How to Get an ABN: A Step-by-Step Guide to Business Registration

If you’re operating a business in Australia, obtaining an Australian Business Number (ABN) is crucial. This 11-digit identifier streamlines various aspects of your business, from invoicing to tax obligations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining an ABN and the key considerations involved.

Business Number

Understanding ABNs

An ABN serves as a unique identifier for your business, facilitating smooth transactions and enabling you to claim essential benefits, such as GST credits and energy grants. Additionally, having an ABN allows you to order and invoice efficiently, avoiding PAYG tax on payments received.

Determining Your Eligibility

Not everyone needs an ABN, and eligibility is based on whether you are running a business or enterprise. Visit the Australian Business Register (ABR) website to assess your entitlement to an ABN. Applying without meeting the criteria may result in a refusal, and the Australian Taxation Office will provide an explanation.

Preparing for ABN Registration

Before initiating the ABN registration process, ensure you have vital information, including your business structure, proof of identity, and details of your business activities and associates. This preparation ensures a smooth and efficient application.

Application Process and Timeline

Utilize the Australian Government’s Business Registration Service for a free ABN registration. The online application process provides immediate results if all required information is provided. The Australian Taxation Office typically reviews applications within 20 business days, contacting applicants for additional details if necessary.

Registering Business Name Alongside ABN

Streamline your business processes by registering your business name concurrently with your ABN application through the Business Registration Service. This step avoids the need for a separate registration and ensures clarity between your ABN and registered business name.

ACN and ABN Application

If you’re establishing a company, consider applying for an Australian Company Number (ACN) and ABN simultaneously using the Business Registration Service. This integrated approach simplifies the registration process.

Updating ABN Details

Maintaining up-to-date ABN details is crucial. Notify the Australian Business Register of any changes within 28 days of awareness, especially when altering your business structure. Certain changes may require a new ABN, emphasizing the importance of timely updates.

Cancelling Your ABN

Understand when and how to cancel your ABN, a necessary step when closing down or undergoing significant business changes. Visit the ABR website to initiate the cancellation process based on your circumstances.


Securing an ABN is a fundamental step for businesses in Australia, streamlining operations and ensuring compliance with tax regulations. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll navigate the ABN registration process effectively, setting your business up for success.