Australian Business Number & Tax File Number

holding up tax

As an international student in Australia, you must be aware of two very important numbers that will be significant if you choose to work in Australia. One of these is TFN (Tax File Number). It is a number that is different for every individual and helps you determine the amount of tax you have to pay on the income you have earned and allows you to submit it in time every year to ATO (Australia Taxation Office). If you are running your own business in Australia, you need a special number called ABN (Australian Business Number). This helps in the easy identification of your business as well as easy submission of taxes as a business.

If you are providing a service such as cleaning for a sub-contractor or an agency, in most cases they will ask you for an ABN. This would mean that you are offering your service as a business for someone who is finding the job for you, so you would need to invoice them. You can also find your own jobs, be in control of the amount you charge and invoice that person that you are providing the service for. Your invoice will require you to put your ABN on it. You will be paid a gross sum and you will be responsible for paying the appropriate taxes to the ATO at the end of each financial year (June 30 of each year). You can apply for an ABN only if you have a valid TFN. The ABN is issued by Australian Business Register (ABR) which is a part of ATO.

A business in Australia has both an ABN as well as TFN. Individuals who work as employees for companies will also require a TFN. A TFN is an 8 or 9 digit number that helps individuals submit their income tax returns at the end of each financial year (June 30 of each year). To receive your appropriate income from your employer, you need to quote your tax number (TFN) to your employer. If you don’t quote your TFN, the employer will be required to hold the maximum amount of tax from your income. In this case you can quote such transactions when submitting your tax return and ask for refunds if there have been any excess amounts of tax withheld.

What is the difference between ABN and TFN?
• TFN stands for Tax File Number, and it is necessary for every individual for submitting their annual tax return.
• ABN stands for Australian Business Number, and is essential to start a business in Australia. If you are doing work for a sub-contractor or agency, they may ask you for an ABN.
• ABN is granted by ABR (Australian Business Register), which is a part of ATO.
• As an ABN holder, you will be in charge of paying your own taxes at the end of the financial year (June 30 of each year).


Chad Yesilova
Hi, i'm Chad Yesilova, a business owner and lover of life. I am enjoying growing the Blue Studies International community by introducing new and different activities to allow international students to meet new friends, increase their network to create opportunities for themselves and increase their confidence to pursue the job of their dreams or entrepreneurial endeavours.