ABR Help Topics
AUSkey is a common authentication solution for business-to-government online services.
Rather than needing different user IDs and passwords to access each online service that you use on behalf of your business, your AUSkey will give you access to all participating online services.
AUSkey is a small piece of software (saved to your computer or a USB stick) that you can use to:
To learn about SBR-enabled lodgment, go to www.sbr.gov.au
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AUSkeys are issued to people who work for or who are associated with businesses in Australia.
Your business must have an Australian business number (ABN) for its staff to be eligible for AUSkeys.
If you have more than one ABN, will need a separate AUSkey for each ABN.
The first person in your business to receive an AUSkey will get an Administrator AUSkey.
You must be listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR) in one of the following capacities to:
Eligible to complete the registration form at www.abr.gov.au/auskey
Company or incorporated association
Public officer or director.
Unincorporated association or body of persons (for example, sporting club, social club or trade union) or not for profit
The office holder for an unincorporated association or body of persons is a member of the committee of management. For example, someone who occupies the position of:
A public officer must be appointed if the unincorporated association or body of persons is carrying on a business.
School (unless operating as a company)
Named partners only.
Trustee for the trust.
If the trustee is a company, it is the public officer.
Trustee for the entity.
Executor, executrix or administrator of the deceased estate.
Government agency or entity
Chief executive officer or authorised contact.
Sole trader (Individual)
Only that individual.
Administrator AUSkey holders need to be people you can trust. They have the ability to:
Some government agencies give AUSkey holders automatic access and privileges in relation to their online services. Please contact the government agencies you deal with for more detailed information about what AUSkey holders can do in their online systems. This information should factor into your decision about who should have Administrator AUSkeys.
Once you have an Administrator AUSkey holder, you should rely on them to set other people in the business up with AUSkeys.
How to register people for AUSkeys if you have an AUSkey Administrator
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No, you cannot share your AUSkey. It is a breach of the terms and conditions you agree to when you install your AUSkey. Each of your staff will need to register for their own.
When you install your AUSkey, you will be asked to select a password. You must not share your password with anyone and you should change it regularly at www.abr.gov.au/auskey
If your staff share the same computer, each person should set up their own profile or account to prevent inappropriate use or access of another AUSkey stored on that computer.
There are three types of AUSkey:
Standard AUSkeys will be suitable for most people within your organisation.
They allow access to most government online services with the exception of your business details on the Australian Business Register. Staff members who need to access the ABR will need Administrator AUSkeys.
Standard AUSkey holders can login to www.abr.gov.au/auskey and do the following in relation to their own AUSkey:
Using Standard AUSkeys to interact with government
What Standard AUSkey holders can do with their AUSkey will vary from agency to agency.
Some agencies will give them automatic access to their online services. Others may require them to have their access activated by someone of authority in the business before they can get started.
Subject to permissions, Standard AUSkey holders will have the ability to access and change the tax information of your business.
Please contact the government agencies you would like to deal with for more detailed information about what Standard AUSkey holders can do in their online systems.
Administrator AUSkey holders have extra abilities over and above Standard AUSkey holders.
They can view and manage all AUSkeys associated with the business when they login to www.abr.gov.au/auskey
They also have the ability to register others in the business for AUSkeys.
The first person to get an AUSkey in your organisation will receive an Administrator AUSkey. After that, they can login to www.abr.gov.au/auskey and set up the rest of the business with AUSkeys.
How many Administrator AUSkey holders does each business need?
As Administrator AUSkey holders can sponsor new AUSkeys in the business, we recommend you keep them to a minimum. You will find that Standard AUSkeys are suitable for most people in your business. If you minimise the number of Administrators, you make it easier to keep control over the access your staff have to your business information.
What should I consider when choosing my Administrators?
Administrator AUSkey holders need to be people you trust. They have the ability to sponsor new AUSkeys for the business, update your ABN record at www.abr.gov.au and change your business information (including taxation information held by the ATO).
Using Administrator AUSkeys to interact with government
What Administrator AUSkey holders can do with their AUSkey will vary from agency to agency.
Once your business has an Administrator AUSkey holder, you are eligible to register for a Device AUSkey for your business.
