilty of an offence in respect of dishonest conduct in any Commonwealth, state, territory or foreign country.
This is an organisation with rules:
Corporate unit trust
A corporation consisting of one natural person only and that person’s successors to a particular position - for example, an archbishop or bishop in a church or a minister of the Crown.
It constitutes an artificial legal person who can sue and be sued in the title of the position and in whom title to property can be vested.
In this case, it is the office that is the legal person - the office continues to exist as a legal entity in its own right, regardless of who holds it, or even if it is vacant from time to time.
The purchase or acquisition of something for a creditable purpose to be used in carrying on your enterprise - see acquistion.
Current GST turnover
The value of all supplies made or likely to be made in the current month plus the previous 11 months. Refer to A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 section 188-15. (ANTS (GST) Act 1999).
Customs owner code
The eight-character code given to a business by the Australian Customs Service (ACS) when they apply to import goods or services. It represents a licence that validates the importer’s legal right to import goods via the ACS.
Date of effect
The date an event comes into effect - for example:
Date of incorporation
The date the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) registered the formation (incorporation) of a company.
Date received or received date is the date the information, form or correspondence was first received in the ATO.
A trust that is administered by the executor under a will or arises as a result of intestacy.
Deductible gift recipient (DGR)
An entity that is entitled to receive income tax deductible gifts. All DGRs have to be endorsed, unless they are named specifically in the income tax law.
There are two types of DGR endorsement:
For the second type, only gifts to the fund, authority or institution are tax deductible.
Deferred company instalments (DCI)
A special transitional arrangement introduced to support the introduction of pay as you go (PAYG) income tax instalments (ITI).
During the transition to PAYG instalments, those required to pay quarterly PAYG instalments from the first quarter of their 2000–01 income year were able to defer some or all of their assessed tax for 1999–2000.
This deferral can be for a period between 2½ to 5 years - the amount is paid by instalments over the deferment period. Refer to section 221 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.
Deferred goods and services tax (DGST)
When a client imports goods into Australia, the goods and services tax (GST) is generally payable to the Australian Customs Service (ACS) at the time of entry.
If the client applies and meets all the eligibility criteria, they can participate in the deferred goods and services tax (DGST) scheme - this scheme allows them to defer the GST on the importation until their next monthly activity statement is lodged.
Defined benefit fund (funded or unfunded)
This type of regulated superannuation fund has at least one defined benefit member, and some or all of the contributions paid into the fund are accumulated on an aggregated basis (they are not made in respect of an individual member). The benefit a defined benefit member receives may depend on various factors, such as the member’s salary or wage, how long they worked for their employer, or how much they contributed to the fund. Their benefit may also depend on whether they are entitled to it because of retirement, redundancy, resignation or invalidity.
From 12 May 2004, regulated funds with fewer than 50 defined benefit members must not provide a new defined benefit pension. For more information on this requirement, refer to Superannuation Determination SD 2004/1 and Subregulation 9.04D (1) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994.
Refer to accumulation fund and both accumulation and defined benefit fund.
Diplomatic/consulate body or high commission
A body that provides a:
Examples are embassies, high commissions, and consulates of foreign governments.
A person appointed by the shareholders of a company or corporation to control or direct its affairs.
A trust that is neither a fixed trust nor a hybrid trust and under which a person or persons benefit from income or capital of the trust upon the exercise of a discretion by a person or persons, usually the trustee.
Discretionary trust – investment
The main source of income of the discretionary trust is from investment activities.
Discretionary trust – services management
The main source of income of the discretionary trust is from service activities, management activities or both.
Discretionary trust – trading
The main source of income of the discretionary trust is from trading activities.
Disqualified person (self-managed superannuation funds)
A disqualified person is an individual who:
A disqualified person cannot act as a trustee, an investment manager, custodian or responsible office (body corporate).
A disqualified person is a company which:
Employment of a domestic nature, such as a nanny, cook or gardener.
Electronic commerce interface (ECI) system
The ATO system that provides the means for businesses to deal securely and confidentially with the ATO through the internet.
Electronic lodgment system (ELS)
An electronic method of lodging certain ATO forms through the corporate gateway.
A unique identification number in an electronic format that is approved by the Commissioner and issued to the person nominated to act on behalf of the entity.
