How do I find my ABN? (update 2024)

May 14, 2024
minutes to read
Justin Bohlmann
Table of Contents

How do you find your ABN? One vital element that you need to know about when starting a business in Australia is the Australian Business Number, commonly known as an ABN. In this article, we will explore the importance of an ABN, provide step-by-step guidance on how to find your ABN and troubleshoot common issues in maintaining your ABN.

Understanding the Importance of an Australian Business Number (ABN)

When it comes to starting a business in Australia, having an ABN is like having a key that unlocks various opportunities and benefits. So, what exactly is an ABN?

An ABN is a unique 11-digit number that identifies your business to the government, other businesses, and the wider community. It is a crucial component of your business's identity and plays a significant role in connecting you with customers, suppliers, and government agencies.

But let's delve deeper into the world of ABNs and uncover why they are so important for businesses operating in Australia.

What is an ABN?

An ABN, or Australian Business Number, is a unique identifier given to businesses operating in Australia. It acts as a universal identification code for businesses across various government systems and allows for efficient communication with government departments.

Think of an ABN as your business's personal identification number. Just like individuals have a unique identification number, such as a passport or driver's license, an ABN serves as a way for your business to be recognised and distinguished from others.

With an ABN, your business gains a distinct identity that sets it apart from the crowd.

Why is an ABN important for your business?

Holding an ABN brings a multitude of benefits to your business. Firstly, it demonstrates credibility and professionalism, as it helps establish your business as a legitimate entity. When potential customers or partners see that your business has an ABN, it instils a sense of trust and confidence in your brand.

Furthermore, having an ABN allows you to register for and claim goods and services tax (GST) credits. This means that you can recover the GST included in the price of goods and services you purchase for your business. By doing so, you make your business more financially efficient and can allocate those savings towards growth and expansion.

In addition to financial benefits, an ABN is necessary if you want to participate in government tenders or qualify for certain government grants. Many government agencies require businesses to have an ABN to ensure transparency and accountability in the procurement process. By having an ABN, you open the door to potential government contracts and funding opportunities that can propel your business forward.

Moreover, having an ABN enables potential customers to verify your business's details. In an age where online scams and fraudulent activities are prevalent, customers appreciate the ability to validate the legitimacy of a business before engaging in any transactions. By providing your ABN, you create a foundation of trust and reliability, which can be a deciding factor for customers choosing between multiple businesses.

So, as you can see, an ABN is not just a random string of numbers. It is a powerful tool that unlocks numerous advantages for your business, from financial savings to increased credibility and trust.

Now that you understand the importance of an ABN, it's time to take the necessary steps to obtain one for your business. With an ABN in hand, you'll be ready to navigate the Australian business landscape with confidence and seize the opportunities that come your way.

Steps to Find Your ABN

Now that you understand the significance of an Australian Business Number (ABN), let's explore the steps to find yours.

There are 2 simple ways to find your ABN:

  1. Thriday
  2. ABN Lookup


If you have a Thriday account you'll never loose your ABN again. It's right there at the top of the home feed amongst your account balances and cash flow position.

Using the Australian Business Register (ABR)

The other way to find your ABN is by accessing the Australian Business Register (ABR) online. The ABR is an authoritative source of information about Australian businesses, providing a comprehensive database that allows you to search for your ABN and verify its details.

The ABR is a valuable resource that not only helps you find your ABN but also provides access to a wide range of information about registered businesses. You can find details such as the legal name of the business, its trading name, the type of entity, and the business's current status.

To find your ABN using the ABR, simply visit their website and follow the user-friendly search tool. Enter the required information about your business, such as your business name or Australian Company Number (ACN), and let the ABR work its magic. Within moments, you will have your ABN in your hands.

It's worth noting that the ABR is regularly updated, ensuring that the information provided is accurate and up to date. This means that you can rely on the ABR to provide you with the most current information about your ABN.

Contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

If, for some reason, you are unable to find your ABN using the ABR, fret not! Another reliable option is to contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) directly. The ATO has a dedicated helpline where their knowledgeable staff can assist you in locating your ABN swiftly and accurately. They can also guide you through any additional steps that may be necessary depending on your unique circumstances.

