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Licences and registrations

Be clear on what you need for your business

On this page

  • Learn which licences and registrations are applicable to your situation
  • Apply for the relevant licences and registrations

Use the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS), a one-stop tool to help you find all the local, state and federal licences, registrations and permits you need.

What do you need for your business?

 Australian Business Number (ABN)Individual Tax File Number (TFN)Business Tax File Number (TFN)Pay As You Go (PAYG) WithholdingFringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
Sole traderYesYesNoNoNo
Sole trader with employeesYesYesNoYesYes, if providing benefits to staff
Partnership/trust/company without employeesYesNoYesNoNo
Partnership/trust/company with employeesYesNoYesYesYes, if providing benefits to staff

Do I need to register for Goods and Services Tax?

You must register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if you're a business and:

  • your current/expected annual turnover is $75,000 or more (or $150,000 or more for a non-profit organisation) and/or
  • you provide taxi travel (regardless of turnover).

Apply for your registrations

1. If you're a sole trader, apply for an individual TFN if you don't already have one. If you're a partnership, trust or company, apply for a business TFN.

2. Apply for an ABN, GST, PAYG withholding, FBT, business name and AUSkey in one application with the Australian Business Register (ABR).

If you're unclear what business structure is right for you, read our step-by-step:choose the right business structure guide.

Search for your licences with the Australian Business Licence and Information Service

Use the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS), a one-stop tool to help you find all the local, state and federal licences, registrations and permits you need.

Some common search terms that you can use to assess the licences that you need include:

  • Hospitality service - cafe operation, restaurant operation, takeaway food operation, mobile food van operation
  • Electrician - electrical installation work
  • Beauty, health and wellness business - personal fitness training service, hairdressing services, beauty service
  • Online and other businesses - online business, clothing accessory retailing.

Add or cancel a registration

To make a change:

Know your registrations

Tax File Number (TFN)

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique nine-digit number the ATO (Australian Tax Office) issues to individuals and organisations to help administer tax and other Australian Government systems. ATO only issues one TFN to you during your lifetime, even if you change your circumstances.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

Businesses use this as a key identifying number when they deal with the ATO. Having an ABN helps you to claim back goods and services tax credits, provide fringe benefits to your employees, ask for fuel tax credits and deal with other businesses more easily.

You can also avoid having amounts withheld from payments to you - your business clients must withhold 46.5% of any payments they make to you if you don't quote an ABN.

To be entitled to an ABN, you must be either:

Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding

You must register for this if you will be deducting tax from employee wages.This is different to the PAYG system where you report your business and investment income in your quarterly Business Activity Statement (BAS). There is also employee pay roll tax to consider.

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)

You must register for Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) if you provide employee or director fringe benefits.

These could include, for example:

  • onsite accommodation
  • private use of the work car
  • health insurance.