Still Waiting for Your ABN? Here’s 5 Reasons It Could Be Delayed

Still Waiting for Your ABN? Here's 5 Reasons It Could Be Delayed

When you apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN), you should expect to receive it within a couple of days. However, things can sometimes occur which delay it’s approval. In this article, we’ll outline some of the most common reasons why you might still be waiting for your ABN. Some of these factors may lead to your application being rejected immediately or flagged so it can be reviewed.

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1. You don’t have a TFN or you’ve entered it wrong

Other than your name, the most important detail when applying for your ABN is your Tax File Number (TFN). If you don’t have a TFN yet, then it is important you apply and receive one before lodging your ABN application. Incorrectly entering a TFN is a common mistake made on ABN applications. If you’re still waiting for your ABN, double check the right TFN has been nominated in your application.

2. You are not a resident of Australia

Similar to above, if you are a non-resident and you are applying for an ABN, it is essential that you have a TFN. If you don’t, chances are the ATO does not have any personal record for you.  

To avoid a delay caused by this, if you are living overseas you should first apply for TFN as an individual residing outside of Australia. However, you could apply for an ABN without a a TFN, you just need to provide the ATO with proof of identity documents and a statement of business activities in Australia. 

It’s a slightly different process if you are a overseas company applying for an ABN in Australia. You should seek the advice of a lawyer to help you out with the process. 

3. Personal details mismatch

Another reason why there may be need for manual review is that you’ve entered different personal details to those that the ATO has on record. This could happen if you’ve moved houses since the last time you’ve updated your TFN or just common human error.

4. There’s a hyphen in your name

Having a hyphen in your name can be a common cause for ABN delay. This is because the name may not match what is already on record. If you have a double-barrelled name, it may be wise to check that the name you’ve applied with matches what the ATO has on record.

5. Formatting problems

When applying for your ABN, it is important to only enter the information that each question in the form asks for. For example, entering a full address when only the street name is requested may result in the form having to be reviewed.

Final thoughts

Many things can cause a delay in the ABN registration process, however many of them are easily avoidable. Be sure to read over all the information you enter when applying for your ABN and ask a lawyer if there is anything in the form that you’re unsure of.

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