Eligible unit trust
A unit trust is an eligible unit trust (in relation to the year of income) if, during the year of income or the preceding year of income:
The address where electronic notices and correspondence are sent. This is the address where the business client is notified that the activity statement is available electronically.
A defined term in the goods and services tax (GST) and the Australian business number (ABN) legislation.
An enterprise includes a business. It also includes other commercial activities - these other commercial activities include adventures and concerns in the nature of trade and, where they are done on a regular or continuous basis, leases, licences and other grants of an interest in property.
It includes the activities of entities such as charities, deductible gift recipients, religious and government organisations, and certain non-profit organisations.
It also includes activities done in the form of a business or adventure or concern in the nature of trade.
It does not include:
A defined term in the income tax, Australian business number (ABN) and goods and services tax (GST) legislation.
Entity means any of the following:
In addition, the trustee of a trust or superannuation fund is taken to be an entity consisting of the person who is trustee at the time - that entity is a different entity to the person acting in their personal capacity. If reference is made to an entity of a particular kind - for example, a trustee - it refers only to the entity in its capacity as that kind of entity.
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Generally the property and business affairs of a deceased person. May be registered as a trust client type.
Estimated annual amount (PAYG withholding)
An estimate of the annual amount the applicant is required to withhold from all pay as you go (PAYG) withholding payments.
Estimated number of payees/employees
The total number of individuals the applicant thinks they will be making pay as you go (PAYG) payments to. This does not include payments to people under PAYG voluntary agreements, labour hire arrangements, or partners in a partnership.
Evidence of identity
Evidence provided to the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) of the applicant’s existence and identity. The details provided can be verified by external government agencies, such as the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
Expected activity end date
The date the entity last has or will have dealings or activity in relation to their business.
The process of sending goods out of Australia to an overseas destination.
Someone who sends goods out of Australia to an overseas destination.
An organisation that provides financial services, such as savings accounts, cheque facilities or credit card facilities - examples are banks and credit unions.
First Home Saver Accounts (FHSA) Trust
A First Home Saver Accounts (FHSA) trust is a trust solely established to offer FHSAs to the public. The trustee must be registered with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) as a trustee of a public offer entity and hold the appropriate Registrable Superannuation Entity (RSE) licence. For further information on FHSA and RSE, refer to First Home Saver Accounts - July 2008
A trust in which persons have fixed entitlements to all of the income and capital of the trust at all times during the income year - that is, the trustee is bound to make a distribution to the beneficiaries in a fixed or predetermined manner, as set out in the trust deed. The fixed entitlement may be a specified fraction or a percentage.
Fixed unit trust
Essentially, the same as a fixed trust. The only difference is that the interest in the income and/or capital is represented by units - for example, the trust is set up holding 100 units and there are 4 beneficiaries who have a fixed entitlement to 25 units each.
A company that is not a resident of Australia.
Fringe benefits tax (FBT)
A tax paid by an employer on fringe benefits provided to an employee or an associate of the employee.
Fringe benefits tax instalments (FBTI)
Fringe benefits tax (FBT) is paid each quarter by the employer by means of fringe benefits tax instalments (FBTI). The instalments will be dealt with as part of the activity statements used for other obligations - for example, income tax withholding (ITW), income tax instalments (ITI), goods and services tax (GST).
Fuel tax credits
Fuel tax credits provide businesses with a credit for the fuel tax included in the price of fuel they use in a range of business activities, plant, equipment and heavy vehicles.
Most fuel used in business are eligible for fuel tax credits, including fuel used in equipment, tools, machinery and heavy vehicles (those with a GMV greater than 4.5 tonne) that travel on a public road.
For a complete list of eligible and ineligible fuels and activities, refer to Fuel tax credits for business (NAT 14584) which can be found at www.ato.gov.au/fuelschemes
Check to see if you are eligible for fuel tax credits using the fuel tax credits eligibility tool.
Gift deductible entity (GDE)
See Deductible gift recipient (DGR).
Any form of tangible personal property.
Goods and services tax (GST)
A broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services or anything else for consumption in Australia.
Goods or services that do not attract GST - for example, some foods.
Goods and services tax (GST) group
A group of entities approved by the Commissioner to account for GST as if they were a single entity.