If your business operates over a network or has download restrictions, a Device AUSkey may suit your needs. A Device AUSkey is saved on your server and identifies the business as a whole rather than individuals within the business. This means your staff do not need to worry about having or maintaining their own AUSkeys.
We recommend talking to your IT administrator before registering for a Device AUSkey to confirm its suitability for your IT environment.
Limitations of Device AUSkeys
At this time, Device AUSkeys are restricted to lodging reports to government through Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled software.
If you want to lodge through online services other than SBR-enabled software, for example, the ATO's Business Portal, the staff who perform this role for you will need Administrator or Standard AUSkeys for that purpose.
Please contact the government agencies you deal with directly for advice on whether they accept Device AUSkeys for the lodgments your business makes.
Your AUSkey will not expire as long as you use it at least once every 12 months.
In the event that your AUSkey does expire and you would like to continue to have one, you will need to register for a new one.
You should cancel your AUSkey when you:
When you cancel your AUSkey, any other AUSkeys you have for the same ABN will also be cancelled. You will no longer be able to use them to login to government online services.
You have an AUSkey on your computer and an AUSkey on a USB stick. Both are attached to the same ABN. If you cancel the AUSkey on your computer, the AUSkey on your USB stick will also stop working.
You have two ABNs and have an AUSkey for each. If you cancel the AUSkey associate with the first AUSkey, the second AUSkey will continue to work.
This is because they are associated with two different business entities.
Cancelling your personal AUSkey (Standard or Administrator) will not automatically cancel a Device AUSkey for which you are the custodian.
Instead, all AUSkey Administrators in the business will be notified by email that a new custodian needs to be assigned to the Device AUSkey. This can be done by logging in to www.abr.gov.au/auskey. After 30 days, if nobody has nominated a new custodian, the Device AUSkey will automatically be cancelled.
If you cancel a Device AUSkey, it will not cancel your personal AUSkey or any other Device AUSkeys assigned to you with different names.
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You can lodge an objection if the Registrar of the Australian Business Register:
More information about objections
Eligible to complete the registration form at www.abr.gov.au/auskey
When you register for an AUSkey, we match the details you supply against our records. If the details do not match, we will email you and ask you to phone us so we can verify your identity.
You need to be prepared to provide the following details:
You are not legally required to provide your personal tax file number (TFN) however, providing it will make it quicker and easier for us to help you.
Administrator AUSkey holders can lodge bulk registration requests for up to 500 Standard AUSkeys in a single transaction.
For each person, you must provide:
Once the request has been successfully processed, each person listed will receive an email containing instructions for installing their AUSkey.
If you nominate someone who already has an AUSkey for your business, they will automatically be excluded from this registration process.
If there is more than one ABN involved, you will need to submit a separate bulk registration request for each ABN.
AUSkeys are linked to your ABN. You can only register several people for Standard AUSkeys in a single transaction if they are associated with the same ABN.
You must hold an Administrator AUSkey to register for a Device AUSkey. To register:
During the registration process, you will need to provide the relevant IP address or server name.
You will also need to nominate either yourself or someone with a Standard or Administrator AUSkey to act as the custodian of the Device AUSkey. This person is responsible for installing and managing the AUSkey.
We recommend you talk to your IT Administrator before registering for a Device AUSkey to confirm it is suitable for your environment.
If you are sharing a computer with someone who has an AUSkey, you must first set up your own profile/user account on your computer before you install your AUSkey.
You need to install AUSkey software on each computer where you would like to use your AUSkey. This is the case even if you are using a roaming profile.
(a) If a web page titled ‘AUSkey software’ opens, choose the version of AUSkey software that is appropriate for your operating system.
Double click on the file you have downloaded to install it to your computer.
(b) If you are not redirected to the AUSkey software download page, it means a copy has already been installed on your computer.
The AUSkey installer will automatically skip you ahead to 'Step 2 Install your AUSkey'.
You will need the activation code you printed or saved during the registration process to activate your AUSkey.
You need to install AUSkey software on your USB stick before you can install your AUSkey. If the software has already been installed on the USB stick, you will not need to do it again. Each AUSkey holder should have a separate USB stick for their AUSkey.
