Are you unsure about the difference between ABN vs ACN? In short, both are essential if you want to start a business in Australia. Depending on your business structure, you’ll need one or both.
In this blog post, I’ll break down the differences and similarities between ABN and ACN, who needs them, what information you’ll need, and how to apply for both.
An ABN, or Australian Business Number, is an 11-digit number provided by the ATO (Australian Taxation Office). It identifies your business to the government and the public. It’s also your unique identifier when dealing with other businesses.
You need an ABN to:
ACN is the abbreviation for Australian Company Number. It’s a unique nine-digit number provided by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) to all companies registered in Australia.
ACN is used for:
There’s a lot of confusion about whether or not Australian companies need an Australian Business Number and/or Australian Company Number. So, let’s set the record straight — are ABN and ACN required?
It depends on your specific business circumstances. For example, if you’re running a sole proprietorship, you generally won’t need an ACN, but you must have an ABN. In contrast, you’ll need both if you’re running a company.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to register for an ABN and ACN, even if you’re not legally required to do so. Having both will make your business look more professional. Also, it’ll give you access to benefits and privileges that you wouldn’t get otherwise (like opening a business bank account).
You’ll need a few pieces of information to apply for an ABN. Depending on the circumstances, you’ll have to provide some or all of the following information:
Obtaining an Australian Business Number (ABN) is relatively straightforward.
You can apply for an ABN online through the Australian Business Register, a government website. The process is as follows:
To apply for an ACN, you’ll need to provide:
You can apply for an ACN online or by mail. The quickest way is to apply online. Another way to register a company in Australia is to hire a private service provider (PSP).
An ABN is an 11-digit number that identifies your business to the government and the public. You can receive it through the ATO (Australian Taxation Office).
In contrast, an ACN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) when you register your company.
All businesses need an ABN, but not all require an ACN.
An ABN is necessary for all businesses in Australia, while an ACN is only required for companies. Both numbers identify businesses and their owners. They’re required for various purposes, including tax filing and company registration.
Applying for both numbers is a relatively simple process you can do online or by mail. I hope this article has helped clarify any ACN vs ABN confusion you may have had.
You need both an ABN and ACN to run a company in Australia. ABN is required to identify your business to the government and customers, while ACN is necessary to register your company.
No, a company cannot have an ACN without ABN.
Yes, you can have two ABNs if you’re a sole trader or company. But you can only have one ACN.
No, the ACN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by ASIC when you register your company. Check my article to get more information on ABN vs ACN and which one you need.