Goods and services tax (GST) joint venture
A GST joint venture must be approved by the Commissioner. A joint venture can be approved if:
Goods and services tax (GST) property transactions
Every property transaction potentially has a tax consideration and property developers who are registered for GST, or required to be registered (on turnover level), need to be aware of the tax implications of a specific property transaction. For GST obligations regarding property transactions, refer to www.ato.gov.au/GST
Goods and services tax (GST) religious group
A group of entities that meet the requirements of section 49-5 of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999. See Grouping.
GST turnover is defined to be the sum of the values of all supplies (not just taxable supplies) that an entity has made or is likely to make during a 12-month period.
The GST turnover is determined in two ways:
Data users who are authorised by law to receive and use the Australian Business Register (ABR) data in their processes. They may also be data providers who provide data to the ABR in the form of updates.
A government entity is:
is not an entity, and
is either established by the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory (whether under a law or not) to carry on an enterprise or established for a public purpose by an Australian law, and
can be separately identified by reference to the nature of the activities carried on through the organisation or the location of the organisation
whether or not the organisation is part of a department or branch described in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) or of another organisation of the kind described in this paragraph.
One of the non-individual client types recorded in the system - can be a local, federal, territory or state government body.
Government owned or controlled
Refers to a government department’s ability to influence the operations of a business in a way that is more direct than the exercise of general legislative powers over the electorate at large.
Effective control can be exercised through majority ownership of voting shares, through specific legislation, or by way of a particular administrative arrangement.
Government statutory authority
Is established under an Act of Parliament and can be part of a government entity - for example, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC); or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Occurs when a number of entities are linked because of common ownership. Goods and services tax (GST) group approvals may be allowed where two or more entities wish to centralise the administration of their GST obligations.
Goods and services tax (GST) group
For approval of a GST group, the following criteria must be met:
The Commissioner will approve a GST group if each member:
For all entity types
Specifically for companies
Specifically for non-profit bodies
Goods and services tax (GST) religious group
The Commissioner must approve a GST religious group if the following conditions are met.
The group is made up of two or more entities - see section 49-5 of ANTS (GST) Act 1999.
The entities apply jointly for approval as a GST religious group in the approved form - see paragraph 49-5(a) of ANTS (GST) Act 1999.
Each of the entities satisfies the membership requirements for a GST religious group - see paragraph 49-5(b) of ANTS (GST) Act 1999.
The application nominates one of the entities to be the principal member of the group- see paragraph 49-5? of ANTS (GST) Act 1999.
The principal member is an Australian resident - see paragraph 49-5(d) of ANTS (GST) Act 1999.
Entities must meet the following requirements before being able to form a religious group:
Online information about the screen, field or process you are using. To get screen level help, click on the ‘?’ button.
A company that holds the majority or controlling interest of shares in another company (known as a subsidiary).
A trust that is not a fixed trust but in which a person or persons have fixed entitlements to income or capital of the trust during the income year - that is, the trustee may have some discretion to distribute some part of the income or capital (or both), while entitlement to some part of the income or capital (or both) is fixed under the trust deed.
The process for scanning documents using advanced technology to capture data automatically.
The process of bringing goods into Australia from overseas.
Someone who brings goods into Australia from overseas.
An entity that goes into:
When this happens, a representative is normally appointed to handle the entity’s business affairs. The representative will be a trustee in bankruptcy, liquidator, receiver, receiver and manager, administrator or controller.
Income tax exempt fund (ITEF)
An income tax exempt fund is a non-charitable fund that:
Income tax exempt charity
A charity endorsed by the ATO to access income tax exemption.
Income tax exempt organisation
Organisations that fulfil certain criteria are exempt from paying income tax.
Income tax instalments (ITI)
See pay as you go (PAYG).
Income tax withholding (ITW)
Has the same characteristics as a company but is not incorporated as a corporations law company. It can be:
A three-letter code to define the type of industry an entity is involved in. The code is determined from the information supplied by the applicant and is based upon the main activity of the entity.
See ANZSIC for more information.
Input tax credits
An entity can generally claim a tax credit for the goods and services tax (GST) component of the purchase price of a creditable acquisition - this credit is called an input tax credit and can be offset against the amount of GST an entity may need to pay in the relevant tax period.
