Changes to Australian Business Number (ABN) registration compliance
As part of the government’s intention to “strengthen” the ABN system, Treasury has released draft legislation to imposing new compliance obligations for ABN holders to retain their ABN.
The proposes two new grounds under which the Registrar of the Australian Business
Register may cancel an Australian Business Number.
The first proposed changes would allow the Australian Business Register to cancel a person’s
ABN if they haven’t lodged their required income tax returns for two or more income years
where the period for lodgement has ended. The un-lodged returns do not need to be
consecutive income years.
This ground for cancellation would apply for failures to lodge tax returns beginning with
income years commencing on 1 July 2022, so the earliest the Registrar could cancel an ABN
would be in the second half of 2024, if the ABN-holder failed to lodge tax returns for the
income years beginning on 1 July 2022 and 1 July 2023.
The other proposed changes would also allow the Registrar to cancel an ABN if the holder
hadn’t given a notification within the past 12 months that they still require the ABN and that
the information on the Register is current and correct. This power would be available to the
Registrar after 1 July 2024.
In effect, this would likely require ABN holders to check their ABN details and notify the
Registrar at least once in the period between the commencement of these provisions and
1 July 2024, and then at least once annually.