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How to Cancel Your ABN (2021 Update)

How to Cancel Your ABN (2021 Update)

Are you looking to cancel your Australian Business Number (ABN)? Read this guide to find out how to do it and what this means for you.

13th April 2021
Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s a myriad of reasons why it might be time for you to cancel your Australian Business Number (ABN). Some of these include changing your business structure, if you will no longer be operating your business in Australia, or if you decide to shut your business. There are multiple ways you can cancel your ABN but which one will work best for you? Here we will break down each way you can cancel your ABN and what happens next. However, there are things you need to do before cancelling your ABN. Otherwise, you may have the Australian Business Register (ABR) trying to get into contact with you. In addition, you might want to cancel your ABN for the wrong reasons. Here, you will also find a list of points to think about before cancelling.

Before you cancel your ABN…

Although the reasons for cancelling an ABN vary, it’s important to understand why, and whether cancellation is necessary. If you are shutting the doors to your business for good or selling the business, cancellation is the best option. However, there are cases where it might seem like the best option, but it isn’t necessarily the case.

Example

You have decided that it’s time to restructure your business as a company. You also wish to trade under a different name than your current business. In this case, registering a company requires an ABN and you can choose the company name during registration. It is not necessary in this case to cancel your ABN.

Before cancelling your ABN, a business will need to satisfy the following:

  • Any lodgements
  • All reporting and payment obligations with government agencies
  • If applicable, cancel your pay as you go (PAYG) withholding registrations 

If you still have PAYG instalment obligations when you cancel your ABN, speak to your tax agent. Your tax agent can alter the PAYG instalment amount to reflect your current circumstances. 

A successful cancellation of your ABN will result in your tax registration for GST being canceled. Further, registrations for the luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax, and fuel tax credits will be canceled.

Additionally, any authorised relationships between your myGovID and your ABN will be cancelled as well as any AUSkeys linked to your ABN.

Cancelling your ABN

The quickest method to cancelling an ABN is online by using the online myGovID service. If you use myGovID to cancel your ABN, the changes will happen instantly. However, your ABN needs to be already linked to your myGovID to use this method. If you have changed your ABN details in the last 12 months, you would have already done so. Alternatively, you can speak to a taxation lawyer who can advise you.

Additionally, it is possible to cancel an ABN over-the-phone by calling the Australian Business Register on 13 92 26. The individual needs to be authorised to update ABN details on behalf of the business to make the request. Furthermore, proof of your identity may be required. Otherwise, you can lodge a form to cancel your ABN. However, this can take a considerable amount of time longer than using myGovID. Finally, a registered tax agent or BAS agent can cancel your ABN.

Post-cancellation

After a successful cancellation of your ABN, you can still apply to have your ABN reactivated. A comprehensive breakdown of the methods available to reapply for an ABN is available here.

However, if you are looking to reactivate your ABN and need more guidance, Lawpath can connect you with an experienced business lawyer to assist you.

Conclusion

There are differing methods available to any business owner looking to cancel their ABN. However, as a business owner, there are a number of important considerations to take into account. Before cancelling, make sure you have completed all the necessary lodgements, reports and payment obligations. If you need to cancel your ABN in a hurry, using myGovID will be the best method. Otherwise, there are multiple other ways you can choose. If you are still unsure if cancelling your ABN is the right move, speak to one of our consultants to make sure. 

Don’t know where to start?
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Author
Zachary Swan

Zac is a consultant at Lawpath, Australia’s largest and fastest growing online legal platform. Since joining Lawpath, Zac has assisted 1000s of startups and small business’s with their legal needs.