Janette Toral sharing her tourist experience in Australia.

Friday 17 October 2008

Getting an Australian Business Number and using the Business Portal

After receiving my first Blogging from Home book order, I decided to get an Australian Business Number (ABN). I find the process very interesting and a bit intimidating. Some of the things I realized are:
  • Unlike the Taxpayer File Number (TFN) that takes a week or two before you receive it by mail, the ABN is given online immediately.

  • An e-mail will also be sent to confirm the details and give initial information about installing the Common-use signing interface and your digital certificate. The access code is included in the e-mail. However, you will also need the PIN and password which will be sent to you by mail.

  • Within a week, you will receive two letters, one containing your business registration details while the other is your PIN/password and online services set-up CD.

  • Transactions are usually done in the business portal and its usability can be intimidating at first. It is best to try out the web tutorial first instead of contacting them.

  • Record keeping is an important activity for any small business entrepreneur and you can be penalized for not doing it. They have a site that informs you on how to go through it. The resource page is comprehensive and it is best to set aside time to familiarize yourself.

  • If you are not using any particular software at the moment for record keeping, the ATO site also provides a free electronic record keeping tool. In order not to miss any due dates, you can also use the small business tax calendar that is customized based on the information you provide on business activities.
Note that you don't have to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to get an ABN (like in my case - a temporary resident - as my partner has a work contract here in Australia up to 2010). Remember also that income from employment is totally separate. So should I end up working for a company here in the future, I will have to use my TFN for tax deduction purposes.
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