What Does ABN Stand For?

What Does ABN Stand For?

Are you looking to set up your own company but keep hearing the term 'ABN'? Read on to learn what does ABN stand for and how to easily register.

When it comes to finances and managing your tax and other Government obligations, there are a number of acronyms that crop up along the way. Having an understanding of what these are referring to, will help you manage your business more effectively. One of the most common questions asked is: what does ABN stand for?

What Does ABN Stand For? 

Wondering what does ABN stand for? ABN stands for Australian Business Number. It is a unique 11-digit number that you are provided with by the Government, which then identifies your business. If you are operating a business, then you need an ABN, irrespective of how big or small your business is, or how it operates.

Knowing what does ABN stand for is just the start. It is also important to understand exactly how it works and what it enables a business to do. Firstly, the ABN does not replace your tax file number, but it does enable your business to deal with a range of Government departments using a single identification number. It makes the processes much easier.

You ABN allows you to:

  • Identify your business when you are invoicing clients.
  • Avoid PAYG tax on payment receivables.
  • Implement and manage infrastructure for your business.
  • Get an Australian domain name and a business website.
  • Follow the right tax and superannuation regulations.
get an abn

What Does ABN Stand For? How To Register

Now we know what does ABN stand for, how do you apply for one? The process is relatively straight forward. Registering for an ABN is free, you simply apply through the Business Registration Service.

There are three different ways you can go about applying for an ABN:

  1. Through the Australian Business Register website.
  2. Via a paper application.
  3. Through tax agents.

Before you register, it’s important that you have a good understanding of your business and the relevant documents needed:

  • Have you identified your business structure?
  • Can you provide proof of identity?
  • Do you have any business details ready?

Knowing what does ABN stand for is really just the first step in the process. Once you have all this documentation ready, you can follow the process to apply. Your application will be approved immediately, assuming all the details you have provided are accurate. Otherwise, it can take 20 days for the ATO to process your application manually. In the event that information has been omitted then the ATO will generally come back to you asking for more information. It won’t be approved until you are able to provide it.

If you change your ABN details after it has been approved, then you need to inform the ABR withing 28 days. If you are no longer operating the business then the number will be cancelled.


The ABN can often get confused with the ACN, which is a completely different number. The Australian Company Number (ACN)  is a nine-digit number that is issued by ASIC – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. It is provided to companies that are registered under the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001. This number remains unchanged, even if the business changes along the way. You can apply for both numbers within the same form.

what is an abn

Changing Your ABN

If your business changes, then it is important to register these changes with the Australian Business Register. This can include:

  • Operations have ceased.
  • Changes to business structure.

These updates must be made within 28 days of the change taking place. The quickest way to update your details is through the Australian Business Registers services. Any changes made will be updated immediately. It is worth noting that are also things that can’t be updated. These include:

  • Business name
  • Legal names for individuals who need to contact the ATO
  • The legal name for companies registered with an ACN with ASIC

In these circumstances, you will need to consider cancelling your ABN altogether and then applying for a new one with these changes.

ABN For Multiple Businesses

Another question asked a lot is whether you can use the ABN for multiple businesses. As long as the businesses all operate under the one business structure then you can conduct as many as you like under the one ABN. If the businesses operate under separate business structures, then you will be expected to file for a new ABN for each one.

Getting An ABN For Your Business

Now you know what an ABN is, you might be looking for help registering one for your business. It always helps to talk to an expert who can guide you through the process with the right advice for your situation. Call the professional team at ALC Commercial today and make sure you are on the right track for your business. Get the information you need today to make the right decisions for you and the business.

For more information on business loans, commercial finance, debt consolidation, bad credit business loans and low-doc business loans talk to our experienced and understanding loan specialists to see how our business loans can support your business goals.

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