Simply put, YES, a new ABN is required.

In Australia, regardless of what business structure you choose, an ABN is required to operate a business. This unique 11-digit number is the way that your business is identified. An ABN offers peace of mind by allowing people to look up your business using the ABN Lookup to get confirmation of your details for sales or service orders.

Three golden rules for making the switch from sole trader to incorporated entity

1. A new ABN is required if you are a sole trader setting up a different business structure such as an incorporated entity.

When setting up a new business structure such as an incorporated entity from sole trader, the sole trader ABN will need to be cancelled.

2. Before you cancel the ABN for your sole trade, ensure all business obligations have been fulfilled in regards to lodgement, reporting and payment.

Multiple business activities can be carried out under a single ABN if they correspond to the same business structure.

3. It is not possible to transfer an existing ABN to another entity. If you already have an ABN as a sole trader, you will need to cancel this ABN after the incorporated entity has been set up.

How to cancel an ABN:

  • Online, if you posses an administrator AUSkey;
  • Contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 13 92 26 between 8:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday;
  • Lodging a NAT 2955 form; or
  • With the help of a registered tax agent.

Before you start!

Note that an Australian Company Number (‘ACN’) is required before an ABN can be acquired.  After registration for an ACN is complete, you can apply to the ATO for a new ABN, which is your ACN with an additional 2 digits.

Where to from here?

You can register for GST and/or PAYG.

You can easily register a company and ABN through LawPath.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

Dominic Woolrych

Dominic is the CEO of LawPath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.