Tax File Number

What is a Tax File Number?wl1

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique number issued to individuals and organisations to help administer tax and other Australian Government systems.
If you are looking to work in Australia you will need a Tax File Number (TFN). Although not mandatory, you will struggle to gain employment without it and employers will tax you at the highest rate possible in Australia if you do not have one.

Please note: You can apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) online ONLY if you are currently in Australia.

You can only complete this application if you are a permanent migrant or temporary visitor who is actually in Australia. You must also be either:

  • a working holiday-maker
  • a New Zealander and you are automatically granted a visa on arrival
  • an overseas student and your visa has been amended to allow you to work
  • a person with a valid visa allowing you to stay in Australia indefinitely
  • a person with a business visa.

Please note: The TFN is ONLY for temporary visitors to Australia who have a visa that allows them to work while they are there. Only one TFN will be issued to you during your lifetime, even if you change your circumstances such as your name or residency. You should keep your TFN secure at all times and advise the government if you change your name or address so they can update your details.

How to get a Tax File Number

By visiting the Australian government’s registration page at, you can apply for one online. The application process is relatively simple, but could take up to 20 minutes.

You will be asked to enter some of the following details:

  • Passport information
  • Personal details
  • Travel document number
  • Postal address in Australia where your TFN can be sent
  • Contact details for yourself or your preferred contact person.

The TFN will then be approved within 28 days of you making your application.

If you apply online you will receive a receipt number for your application and this should be used as evidence so you can work for an employer until your application is approved.

Once your TFN has been processed, it will be sent to you via post.

You will be able to work if you do not have a TFN or whilst you are applying but if you do not produce your TFN within 28 days you will be taxed the highest amount possible from your employer.

We have included the step by step guide on how to apply at the end of this e-book or simply click here to go directly there.

More Tax File Number information.

If you already have a TFN but do not know what it is, go through the above application process and indicate when asked that you already have a TFN. A notice with your TFN will be forwarded to you.

If you know your TFN but wish to advise the Tax Office of changes to your details, go through this application process and enter your updated details.

Click here for the step by step guide to applying for a Tax File Number

What is an ABN?

The Australian Business Number (ABN) was introduced on 1 July 2000 to enable businesses and individuals in Australia to deal with a range of government departments and agencies using a single identification number. The ABN is a public number which does not replace your tax file number.
Many people who work as sole traders or contractors (carpenters, electricians, computer technicians etc) choose to work through an ABN. When you receive payments from a company, you receive the full payment without any tax being withheld. You are now responsible for your own tax responsibilities and it is therefore recommended that you make regular contributions towards your expected annual tax liability to the Australian Taxation Office.

Why should I apply for an ABN?

  • Enables your business to claim goods and services tax (GST) credits
  • stops businesses deducting pay as you go (PAYG) withholding tax from payments to you
  • allows businesses to easily confirm your details for ordering and invoicing purposes

An ABN is required if your business registers for GST – you must register for GST if your business has an annual turnover of $75,000 or more. If your business is a not-for-profit which records annual turnover of $150,000 or more you must register for GST.

How do I apply for an ABN?

You can apply for an ABN online.

How long does it take to get an ABN?

You will receive online notification of your ABN upon completion of the application unless further verification is necessary. Under these circumstances your application will be processed manually by the ATO.

How much does it cost to get an ABN?

The ATO does not impose a fee for applying for an ABN online or by paper application.