What is an ABN?
An ABN (Australian Business Number) is a unique 11 digit number that allows the government to recognise your business.
Who needs an ABN?
If you are a freelancer or do any extra work on the side of your normal day job then you will need to provide an ABN on your invoice in order to be paid. If you don’t have an ABN then for any payments over $75 AUD the company pays you is legally bound to withhold 47% of the invoice as tax which you won’t get to see again until you submit your tex return. Ouch.
You will also need an ABN if you are planning to register a website domain name with an extension that ends in ‘.au’, for your business such as a blog or an online portfolio.
Does it cost to apply?
It is free to apply for an ABN.
How do I get an ABN?
You can simply apply online at the Australian Business Register website. Not all those that apply are entitled to an ABN so before applying be sure to review the entitlement checklist here.
What type of business structure should I apply for?
There are multiple business structures to select from in your application and the majority of freelancers will fall under Individual/Sole trader. Other options include partnership, company or trust, to find out which is right for you at the ATO website. It is important to select the right structure as it will determine how much tax and any ongoing costs you may need to pay.