Freelance Tips for ABN application

Registering for an ABN as a freelancer is not as daunting as you might think. At Australia’s Freelancing Hub we’ll take a hot minute of your time to clarify a few issues and specify the documents required for an ABN application, so you can take care of business, officially.

What is an ABN?

An Australian Business Number (ABN) is an eleven digit ID number the government uses to identify your specific business, apart from everyone elses. It permits you to form your own company and provide your goods and services to others.

Do freelancers need an ABN?

Freelancers are self-employed and require an ABN to operate.

In order to provide your goods and services to clients you will need an ABN. If you make more than $75,000 per single tax year, you must also register for General Sales Tax (GST) as you need to charge your Australian customers GST.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recommends applying for an ABN when starting as a sole trader, regardless of annual income.

Australian Business Structures

There are four business structures typically used within Australia. It’s important to note that Sole Trader identifies an individual who owns and operates their small business, and also encompasses the Self-Employed as well as Freelancers. There are distinctions between these three categories, however for the purposes of ABN, freelancers fall under the Sole Trader umbrella.

The ATO explains each structure because they impact tax liability, asset protection and costs.

Registering for an ABN

The process has been streamlined to make it quick and easy. Typically no longer than 5 minutes to complete, the application requires information you should be able to readily access.

  • Name
  • Contact Information
  • Email
  • Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Prior ABNs (if any – optional)
  • Business Name
  • Business Identification Documents
  • Basic description of good and services to be provided

You can apply through various sites such as:

Australian Government
ABN Registration Online

Once you submit your application the team promptly review for compliance issues and you can expect a response via email or text within 5 minutes and no longer than 2 hours.

Invoicing without an ABN

Remember, you can invoice a client without an ABN but if the amount is in excess of $75, the payer is required to withhold the maximum amount of tax and forward it directly to the ATO. You don’t want that and your client doesn’t want that. Present yourself as a business and register for an Australian Business Number. Then you’re in business!

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