ABR Help Topics
Not all entities are entitled to an Australian business number (ABN) . To be entitled to an ABN the entity must meet either criterion 1 or criterion 2.
The entity is entitled to an ABN if it is a:
The entity is entitled to an ABN if the following statements apply:
For partnerships where all or most of the partners are individuals, a reasonable expectation of profit must apply.
If the entity does not meet criterion 1 or 2 it is not entitled to an ABN.
If you are an individual applying for an ABN, check your
entitlement to register here.
You are entitled to an ABN if all of the following statements apply.
The following examples will also assist you to determine your entitlement to an ABN:
Under A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (ABN Act), a body registered as a company under the Corporations Act 2001, is entitled to an ABN even if it is non-trading.
Under the ABN Act, a company registered under the Corporations Act 2001, is entitled to have an ABN even if it is an incapacitated entity.
Individuals are entitled to an ABN providing they are
carrying on an enterprise in Australia
under subsection 8(1) ABN
For trustees appointed to administer bankrupt individuals on or after 1 April 2002, the trustee will no longer be able to use the ABN of the individual. They will have to apply for a new ABN which will be used for all matters arising under the administration.
There are circumstances where a non-resident entity can have an ABN. An example of this is when making supplies connected with Australia in the course of carrying on an enterprise. The main difference is in providing the proof of identity at
registrations (POI) of a non-resident entity, as the entity behind the ‘entity’ can’t always be established. More information may be needed before a non-resident can be registered for an ABN. The Registrar will contact you if more information is needed.
For more information about the type of documents that may be
required, refer to Proof of identity - for individuals and businesses resident outside Australia.
Some joint ventures will not involve the establishment of a separate entity and these non-entity joint ventures are not eligible to apply for an ABN.
Non-entity joint venture means an arrangement that the Registrar is satisfied is a contractual arrangement:
However, some joint ventures can apply to be GST joint ventures. Each application will nominate an entity to be the joint venture operator. The joint venture operator is then:
To discuss entitlement to an ABN, you can phone us on 13 28 66 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.
When applying for an ABN it is important that the
information you provide is true and correct.
Making a false or misleading statement to the Australian
Business Register (ABR) may result in a penalty.
However, if you
made a mistake and we consider that you took reasonable care, a penalty will
not apply. The penalty may also be reduced to nil if a
voluntary disclosure is made about the statement before being contacted by the
The electronic version of this document is the only authorised version.
Last updated: 18/12/2012
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