There are times when you won’t be able to get away with not having your Tax File Number (TFN) on hand.
You will need your TFN:
- When you commence working
- Lodging your tax return
- If you’re a business owner, you need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN)
So it’s pretty clear that keeping your tax file number on hand would be beneficial.
But if you’ve misplaced it, are you asking yourself, ‘Where do I find my tax file number?’
Great question. This post will provide you with everything you’ll need to know to find your TFN.
What is a tax file number (TFN)?
A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique 9 digit number assigned to every taxpayer in Australia as a personal reference number.
You will usually need to apply for a TFN when you commence working at your first job. Once you are issued a TFN, it is yours for life, regardless of whether you change jobs or move countries.
A TFN is used for all your tax records, as well as many other documents.
There may be times when you need to provide your TFN but do not have it on hand. This is where we’ve come in to help you locate it.
Why do businesses and individuals need a tax file number (TFN)?
That’s right; it’s an essential requirement.
This is because partnerships, trusts and companies are considered their own separate taxable and legal entities. Even if you’re a shareholder or director of the company and have your own TFN, the company will also need its own.
If you are a sole trader, you must use your own TFN when required for business tax matters. This is because sole traders have individual tax rates.
Other key reasons why businesses and individuals need a separate TGN are:
- TFN can be given to investment bodies responsible for paying interest, dividends and unit trust distributions
- A TFN is essential when dealing with Australian Government bodies
- A TFN will be needed when applying for an ABN
- It’s also crucial to lodging income tax returns
- Opening bank accounts, applying for government benefits
- Keeping track of your super savings will all require a TFN
- When you’re applying for a new job
How do I get my tax file number?
Here are 5 ways to find out your TFN, should you ever need to relocate it.
1. Contact the ATO
You can contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for a direct approach. The number the contact is 13 28 61 between 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday, or you can access the ATO via their website.
There are two ways to find your TFN. The first option would be to log into your myGov account and follow the steps.
If you don’t have a myGov account, you can find your TFN on
- Income tax notice of assessment provided by the ATO
- Letters received from the ATO, such as a statement of account
Regardless of what option you choose, just be prepared with your ABN or some form of proof of identity, which has all your personal details, such as your full name and date of birth.
2. Check your documents
You can often find your TFN by locating the documents which state it, whether you’re at home, in your office, or at another place of work. You can locate your TFN on documents such as:
1. Income Tax Note
Your notice of assessment (NOA) is the notice that the ATO sends you when they process your tax return. In this letter, you can find your TFN in the top right-hand corner of the letter.
2. Other documents to check
Other documents that will have your TFN include:
- Any correspondence sent to you by the ATO – This can either be physical letters or online letters sent, which you can locate through your email
- Any payment summary you received while under employment at any stage of your working life – You may need to ask your employer or your business’s HR department
- Account statements from your superannuation fund – This document can be gathered from your superannuation provider (super fund)
Just keep in mind that these documents are not always readily available.
Therefore, if you need to locate your TFN, it would be best to start looking for them early.
3. Finding it online – Log into MyGov
Did you know that the Australian government has introduced myGov, an online platform that you can link to the government services you use?
Some examples include:
- Australian Tax Office
- Australian Job Search
- Medicare Australia
- My Health Record
If you have a MyGov account, you can find your TFN through any of the connections.
Even better, you can directly view your TFN through your myGOV account, so once you register, you will be able to find your TFN at your fingertips.
4. Contact your agent and other institutions
If you have used a registered tax agent or an accountant in previous years, your can request your TFN from their records.
If they don’t have the physical copy, it would also be worth checking your email to see if they have sent anything to you in the past.
Other institutions that may have your TFN on hand include banks and other financial institutions.
5. I have lost my TNF
If you have exhausted the options above and can’t remember your TFN or worry that your TFN is:
- Completely lost
- Stolen — Identity theft
- Accessed by an unauthorised third party
- Scam alert – fake TFN applications
The ATO’s Client Identity support centre can help you out.
Call 1800 467 033 from 8 am to 8pm Australian eastern standard time (AEST). They can give you information about how to access advice and further information and put security systems in place to ensure that your TFN doesn’t get lost in the future.
Keeping your TFN on file
If you don’t want to be in another situation where you can’t find your TFX, here are some tips to keep your TFN safe:
1. Keep it somewhere you won’t forget
Just like how you’d keep your keys in a place you won’t forget, you should do the same with your essential details.
Find a place in your home where you can place a document with your TFN.
This should either be an extremely obvious or extremely unique spot. This way you’ll remember it.
One idea is to put it on your fridge or in a cabinet near your front door.
2. Keep all your documents in the one place
Keeping all your important documents in one place means you’ll be more organised.
Whether you have a filing cabinet, home office or computer file, keeping everything together will help you find what you need quickly.
3. Write it in your phone
The most helpful tip is to write it in your phone.
As long as your phone is password protected, you shouldn’t have to worry about your details being compromised if your phone gets lost or stolen.
Most phones these days have features where you can write short documents.
Further, you could even take a screenshot of your TFN and keep it in your photo gallery.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How do I get a tax file number?
Applying for a TFN depends on your circumstances and is broken up into the following categories:
- Australian citizens with an Australian passport (beta) – This TFN application is for people who are 15 years old or older.
- Australian residents – This form is for Australian citizens and other people who are residents of Australia for tax purposes but don’t have an Australian passport.
- Foreign passport holders, permanent migrants and temporary visitors – you need to be already living in Australia and will need a valid foreign passport or travel document (visa).
- People living outside Australia – for non-residents of Australia for tax purposes with Australian sourced income.
Where can I apply for a TFN?
You can apply for a TFN in a few ways. These include:
- You can apply for a TFN from the ATO website
- You can apply for a TFN at a participating Australia Post outlets
- Through an ATO shopfront
- You can print the form online and post it
How can I find my tax file number online?
You can find your tax file number online by logging into your myGov account connected to Medicare and Centrelink. You can also contact the ATO directly to find your TFN.
How do I find my tax file number without myGov?
If you don’t have a myGov account, you can find your TFN through documents that state your TFN, for example, any correspondence sent to you by the ATO, payment summaries and account statements.
Your TFN is an important number, and you will need it when filing a tax return, applying for a new job and registering for a company.
If it falls into the wrong hands, it can be used by other individuals for identity fraud.
This is why it’s important to keep your TFN somewhere safe and on hand. If you need a hand finding your TFN or require further information about the importance of a TFN when starting a business, you can hire a lawyer for assistance.