ABN Registration

How to apply for an ABN, the information you will need and the support to maintain your ABN.

How can I get an ABN if a company associate lives overseas and doesn’t have a TFN?

In order to process an ABN application the ATO requires listed associates to provide their Tax File Number (TFN).

In the case of an international/foreign associate, failure to list a valid TFN will result in manual review by the ATO. The manual review process can take up to 28 days, during which time the ATO will contact you to advise how to rectify the issue.

To avoid delays, this is what the ATO will communicate:

  1. You can apply for a TFN as an individual residing outside Australia. To meet the requirements of application you must complete the form found here and provide two current documents as proof of identity. One of these must be a primary document, such as a passport or birth certificate. The other can be a secondary source, including a driver’s licence, marriage certificate or national photo ID card.

Copies of proof of identification are sufficient provided that they are signed/certified at an Australian embassy, high commission or consulate or a registered notary in the country where the individual resides

  1. If you do not wish to apply for a TFN, the ATO will still need to verify your identification. To achieve this, you must provide them with the same proof of identity documents listed above, as if you were applying for a TFN.

These documents will need to be certified in the same way.

In addition, you will need to write a letter expressing why you would like to proceed without a TFN. This may be as simple as the fact that you are a director/shareholder in an Australian company but do not live within nor have any other business interests in Australia.

The necessary information must be posted to the ATO at this address:

Att: Non-Resident Registration Team

Australian Taxation Office

GPO Box 9977

Hobart TAS 7001


N.B It is now understood that if an international associate is only a shareholder in the company (not an officeholder), identification documents are not needed. If this is the case please notify our customer service team, and we will contact the ATO to expedite the application on the company’s behalf.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You must seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances before acting.

Updated — Apr 3, 2017

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