Are you changing your business structure?

If you are changing your business structure (e.g from a sole trader to a company), you will need to apply for a new ABN.

Examples of when you need to cancel your ABN and apply for a new ABN under the new structure include moving from either:

  • individual/sole trader to partnership or trust
  • individual/sole trader to company or trust
  • partnership to company or trust.

You must ensure that your ABN details are updated on your tax invoices. This is essential as your ABN is used to:

  • identify your business identity to others when ordering and invoicing
  • claim GST credits.

Other businesses and entities must withhold payment at the top tax rate if the ABN quoted on the invoice is incorrect or the details do not match up.

Tip! Ensure that you update your GST registration details whenever you get a new ABN.

To do! Contact your tax adviser if you are considering changing your business structure. There are also likely to be tax issues.

 Did you know that you can lose your ABN?

The ATO will cancel your ABN if your business is no longer operating. Not keeping lodgements up to date is a key indication of this. So that they get it right, the ATO uses information from:

  • your tax returns
  • other lodgements; and
  • third party information.

What happens if the ATO cancels your ABN?

If the ATO cancels your ABN and you want to start your business again, or the ATO gets it wrong, you can reapply and get the same ABN back (as long as your business structure remains the same).

If the business structure is different – for example, you were a sole trader, but your new business is a company – you will get a different ABN.

Tip! If you have changed your business structure, you’ll need to get a new ABN in these circumstances – see above.

Read our complete November 2019 Taxwise Business Newsletter here

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