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A Guide to Applying for a Tax File Number in Australia

If you are starting a business, applying for a TFN is essential. A business can use its TFN to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) or electronically lodge its tax returns.

As an individual, you don’t have to have a TFN, but without one, you pay more tax. You also won’t be able to apply for government benefits, lodge your tax return electronically or get an ABN.

If you are an Australian citizen or Australian resident for tax purposes, you are eligible to apply for a TFN. You are not eligible to apply for a TFN if you are a temporary visitor or live outside Australia. Permanent migrants and working holidaymakers are eligible but must be in Australia to apply.

If you're unsure, you can contact the Australian Tax Office to find out more.

What Is a Tax File Number?

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique number issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to individuals and organisations to help administer tax and other government systems.

Your TFN is yours for life. It stays the same even if you change your name, address, job or financial situation.

You should keep your TFN secure and in a safe place. Do not give your TFN to anyone unless they are authorised to have it. Giving your TFN to unauthorised people could lead to identity theft and result in you paying more tax or receiving a larger tax refund than you are entitled to.

You only need to provide your TFN to organisations when you:

• start a job

• open a bank account

• apply for a government benefit or allowance

• lodge your tax return

• register for GST

• start a business

If you are asked for your TFN, and you do not wish to provide it, you can ask the organisation why they need it and how they will use it.

How to Apply for a TFN in Australia

You can apply for a TFN online, at a Services Australia centre, at Australia post, or by post.

Applying for a TFN Online

You can apply online using your myGovID if you are an Australian citizen with an Australian passport. You will obtain your TFN immediately and will be able to begin using myGov and ATO online services.

  1. Create a strong myGovID.

  2. Read the ATO's terms and conditions for getting a TFN.

  3. Apply for your TFN

You should obtain your TFN immediately after completing this step. It will be shown on the screen, and you will be able to download or print a summary of your application that includes your TFN number.

At a Services Australia Centre

You can apply in person at a Services Australia centre if you are an Australian resident for tax purposes.

  1. Get a copy of the Tax file number - individual application or enquiry (NAT 1432) form. You may either get it online from the ATO or request one at a Services Australia office.

  2. Bring your original identification documents to the Services Australia centre.

The ATO will provide you the TFN after your TFN application has been processed.

At Australia Post

You can apply for a Tax File Number at Australia Post by attending an interview. There is no fee to apply.

  1. Visit the ATO website to complete the online application form.

  2. Print the application summary and gather the necessary identification papers for an interview.

  3. Find a participating Post Office near you. TFN applications are only accepted at certain Post Offices. While appointments are not required, you may schedule one if you want.

  4. To complete your application, you must attend an interview at a participating Post Office within 30 days of printing your application summary. Don't forget to bring your application summary and any relevant identification papers.

After your interview, you should obtain your TFN within 28 days. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will mail your TFN to the address you provided in your application.


It is important to know how to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) in Australia to ensure that you are able to comply with your tax obligations. The process is relatively simple and can be completed online or by mail. Once you have your TFN, you will need to keep it safe and secure as it is an important part of your personal identity.

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