A client who is unable to pay debts as and when they fall due for payment.
Instalment activity statement (IAS)
A personalised form issued by the ATO to taxpayers who are not registered for goods and services tax (GST) but have other tax obligations. An IAS is used by these taxpayers to report and pay their obligations for pay as you go (PAYG) instalments, PAYG withholding, fringe benefits tax instalments and deferred company and fund instalments for 1999–2000. Taxpayers are sent an IAS either monthly or quarterly depending on their reporting cycle. An IAS must be lodged with the ATO for each reporting period.
Interactive voice response (IVR)
Used in the ATO call centres to stream calls to the appropriate area - it also allows clients to access information and complete some functions without speaking to an operator.
Under the law, an investment body (such as a bank, building society, unit trust or public company) must withhold TFN amounts (currently 46.5% of the payment) from the interest or dividends payable on an investment if the holder of the investment has not:
Quoting your organisation’s ABN or TFN to your investment body is not compulsory - however, TFN amounts may be withheld if you do not do so. You can quote your ABN or TFN by visiting or writing to your investment body.
See non-entity joint venture.
Standards that must be followed when entering information into the system.
A 'labourer' is a person who is paid for performing a
variety of routine and repetitive physical tasks - they may be skilled,
unskilled or semi-skilled. However, the work they are paid for does not usually
require them to possess formal qualifications, such as those provided by a
TAFE or university.
A 'labourer' is an employee for Commonwealth taxation and
An arrangement where an end user of labour (the client) typically contracts with a labour-hire firm for the provision of labour of a specified kind. The labour-hire firm does not contract to perform the work; it merely contracts with the worker and pays the worker. The worker is not an employee of the client and there is no contract between the worker and the client. The worker may or may not be an employee of the labour-hire firm.
A business that provides workers to other businesses under a labour-hire arrangement. See labour hire arrangement.
The name of the entity that appears on all official documents or legal papers and is not the same as a
registered business name. In the case of an
individual it could be the name which appears on their birth certificate.
Legal Personal Representative – LPR (self-managed superannuation funds)
A LPR can be:
A LPR can act as a trustee on behalf of:
Where the fund has a legal personal representative, the legal personal representative must be a director where the fund has a body corporate trustee or an individual trustee where the fund has individual trustees.
A limited partnership consists of at least one general partner and at least one limited partner. Normally the general partners have unlimited liability, but the limited liability partners are limited to the capital amount they have invested.
See also Venture Capital entities.
The winding-up of a company, realising the assets and discharging the liabilities, settling any questions of account or contribution between the members, and dividing the surplus assets (if any) among the members.
Luxury car tax (LCT)
A tax on luxury cars. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that, following the move to a goods and services tax (GST), the price of luxury cars only falls by about the same amount as a car that is just below the luxury car threshold.
The 45% wholesale sales tax on luxury cars was replaced by a 25% luxury car tax, which is additional to any GST payable on luxury cars.
Main activity description
The main business activity describes the activity from which the business derives most of its business income.
Main business address
See business address.
The industry in which the entity is involved and from which most of the entity’s income is derived.
Main trading name
See trading name.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Mirrored Australian Securities Commission On Time (MASCOT)
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) database that contains details of all Australian Company Numbers (ACNs), Australian Registered Body Numbers (ARBNs) and Australian Registered Scheme Numbers (ARSNs) issued by ASIC.
The National Business Names Registration Service has
replaced state and territory services, meaning businesses only need to register
their name with a single national register.
The new service commenced on 28 May 2012 and is managed and
administered by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
For more information, visit www.asic.gov.au
National number (NAT number)
A national number used to identify ATO forms and other publications.
Non-entity joint venture
An arrangement that the Registrar is satisfied is a contractual arrangement:
An ATO term used to identify entities other than an individual (that is, a natural person). Examples are:
An organisation is non-profit if it is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members - this applies for direct and indirect gains, and both while the organisation is being carried on and on its winding-up.
The ATO accepts an organisation as non-profit if its constitution or governing documents prohibit the distribution of profits or gains to individual members, and its actions are consistent with the prohibition.
Information on the Australian Business Register which is not publicly available - refer to what information will be available on the ABR?
