5th Nov 2009 by Tobias John Sterling
ABN stands for Australian Business Number. ABNs are unique 11-digit numbers assigned to businesses in Australia by the Australian Taxation Office, and they're used by those businesses primarily in their dealings with the Australian government, but also to an extent in dealing with other businesses.
ABNs are not compulsory, but they allow businesses to interact with a range of government agencies using just one identifier, and they're necessary for operating within the goods and services tax (GST) system.
The easiest way to apply for an ABN is online. You can do this via the Australian Business Register website located at http://www.abr.gov.au. The process involves completing an online application form. The applicant is required to provide information including their legal name, business address, business or trading name, contact details, ACN (Australian Company Number -- if applicable), names of the public officer and trustees (if applicable), and the main business or type of industry being carried on.
Note that not all entities are entitled to ABNs, though if the entity carries on a business in Australia then it's almost certain the entity will be entitled. Further information on who is entitled to an ABN is available from the ABR website.
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