ATO tweaks ABN application process

The tax office has amended its Australian business number application process to ensure applicants are entitled to an ABN, giving it greater visibility over an applicant’s history.

According to an ATO spokesperson, the tax office has implemented changes to the ABN application process to make it easier for applicants to determine that they are entitled to an ABN.

Specifically, the ATO has restructured and simplified the ‘Important Information’ page to make it easier for applicants to understand; developed nudge messaging for minors—i.e. under 14 years of age—to ensure they are using the correct entity type; and highlighted the penalty disclaimer on the ‘Declaration’ page, alerting applicants that penalties can apply for making false or misleading statements in their application.

The tax office has also re-ordered the application so they know who is applying and have all the information about the business before they receive an entitlement decision.

“This change enables us to make a more informed decision and to identify those applicants who are applying multiple times so we can provide them, or their tax practitioners, with better support,” said the ATO spokesperson.

The government also recently announced changes for ABN holders that will see them required to lodge an income tax return from 1 July 2021, and confirm the accuracy of their details on the ABR annually from 1 July 2022.

ABN holders are currently able to retain their ABN regardless of whether they are meeting their income tax return lodgment obligation or the obligation to update their ABN details.