Non-public offer fund
A superannuation fund that has more than four members where the membership is limited to employees of an employer or group of employers.
Non-regulated superannuation fund
This is a superannuation fund that does not satisfy the provisions of section 19 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 - that is, the fund has not made an election to become a regulated superannuation fund and is not intending to make such an election.
The ATO considers an applicant to be a non-resident if they do not meet criteria set out under the definition of resident - see resident.
The form by which a client is advised that a decision has been made or action has been taken, in relation to their application for registration, objection, appeal and so on. The form of notification is usually written.
Office-bearer of a club/association
Any person who holds office in a club or association is an office-bearer. For example:
Official management was a former regime which has been replaced by Voluntary Administration under the Corporations Act 2001. A company has been placed under administration when an administrator has been appointed under the Corporations Act 2001.
An official receiver is appointed to act on behalf of the official trustee of a body corporate to carry out the administration of the body corporate.
The official trustee is a corporation created by the Bankruptcy Act 1966 to act as trustee of an estate where no registered trustee consents to act.
A term meaning connected to a computer network or the internet.
Other incorporated entity
Includes an entity that has the same characteristics as a company but is not incorporated as a corporations law company. This category will include:
A non-individual client, generally an unincorporated company, club or association not registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
Covers all other partnerships that are not limited partnerships or family partnerships.
Other unincorporated entity
A number of people grouped together by a common purpose with club-like characteristics - for example, a sporting club, social club or trade union.
Some club-like characteristics are that:
The meaning of any other unincorporated association or body of persons does not include a non-entity joint venture.
The system or application that owns or created the work item. The owning system must be used to process the contents of the work item.
When goods and services tax (GST) branching is approved, the entity is split (for GST purposes only) into a parent entity and a number of branches.
An individual or entity that has entered into a partnership with others.
An association of persons carrying on a business as partners or in receipt of income jointly, but does not include a company.
A partnership where two or more members are related to each other.
A partnership where the liability of at least one of the partners is limited.
A partnership which consists of two or more people or entities carrying on a business or in receipt of income jointly. Also other partnerships that are not limited partnerships or family partnerships.
Pay as you go (PAYG)
A single integrated system for the reporting and paying of:
Pay as you go (PAYG) income tax withholding (ITW)
Under pay as you go withholding (PAYG withholding), businesses and individuals are required to withhold amounts for particular kinds of payments or transactions, such as payments to employees or payments made to businesses that have not quoted their Australian business number (ABN), and to send amounts withheld to the ATO.
Pay as you go (PAYG) income tax instalments (ITI)
A pay as you go (PAYG) instalment is a system for businesses and individuals to pay instalments of their expected tax liability on their business and investment income for the current income year.
Both PAYG instalments and PAYG withholding are reported on their activity statement.
The governing rules of a superannuation fund provide that the sole or primary purpose of the fund is the provision of old-age pensions.
Pooled development fund
A fund that provides equity capital for eligible activities to resident Australian companies with total assets not exceeding $50 million. The registering authority for these funds is the Pooled Development Funds Registration Board. No new funds can be registered after September 2007.
Pooled superannuation trust (PST)
A PST is a unit trust which is used only for investing assets of regulated superannuation funds, approved deposit funds, other PSTs and certain other specified entities. PSTs are regulated by APRA.
Indicates the relationship of the associate to the entity applying for the Australian business number (ABN).
Position held is one of the following:
Postal address for service of notices
The postal address provided is used to contact the client by mail. Important legal notices and activity statements will be sent to this address.
The postal address contains either a:
It may also be:
The address nominated must be the most appropriate address for receiving this type of mail.
The operator of the business who sold it to the current owner.
The type of entity as compared to the current entity - for example, the previous structure may have been a partnership and the current structure may be a company.
Secret part, key or mathematical construct from a pair of keys which together form the basis of public key technologies - refer to public key.
Projected GST turnover
The value of all supplies made or likely to be made in the current month plus the next 11 months. Refer to section 188-20 of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (ANTS (GST) Act 1999).
Proof of identity (POI)
Proof that can be verified by the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) that the person has the authority to access non-public ABR data.
