What is a Tax File Number?

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 to transact with, not only with 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 49% of your pay in tax and any financial institution will also withhold 49% 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

The ATO and Australia Post have removed much of the red tape when an individual applies for a TFN. Tax File Number 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 online:

  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. Locate your nearest Australia Post outlet
  4. parents and guardians can also apply for a TFN on behalf of their children.

You should receive your TFN within 28 days after your interview. The ATO will mail your TFN to the postal address on your application.

Apply at a Department of Human Services (Centrelink) or a Department of Veterans Affairs office

You can also apply in person at a DHS (Centrelink) or DVA office by completing the paper form Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals (NAT 1432).

You can get a copy of this form by:

  • ordering online at www.ato.gov.au
  • phoning 1300 720 092
  • asking for one from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if you're applying for a government benefit or pension.

Make an appointment with either DHS or DVA and take your proof of identity documents with you. 

The ATO will send your TFN to the postal address on your application within 28 days

By Post

Fill in the paper form Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals (NAT 1432) and send it to the address shown on the form with certified copies (not originals) of your proof of identity documents.

What if I lose my TFN?

It isn’t uncommon to mislay your TFN. That can be particularly bothersome if you need to fill out a TFN declaration when you start a new job. You can generally find your TFN in any of the following places:

  • Your income tax “Notice of Assessment” for a previous year, or any other ATO correspondence
  • Any PAYG Payment Summaries issued from either an employer or other government agency such as Centrelink
  • Online if you have a myGov account linked to the ATO
  • Your superannuation member statement

If you still cannot locate your TFN, contact the ATO directly by calling 13 28 61.

H&R Block can help

Let us lodge your tax return for you.  

August 2017

Book a tax return appointment

Let us lodge your tax return for you. With over 440 offices staffed by over 2000 experienced tax accounting professionals, our tax accountants have the knowledge to walk you through the tax refund process with ease. We are committed to offering expert and personal service year-round at a location convenient to you.

Book now

Under 21 or student and need your tax refund asap?

If you are under 21 or a full time student (under 25 years) and need your tax return done, for just $70* H&R Block can do it for you.

Find out more

Book a tax return appointment

Let us lodge your tax return for you. With over 440 offices staffed by over 2000 experienced tax accounting professionals, our tax accountants have the knowledge to walk you through the tax refund process with ease. We are committed to offering expert and personal service year-round at a location convenient to you.

Book now

Under 21 or student and need your tax refund asap?

If you are under 21 or a full time student (under 25 years) and need your tax return done, for just $70* H&R Block can do it for you.

Find out more