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13 July 2023 - 2 min read

ABN (Australian Business Number)

If you're starting a business, it’s essential that you obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN). The ABN is a unique identifier assigned to businesses and is a key element in interactions with the Australian government, suppliers, and customers.

Using your personal vehicle for business purposes? Driversnote is a great way of keeping an accurate vehicle log book of your business travel so you can claim your business-related kilometres at tax time.

What is an Australian Business Number (ABN)?

The Australian Business Number (ABN) is an 11-digit unique identifier issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR). It is designed to streamline business interactions by identifying your business to others when ordering and invoicing. It is also used to avoid PAYG (pay as you go) tax, claim GST credits or energy grant credits, and acquire an Australian domain name.


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How to get an Australian Business Number

Getting an ABN is quite straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to obtain one:

  1. Determine your eligibility: Before applying for an ABN, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria. Generally, you need to be carrying on a business or intending to do so in the near future.
  2. Gather the required information: You'll need details such as your business structure, contact information, the nature of your business activities, tax file number, and any associates' details. Additionally, if you're registering as a company, you'll need the Australian Company Number (ACN).
  3. Apply online or by phone: The most convenient way to apply for an ABN is through the ABR website. Alternatively, you can call the Australian Business Register and apply over the phone.
  4. Complete and submit the application: Provide accurate and up-to-date information in the application form. Ensure that you carefully read and understand each question before answering. Once you've completed the application, submit it online or over the phone. The system will generate a reference number for your application.

After submitting your application, the Australian Business Register will review it. You will receive your ABN via the preferred contact method you've indicated in your application if you’ve met all requirements.

How long does it take to get an Australian Business Number?

The time it takes to receive your ABN can vary. In most cases, you can expect to receive it within 20 business days from the date your application is submitted. However, many applications are processed faster, often within a few business days. You can check the status of your application with the ABN Lookup tool on the ABR website.


Registering for an ABN is free. However, note that additional costs may arise if you decide to use professional assistance, such as a tax agent or accountant to help you with the registration process.
While both the ABN and ACN serve as identification numbers in Australia, the ABN is for all types of businesses and entities engaged in business activities, while the ACN is specifically for registered companies under the Corporations Act. The ABN number is used for various purposes such as including interacting with the government, registering for GST, and conducting business transactions. The ACN number specifically identifies companies registered under the Corporations Act and is used primarily for legal and administrative purposes related to company operations.

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