Every property transaction potentially has a tax consideration and property developers who are registered for GST, or required to be registered (on turnover level), need to be aware of the tax implications of a specific property transaction. For GST obligations regarding property transactions, refer to www.ato.gov.au/GST
A person appointed temporarily to carry out the winding up of the fund.
Information on the Australian Business Register (ABR) that is publicly available - refer to what information will be available on the ABR?
Public offer fund
A superannuation fund that can be joined by members of the public. It is a regulated fund consisting of pooled superannuation sold commercially - for example, through life companies, bank subsidiaries or financial planners.
This category includes master trusts (where a large number of unconnected individuals or companies operate their superannuation arrangements under a single common trust deed) and personal superannuation products.
A company’s public officer is answerable for all actions on behalf of the company. Every company is required to appoint a public officer, for tax purposes only, within three months of commencing a business.
Public sector fund
A superannuation fund that forms part of a public sector superannuation scheme.
Public sector superannuation scheme
A superannuation scheme established by or under:
Public trading trust
A trust that:
Public unit trust
A trust whose units are:
Public unit trusts need to be further classified for statistical purposes into those that are listed (on the stock exchange) and those that are unlisted.
Any of the units are listed for quotation with the stock exchange.
None of the units are listed for quotation with the stock exchange.
When a cancelled Australian business number (ABN) record is reactivated or restored to an active status - usually, reactivation occurs when the client becomes entitled to, and applies for, an ABN as a result of resuming an enterprise.
A person, usually appointed by a court, to collect and receive debts and other assets of a body corporate.
A receiver is also a manager if the receiver manages or has under the terms of the receiver’s appointment, power to manage the affairs of the company.
A new partnership formed by changing one or more partners in an existing partnership. A reconstituted partnership is regarded as a new entity.
An application for registration or cancellation can be refused for various reasons - for example:
A unique identifying number issued to entities who are refused Australian business number (ABN) registration.
Registrable Superannuation Entity (RSE)
A registrable superannuation entity (RSE) is a regulated superannuation fund or an approved deposit fund or a pooled superannuation trust, but does not include a self-managed superannuation fund. Registration of RSEs is affected under Part 2B of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the SIS Act).
The person responsible for the maintenance of the Australian Business Register (ABR) - the Registrar is currently the Commissioner of Taxation.
The section of Operations that processes all registrations for non-individual and individual clients.
Occurs when the Registrar is satisfied that a client’s Australian business number (ABN) registration should not have been cancelled. Reinstatement changes the ABN status back to ‘Active’ as if the ABN had not been cancelled.
Representative - GST
For goods and services tax (GST), a representative means:
Representative - AUSkey
For AUSkey registration, a representative is an individual who has been nominated by a business for the purpose of facilitating electronic interactions by the business with government agencies.
Residency is a question of fact and not law, but the ATO generally considers an applicant to be a resident for tax purposes if:
For goods and services tax (GST), this means an agent that is an Australian resident acting on behalf of a non-resident entity.
Resident superannuation fund
A superannuation fund is a resident fund at a particular time if all of the following conditions apply at all times during the year of income when it was in existence:
Note: A superannuation fund will satisfy the central management and control condition for residency if its trustees are temporarily absent from Australia for a period not exceeding two years. A trustee temporarily returning to Australia for 28 days or less is deemed to have been outside Australia for that period. Short trips back to Australia cannot be used to re-trigger the two year period by returning for 28 days or less - for example, a trustee leaves Australia on 1 January 2002, returns on 1 January 2003 for 27 days, and leaves again, before finally returning on 1 February 2004. In this case, the trustee is considered to have been outside Australia from 1 January 2002 to 1 February 2004, a period of greater than two years.
Resident unit trust
A unit trust is a resident unit trust in relation to a year of income if, at any time during that year either:
This is a normal trust which has specific details in its trust deed to indicate that it can be altered or revoked so that the settler may acquire a beneficial interest in the trust.
The tax definition of royalty is wide and includes amounts that may not be royalties within the ordinary meaning of that term.
It includes any amount paid or credited, however described or computed, and whether the payment or credit is periodical or not, to the extent to which it is paid or credited, as the case may be, as consideration for:
A number of other types of supplies fall within the definition.