To install a Standard or Administrator AUSkey on a USB stick:
Your Device AUSkey's custodian is responsible for installing your Device AUSkey.
Device AUSkeys can be installed:
Device AUSkeys can only be used for lodging reports directly to government through SBR-enabled software. For this reason, you should check your software manual to see if your software provider has a preferred location for the Device AUSkey. You will be prompted to specify a location during installation.
If your software provider does not specify where to save your Device AUSkey, we recommend choosing a location and file name. This makes the Device AUSkey easy to find later if you need to transfer it to a different location.
If you do not specify a location when prompted, the AUSkey installer will choose for you.
It is highly advisable to seek assistance from your IT administrator when trying to install a Device AUSkey.
AUSkeys can be used on a network. A personal AUSkey (Standard or Administrator) is automatically stored under the login profile that is open when it is installed.
If your staff have roaming profiles set up for their network login, their AUSkey will be stored under their roaming profile. Their roaming profile controls how they login to Windows.
Your staff can access their AUSkey from any computer accessible by that Windows login. However, the AUSkey software will need to be installed on each computer that they want to use.
A Device AUSkey is different. As it is designed for lodging reports to government through SBR-enabled software, you should seek advice from your software provider as to whether a Device AUSkey is suitable for you.
You will be prompted to choose an install location when you download your Device AUSkey. Check your software manual and seek the advice of your IT administrator before attempting this task.
Your AUSkey is saved to a key store. We recommend backing up your key store every six months so you can restore your AUSkey if your computer system crashes.
To do this, you will need to make a copy of the AUSkey keystore.xml file.
You can find that file in the following locations:
Windows XP/2003 Server
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\AUSkey
USB Drive\AUSkey OR AUSkey Browser\AUSkey
If you use a Windows operating system and you cannot find your keystore.xml file, you may need to enable the View hidden files and folders functionality of your computer.
Some government agencies need you to go through a one-time process to link your AUSkey to their systems. This is so their systems will recognise your AUSkey when you login and/or lodge reports via SBR-enabled software. The process will vary from agency to agency.
If an agency is listed as 'No link required', it means that your AUSkey will work with their online services immediately after installation.
You can come back to the Link AUSkey to government page at any time and set yourself up to deal with additional government agencies. You are not restricted to working with the ones that you link to when you first install your AUSkey.
You will be automatically re-directed to the AUSkey software download page during installation if you require it.
However, you may find you need an additional copy of the AUSkey software post-installation.
You can access the AUSkey software installers at any time from www.abr.gov.au/auskey . Select AUSkey software from the left hand menu.
For security reasons, each 'download and install' email you receive for your AUSkey will only work once.
If you want to install your AUSkey in several locations (for example, on your computer and a USB stick), you will need to request an additional copy of your AUSkey so you can install it in the second location.
We'll send an installation email to the email address you nominate. To install your AUSkey to the new location, simply open the email and follow its instructions.
Don't forget that you will need to install a copy of the AUSkey software in the new location before you can successfully install your AUSkey. You'll find all current versions of the AUSkey software at www.abr.gov.au/auskey on the AUSkey software page.
If you forget to use the special browser and try to login using a regular browser, the online service will behave as if you do not have an AUSkey. This does not mean your AUSkey has been damaged - it just hasn't been detected. Simply close the browser and follow the instructions above.
Login to www.abr.gov.au/auskey and select Change password from the left hand menu. Your password is only known to you. For this reason, it cannot be reset.
If you forget your password, you will need to register for a new AUSkey.
If you need to change the privilege level assigned to your AUSkey (Standard or Administrator), please see your AUSkey Administrator.
You will be notified by email when the request has been actioned.
If you request an upgrade from a Standard to an Administrator AUSkey, you will need to provide some additional information to confirm your identity. The email will explain how to provide this information.
To change a person's privilege level:
Upgrades will only be successful once the AUSkey holder confirms their identity with us. They will receive an email explaining how to do this.
If you have changed your name and would like your AUSkey to reflect your new name, you will need to cancel your AUSkey and register for a new one.
