If you carry on a business, you will have an ABN (Australian Business Number). An ACN is also relevant for business but an ABN and ACN are two different numbers, used for different purposes. In this article, we will explore the differences between and ABN and ACN and the different functions each serves, and under which circumstances it is appropriate to use one or the other.

What is an ABN?

At its simplest, an ABN is an eleven-digit number which is used for dealings with the Australian Taxation Office. An ABN is issued to all entities, irrespective of how large or small they are.

Under A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth), you are entitled to an ABN if you carry on an enterprise in Australia. An ABN is used to make dealings with government and other entities and individuals easier.

What is an ACN?

In contrast, an ACN is a nine-digit number issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It is a unique identifier purely for companies, unlike an ABN which is issued to all entities carrying on a business.

If you have an ABN, it is unnecessary to register for GST if your annual turnover does not exceed $75,000 or if you have a not-for-profit organisation with a turnover of less than $150,000.

You are required to have an ABN and ACN to register a .au country-level domain in Australia. Read our article to learn more about how to register a domain name in Australia. 

Key Takeaways

Applying for an ABN and ACN is a crucial step to setting up a business. Read our article for more information on reapplying, updating or cancelling an ABN or ACN.

If you’re setting up a business and need assistance choosing the right business structure, or wish to reassess the business structure under which you currently operate, give LegalVision a call on 1300 544 755 today or fill out the form on this page. Our business lawyers will assess your legal needs and provide you with a fixed-fee quote.

Lachlan McKnight

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