An RSE Licensee is a constitutional corporation, body corporate, or group of individual trustees, that hold an RSE Licence granted by APRA under section 29D of the SIS Act.
Secure sockets layer (SSL)
Provides secure connections by encrypting the data exchanged (over the internet) between a client and the Australian Business Register (ABR).
Self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF)
Refer to ATO self managed superannuation fund.
Separate legal entity
An entity that has a separate identity from its members and can sue or be sued in its own right - for example, a company that is separately identifiable from its shareholders.
Service level agreement (SLA)
Establishes the conditions of the interactions between agencies and the Australian Business Register (ABR). The conditions cover levels of service and standards by which both parties are bound.
Service of notice address
Refer to postal address for service of notices.
Services include any benefit, right (including a right in relation to, and an interest in, real or personal property), privilege or facility.
Short-term business end date
The date the applicant intends to cease operating if the business will be short term - that is, three months or less.
Small Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) fund
A superannuation fund that has fewer than five members and the trustee is approved under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
Small withholder – PAYG withholding
An entity that withholds $25,000 or less during a financial year under the pay as you go (PAYG) system. A small withholder reports and sends PAYG amounts withheld on an activity statement every quarter.
A person running a business as an individual. This is the simplest business structure. If you operate your business as a sole trader, although you may decide to have employees, you trade, control and manage all aspects of your business.
For more information about tax responsibilities for sole traders, refer to Choosing the right business structure (NAT 72538).
A strata title is where a title to a piece of property is divided into a number of units. In some cases, not all of the property is divided into saleable units but is retained as common property for all unit holders to use.
A contractor who enters into a contract for service with another contractor. The contract is usually to achieve a result by carrying out specified work for the other party at an agreed price - refer to contractor.
Enables agencies to register with the Australian Business Register (ABR) so they can be notified of changes in information stored on the ABR.
Subscribing to a client or business event enables agencies to monitor changes in information stored on the ABR database in relation to a client or a business event.
Allows agencies to limit the Australian Business Register (ABR) data they receive by refining certain selections made for a subscription such as state of operation or entity type.
A company controlled by another company through the composition of the board of directors, by having more than half the voting power or by owning more than half the issued capital of the company.
Substituted accounting period (SAP)
A substituted accounting period for income tax purposes is where a balance date other than the usual balance date of 30 June is used to account for income tax.
A superannuation fund is either:
A very broad concept for goods and services tax (GST) purposes that includes:
The Registrar decides not to disclose part of a client’s record on the Australian Business Register (ABR) to the public or government departments.
Clients can apply for details entered in the ABR to be suppressed.
It applies to clients who feel they and their families may be at risk if their details are available to the public on the ABR due, for example, to:
Tax agent number (TAN)
A unique number allocated to tax agents when they are registered by the Tax Practitioners’ Board.
Tax Practitioners Board (TPB)
The Tax Practitioners Board (Board) is a national
Board responsible for the registration and regulation of tax practitioners and
for ensuring compliance with the Tax Agent Services Act
2009 (TASA), including the Code
of Professional Conduct (Code).
Tax concession charity (TCC)
A tax concession charity is a charity that is endorsed to access one or more of the following concessions:
Tax file number (TFN)
A unique number issued by the ATO to individuals and organisations to increase the efficiency in administering tax and other Commonwealth government systems such as income support payments. It is also used as the identifier for their income tax role.
Goods and services tax (GST) is paid only on taxable supplies. Entities make a taxable supply if they are registered or required to be registered for GST and:
A supply that is GST-free or input taxed is not a taxable supply. Refer to supply.
Someone who carries on an enterprise that includes transporting fare-paying passengers by taxi or limousine.
The Taxpayers’ Charter is a document which describes the ways that ATO staff will relate to their customers. It also spells out the existing rights and responsibilities of customers.
The Charter provides standards for ATO staff to uphold when dealing with clients. It also outlines the existing rights, responsibilities and obligations of clients. The Charter supplies details of what clients can do if they are dissatisfied with the ATO decisions, actions or service, or wish to make a complaint.
Temporary Australian business number (ABN)
Clients can deem refusal of an Australian business number (ABN) if it is not processed within 28 days. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) can order the Registrar to register the client pending the determination of the application for review. A temporary ABN will be allocated in these cases.
