Tax File Number Application Procedure

4 min read

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a nine-digit number that is your unique identifier with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Everyone has a different TFN. Your TFN is yours for life, even if you change jobs, move interstate or change your name. If you leave the country and later come back to Australia, you still use the same TFN.

You will need a TFN in order to transact with not only the ATO but also with many other Australian Government agencies. A TFN is required when:

  • lodging a tax return
  • starting working or changing jobs
  • filling out a Tax File Number Declaration
  • applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) as a sole trader
  • applying for income assistance or support payments through Centrelink or Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • claiming the Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
  • applying for HECS-HELP
  • making or receiving payments under PAYG withholding.
If you are working and do not have a TFN, your employer must take 47% of your pay in tax and any financial institution will also withhold 47% of any interest earned. Remember your TFN should only be used for taxation purposes and you need to protect it at all times.

Applying for a Tax File number

Apply online via myGovID for Australian citizens with an Australian passport

First you need to set up a strong myGovID. You can do this by downloading the myGovID app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store on your smart phone and entering your personal details, including your full name, date of birth and personal email address (if you have an existing myGov account, the email address you provide for myGovID needs to match).
Then you verify your Australian passport and one of the following Australian identity documents
  • birth certificate
  • citizenship certificate
  • driver’s licence (including learner’s permit)
  • Medicare card
Finally you verify your photo – this is a one-off scan that checks that you’re a real person, the right person and verifying in real time.
Once you have set up a strong myGovID, you are ready to apply for your TFN:
  • review and agree to Terms and conditions
  • select Apply online for your TFN
  • confirm your myGovID – if you have an existing myGov account, the email address you provide for myGovID needs to match
  • sign in to your myGov account or create an account – you will be prompted to connect your myGovID
  • complete your TFN application.
You should receive your TFN straight away. If your TFN is displayed on screen, you can download or print a summary of your application. This will include a record of your TFN.

Apply at Australian Post

TFN applications are now simpler and easier, as they can now be applied for online and have your identity verified at more than 460 Australia Post retail outlets throughout the country. To apply on line:
  1. Fill in online form
  2. Print the application summary
  3. Visit a participating post office with your printed application summary and proof of identity documents within 30 days of printing. Find your nearest Australia Post outlet.
  4. Parents and guardians can also apply for a TFN on behalf of their children.

Apply at a Services Australia centre

You can also apply in person at a Services Australia centre by completing the paper form Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals.
To apply at Services Australia, you can:
  • get a copy of the form by ordering online or Services Australia can provide you with the form.
  • provide your original proof of identity documents.

Apply by post

If you can't apply via any of the other available channels, you'll need to complete a paper form.
Send your completed TFN application and certified copies of your proof of identity documents to the address listed on the form

Book an online appointment today

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