Once you have installed your AUSkey on a computer or USB stick, you can order a copy for another computer or USB stick through the AUSkey website.
Please see how to request an additional copy of your AUSkey for instructions.
If you are disposing of the original computer or USB stick, we recommend you delete your AUSkey from that location .
Any AUSkey holder can login to www.abr.gov.au/auskey and cancel their own AUSkey.
Once you have cancelled your AUSkey, you will need to delete it from your computer or USB stick.
You can also cancel any AUSkey associated with your business:
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We recommend that you regularly review the AUSkeys stored on your computer or USB stick and delete any that have expired or have been cancelled. This is especially important if you are going to dispose of your computer or USB stick.
If you no longer have an active AUSkey and cannot login to www.abr.gov.au/auskey, please read backup your AUSkey to find out where to find your AUSkey files. You can delete them as you would any other file on your computer or USB stick.
AUSkey is compatible with many operating systems and browsers. To find out which operating systems and browsers work with AUSkey, go to Technical support .
You need Java runtime installed on your computer to use AUSkey successfully. Java runtime is no longer automatically installed as part of the Mac operating system.
If you are using Mac OS 10.7, you will need to complete the following steps to use your AUSkey:
Open Java Preferences
If Java is installed, skip ahead to step 4.
If Java is not installed, you will see the following message.
The following screen will display during installation.
If you have just installed Java, you may find that the 64 bit version appears at the top of the list.
We recommend dragging the 32 bit version to the top of the list (select and hold, then move up).
If you have multiple versions of the 32 bit Java installed, you need to drag the most recent version to the top.
If you use Internet Explorer, you will need to enable its ActiveX capabilities to use the AUSkey website. If ActiveX is disabled on your computer, you may see this bar at the top of Internet Explorer:
Selecting this bar will allow you to enable ActiveX. If you are unable to enable ActiveX, you should seek help from your technical support area.
If you use Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8, you may see this bar at the top of Internet Explorer:
The AUSkey installation process relies on you being able to download some software and your AUSkey to your computer or a USB stick. If your business has IT system restrictions, you should consult your IT system administrator to determine alternative registration and installation arrangements for your IT environment.
The antivirus software you use to protect your computer may inhibit you from downloading your AUSkey or AUSkey software. You should run a live update of your antivirus software and (if necessary) add AUSkey to the exemption list of your anti-virus software. If you still experience difficulty, contact us .
Your activation code is presented to you on screen once you have submitted your AUSkey application. For security reasons, your activation code cannot be reissued. If you lose it you will need to register for a new AUSkey.
If you were registering for an Administrator AUSkey and you have lost the download and installation email, you can contact us and request that your email be resent.
Ensure you still have the activation code before you call. If you have not kept the activation code, you will need to register again or contact the person who initiated the registration process for you.
If you were registering for a Standard AUSkey and you have lost the download and installation email, contact an Administrator AUSkey holder in your business and ask them to:
If you don’t receive an email within 24 hours of completing your AUSkey registration, check to see if the email is quarantined in your junk email folder.
If this is not the problem, please contact us.
You will need to quote the reference number you received when you registered.
To confirm your identity, you may be asked to provide:
Ensure you have the activation code before you call. If you have not kept the activation code, you will need to register again or contact the person who initiated the registration on your behalf.
Check that you are using a computer with both the AUSkey software and your AUSkey installed on it.
If the computer you are using does not have both these items installed on it, you may see a message on-screen advising you to download your AUSkey.
If your AUSkey is installed on a USB stick, make sure it is plugged in properly.
To ensure AUSkey-compliant online services can detect your AUSkey, you must login using the special browser on your USB stick.
1. Look for the AUSkey browser (.exe) file on your USB stick and double click on it to open a browser.
2. Use your favourite AUSkey-compliant online service as normal.
It may have expired or been cancelled.
Unless you delete them, expired and cancelled AUSkeys will continue to appear in the list of AUSkeys you can select from when you login.
Check with the government agency who owns the online service to ensure that it is working. You may be unable to login because the website is temporarily down for maintenance.
Most government agencies have a systems' maintenance page on their website to advise you about planned and unexpected outages.
If you forget your AUSkey password, you will need to register for a new AUSkey.
