8th Dec 2009 by Tobias John Sterling
'ACN' stands for Australian Company Number. This is the number that is assigned to new companies by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission when they register under the Corporations Law. Setting up as a sole trader means that you're not using a company structure, so obviously you won't have an ACN. 'ABN,' on the other hand, stands for Australian Business Number. This is an 11-digit number that identifies businesses so that others know who they are dealing with. ABNs are assigned by the Australian Taxation Office through the Australian Business Register website (http://www.abr.gov.au/). They allow business to deal with each other and with government departments and agencies using just one number. As a sole trader you don't absolutely need an ABN, but they're free and having one carries some benefits. For example, if you don't have an ABN, other businesses will deduct PAYG withholding tax from payments they make to you. Also, if your turnover is more than $75,000 per year, you'll need to register for the Goods and Services Tax (the 'GST'), and you'll need an ABN for this.
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