The ATO is the government agency responsible for administering the tax system in Australia. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in dealing with ABNs and can provide you with the necessary guidance to ensure that you have the correct information.

When contacting the ATO, it's advisable to have any relevant details about your business ready. This may include your business name, trading name, ACN, or any other information that can help the ATO locate your ABN more efficiently.

Checking your ABN on business documents

If you have any business-related documents handy, it's worth checking them to see if your ABN is listed. Common documents where your ABN may be found include invoices, receipts, contracts, or any official paperwork you have received as a business owner. This can provide a quick and convenient way to retrieve your ABN.

Checking your business documents for your ABN is especially useful if you have recently registered your business or have engaged in any business transactions that required the use of your ABN. In such cases, the ABN is often included on the documents for easy reference.

Remember, having your ABN easily accessible is crucial for smooth business operations. It ensures that you can accurately identify your business when dealing with other businesses, government agencies, and customers.

In conclusion, finding your ABN is a straightforward process that can be done through the Australian Business Register (ABR) or by contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Additionally, checking your business documents for your ABN can provide a convenient way to retrieve it. By following these steps, you can ensure that you have the necessary information to conduct your business activities effectively.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Finding Your ABN

While finding your ABN is usually a straightforward process, occasional roadblocks may arise. Let's address some common issues you may encounter and provide guidance on overcoming them.

What if my ABN is not on the ABR?

If your ABN doesn't appear in the ABR search results, it may indicate that your ABN is not currently active or has been cancelled. In this case, you will need to contact the ATO to resolve the matter and reinstate or apply for a new ABN.

What to do if you've lost your ABN?

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having lost your ABN or not having any record of it, don't panic. Start by checking your previous communication with the ATO, as they often include ABN details in their correspondence. Alternatively, you can contact the ATO directly and provide them with the necessary information to retrieve your ABN or guide you through the process of reapplying for one.

How to Apply for an ABN

If you are starting a new business and don't yet have an ABN, or if your previous ABN has been cancelled, you will need to apply for a new one. Let's explore the process of obtaining an ABN.

Eligibility criteria for an ABN

The eligibility criteria for an ABN are relatively straightforward. You must be carrying on, or intending to carry on, an enterprise in Australia. An enterprise includes activities such as running a business, operating as a sole trader, or being an independent contractor.

It's worth noting that some entities, such as government agencies and non-profit organisations, may have different eligibility criteria. You can visit the ATO's website or contact them directly to determine your eligibility based on your specific circumstances.

The application process for an ABN

When applying for an ABN, you will need to provide certain information to the ATO. This information includes details about yourself or your business, such as your name, address, contact information, and the nature of your business activities.

The quickest and most convenient way to apply for an ABN is through the Australian Business Register website. Their online application form guides you step-by-step, ensuring you provide all the necessary information. Once submitted, the ATO will review your application, and if approved, you will receive your ABN typically within 15 minutes.

Maintaining Your ABN

Obtaining an ABN is just the beginning of your journey. To ensure your ABN remains valid and accurate, it's essential to regularly maintain it. Here are a few key aspects to consider:

Updating your ABN details

If any of your business details change, such as your address, contact information, or business structure, it's crucial to update your ABN details to maintain accuracy. You can easily update your ABN information through the Australian Business Register online, keeping your business information up-to-date and accessible to others who may need it.

Cancel/re-apply for an ABN

The Australian Business Register (ABR) maintains the information available through ABN Lookup and is responsible for cancelling and issuing ABNs.

  • To re-apply for your ABN:
  • If your ABN has been cancelled, you will need to re-apply for an ABN. Please refer to applying for an ABN on the ABR website for more information.
  • Only when you have been issued with an ABN, will it show as 'active' on ABN Lookup.
  • To cancel your ABN
  • You must inform the Australian Business Register (ABR) if you have ceased trading or your business has been sold. Please refer to cancel your ABN on the ABR website for more information.
  • When your ABN has been cancelled on the ABR it show as 'cancelled' on ABN Lookup.

As ABN Lookup cannot cancel or issue an ABN, you need to contact the ABR

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360  AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank).  Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you.

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