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Do You Need an ABN to Sell Online? (2019 Update)

Do You Need an ABN to Sell Online? (2019 Update)

Don't know if you need an ABN when selling online? Learn whether you need an ABN and whether you are operating an online business or a hobby here.

20th May 2019

Are you selling goods online? If you are, you may need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). Having an ABN allows you to run your online operations as a business, and may be required by law. Read on to find out what you need to know about having an ABN for your online business.

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What Is an ABN?

ABNs are unique 11-digit numbers that allow you to conduct a business in Australia. You will need to provide relevant identification details in order to acquire one. Furthermore, if you want to register a business name or domain name, an ABN is required. If you already have one for another business, you can not use it for your online business.

Do you need an ABN to Sell Online?

If you are selling goods/services online, you need to decide whether you are selling as a hobby or a business. In simple terms, if you are operating as a business and the main reason behind selling the goods/services is to make profit then you must have an ABN. However if selling your goods or services online is a pastime then an ABN will not be required. Furthermore, GST is another point of consideration regarding whether you should register one. You are required to register for GST if your online sales/ business has a turnover of more than $75,000 a year (before GST). If you make sufficient turnover to register for GST, you will also need to register an ABN.

Why Else Would I Register for One?

Regardless of whether your online operations are a business or a hobby, we advise you to register for an ABN. It will enchance the legitimatcy of your business to your customers including one on your tax invoices or website. Moreover, it allows you to claim back GST credits and will assist you in making operations with other businesses an easier experience.


Therefore, while it may not be legally required, it is advisable to register an ABN if you are selling online. If you need assistance registering one, get in contact with a business formation lawyer for relevant legal advice. For further information about selling online on platforms such as Etsy, eBay or Facebook please refer to our other legal guides.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

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.