When installing the new AUSkey:
If you had AUSkeys for other ABNs stored in your user account you will need to register for them again.
If your computer or USB stick is lost or stolen, you should cancel your existing AUSkey immediately. An Administrator AUSkey holder can do this for you.
If there is no AUSkey Administrator in your business, contact us and we will cancel your AUSkey for you. You will need to confirm your identity.
If your AUSkey has been corrupted, you should register for a new one. You should also delete the corrupted AUSkey from your computer or USB stick.
You will receive an 'operating system not supported' message if you are using a combination of browser and operating system we have not tested against. This does not mean you cannot continue. We are just making you aware that we have not tested against this combination and cannot guarantee that the relevant system will work reliably.
In most cases, you simply need to wait a short time, or click Ok to continue.
To find out which combination of operating systems and browsers we have tested against, go to technical information.
There are a number of issues that could occur when trying to register for or download an AUSkey. Some of these are related to your computer.
The following suggestions are the most common solutions. Please refer to your computer operating system manual for instructions about how to perform these actions.
If you are sharing a computer with someone who has an AUSkey, you must first set up your own profile/user account on your computer.
The new administrator user account will be created.
When you download your AUSkey or login to an online service with an AUSkey, we will automatically check whether you have AUSkey software installed on your computer. If we do not detect the AUSkey software, we will redirect you to the AUSkey software installation page.
When you want to access the AUSkey website you should always type www.abr.gov.au/auskey into the address bar of your browser.
You will be diverted to the web address:
The important thing to notice about that web address is that it begins in ‘https’. This means the connection between your computer and the AUSkey website will be encrypted.
To protect your identity and sensitive business information,
you should manage your AUSkeys carefully. Failing to do so could expose your
business to serious risks, including:
How you set up AUSkey within your business will depend on
factors such as its size, the complexity of its affairs and the roles of your staff.
Because there is no limit to the number of AUSkeys a
business can hold, you need to work out the best fit for your business. You
should decide who should hold AUSkeys and what type of access each holder
To protect the security of your identity and business
information, you should:
For more information about safeguarding the security of your
business information, visit:
and read the Protecting your identity information
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Some government online services that accept AUSkey may be provided
through the ‘cloud’. Additionally, your business may be using a cloud computing
provider to service all or some of your information technology needs.
Cloud computing provides users with on-demand network access
to a pool of configurable computing resources, such as networks, servers,
storage, applications and services, that can be provisioned and released with
minimal management effort or interaction with the service provider. Cloud computing is usually categorised into
the following services:
If you choose to use one of these services, you remain
responsible for managing your AUSkeys.
You should ensure your AUSkey holders:
You should also be aware of:
Depending on the type of AUSkey your holders have, you
should be aware of the implications and your options to best manage AUSkeys in
your business when using cloud computing services.
Before you use your AUSkey to login to a web service or submit information through an e-service, you should look for the padlock icon and check the server’s security certificate.
Bottom right hand corner of the browser.
Top right hand corner of the browser.
Firefox has a site identity button rather than a padlock icon. You’ll find it on the left hand side of the browser’s address bar.
A secure website will have a locked padlock icon, or site identity button, displayed on the browser. Click on the padlock, or site identity button, to check that the website’s security certificate is valid and up-to-date.
The padlock icon means that the link between your computer and the website will be secure and any information you submit will be encrypted.
Example for AUSkey website (www.abr.gov.au/auskey)
You will find comprehensive information about protecting yourself from hacking at www.staysmartonline.gov.au however here are some general tips that apply to all internet users:
Microsoft Windows – use Windows Update http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
Apple Mac OS X – Use 'Software Update' within Finder.
Updates are released monthly but may come more frequently if there is an urgent need. You can configure you computer to automatically download and install updates.
The electronic version of this document is the only authorised version.
Last updated: 7/08/2012
© Commonwealth of Australia
© Australian Business Register for the Commonwealth of AustraliaYou are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute this material as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the ABR or the Commonwealth endorses you or any of your services or products).You are not permitted to use the ABR website to sell a product or service or to increase traffic to your website.AUSkey is a registered trademark.