A testamentary trust is one that resulted from:
A ‘trades assistant’ is an industry term used to describe an unqualified, unskilled or semi-skilled person who helps a contractor or an employer (or an employee of the employer) do their work.
Trades assistants are not required to provide materials and equipment. However, they may provide less costly hand tools for their work. The main activity or service these workers provide is their labour.
A trades assistant is an employee for Commonwealth taxation and superannuation purposes, especially if the work they perform is in the formwork, scaffolding, steel-fixing, concreting or bricklaying trades.
A trading trust for the purpose of a public trading trust is a trust that carries on a business that does not consist wholly of:
An Australian Business Register (ABR) registration or maintenance processing event.
A record of each and every event (alteration to a client’s record) that has taken place. The purpose of transaction history is to maintain an audit trail of all actions taken on a client’s record.
One of the non-individual client types recorded in the system. A trust is a fiduciary relationship where a trustee holds property or income for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). A trust is not a separate legal entity. See also:
Is an individual or corporation that holds property or income in accordance with the trust deed for a particular purpose or purposes, or for the benefit of other people or classes of people who may or may not include the trustee. See trust.
Ultimate holding company
A company is the ultimate holding company of a wholly-owned group if it is not a 100% subsidiary of another company in the group.
A person that has not been released from bankruptcy. This includes undischarged bankrupts under Commonwealth law or the equivalent law of an external territory or foreign country.
Uniform resource locator (URL) address
The specific address of a website on the internet.
Venture Capital entities
A venture capital entity may take the form of a Venture Capital Limited Partnership (VCLP), Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP), Venture Capital Management Partnership (VCMP) or Australian Venture Capital Fund of Funds (AFOF).
A limited partnership that is registered as a VCLP, an ESVCLP or an AFOF, or which is a VCMP, is taxed as an ordinary partnership under Division 5 of Part III of the ITAA 1936 and not as a corporate limited partnership. This means it is ‘flow-through’ or ‘look-through’ for tax purposes and the partners are taxed on their share of the net income of the partnership.
Refer to the AusIndustry website www.ausindustry.gov.au which lists all registered VCLPs, ESVCLPs and AFOFs. If the applicant is listed, email the Innovation Segment – LBI, Waymouth (InnovationTax@ato.gov.au) and request confirmation and email endorsement of the entity’s venture capital status. These applications will then be processed by the ATO's Non-resident team in our Newcastle office.
If the entity does not appear on the AusIndustry website and is not identified by the applicant as a venture capital entity when contacted, treat as a normal registration and continue to process - you do not need to contact the LB&I Innovation Segment.
A pay as you go (PAYG) voluntary agreement is a written agreement between a business (the payer) and a worker (the payee) to bring payments for work or services into the PAYG withholding system. The worker must be an individual who has an Australian business number (ABN) and the payments must not be subject to any other PAYG withholding.
Under the voluntary agreement, the payer will withhold an amount from payments it makes to the worker and send amounts withheld to the ATO.
The worker is not required to include any income subject to a voluntary agreement to withhold in their instalment income for the purposes of paying PAYG instalments.
Entities may choose to register for goods and services tax (GST) if their GST turnover is below the registration turnover threshold of $75,000 (below $150,000 for non-profit organisations) and they are carrying on an enterprise or intend to do so. If they choose to register, they must stay registered for at least 12 months.
Wine equalisation tax (WET)
Wine equalisation tax (WET) is a value-based tax that is applied to wine consumed in Australia. It applies to assessable dealings with wine (unless an exemption applies) which include wholesale sales, untaxed retail sales and applications to own use.
The process of withholding amounts from certain pay as you go (PAYG) payments to others and sending these amounts to the ATO.
Wound up company
The company has ceased to exist that is, it has ceased trading and has deregistered) or actions have started to wind up the company - for example, a court orders the company to wind up, or the shareholders have decided to wind up the company.
Withholding payer number (WPN)
A withholding payer number (WPN) is allocated to clients who have withholding obligations under pay as you go (PAYG) withholding, but do not have an Australian business number (ABN) - for example, private individuals not carrying on an enterprise employing a nanny or housekeeper would be allocated a WPN.
The electronic version of this document is the only authorised version.
Last updated: 24/05/2013
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