Is Your ABN About To Expire?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has advised that over the coming months it will be increasing its focus on the bulk Australian Business Number (ABN) cancellation program, to continue “to ensure the integrity of the Australian Business Register”.

The ATO has refined its models to help it identify businesses that are no longer active or whose owners have forgotten to cancel their ABN when they ceased business. In general, an ABN may be cancelled if:

  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) advises that a company is deregistered
  • The taxpayer advises that they have stopped business in their latest income tax return
  • The business hasn’t reported business income or doesn’t keep its lodgements up to date
  • The taxpayer lodges a final tax return

As part of the program, ABN holders or those applying for an ABN in certain industries may be contacted and asked to provide evidence to confirm that they’re setting up or operating a business. Evidence may include activities such as:

  • Advertising, setting up a social media account or a website for the business
  • Buying business cards or stationery for the business
  • Obtaining business licences or insurance to operate
  • Leasing or buying a premises, equipment or stock for the business
  • Issuing quotes or bidding for work
  • Consulting with financial, business or tax advisers
  • Applying for finance
  • Buying a business

If an ABN is cancelled and a business is still running, the tax payer has 60 days to object to the decision. In addition, if the ABN is cancelled and it is required at a later date, taxpayers can reapply online and will get the same ABN if the business structure has stayed the same.



The information contained on this website and in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website and in this article are of a general nature only and are based on our interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.

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