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ATO to Cancel Inactive ABNs

Are Your ABNs Active and Up To Date?

To maintain accurate data, the Australian Business Register (ABR) periodically checks its records for Australian business numbers (ABNs), and automatically cancels those that appear inactive. The ABR checks are happening throughout 2018.

If you are a sole trader, partnership, or trust your ABN may be cancelled if you have:

  • declared no business income for the last two years.

  • not lodged business activity statements or income tax returns for more than two years.

To avoid ABN cancellation, if you have outstanding lodgments you will need to bring these up to date.

Sometimes sole traders have forms outstanding because they think they don't need to lodge if their income is below the tax-free threshold. Remember, sole traders, regardless of their income, need to:

  • lodge their individual tax return, including the supplementary section.

  • lodge their business and professional items schedule for individuals.

  • pay their IAS, and if Nil they must lodge a Nil.

It is important that ABR information remains current, as the public uses ABN Lookup data to verify business and GST status. If you are a sole trader and no longer operate a business, you can update your business structure and cancel the ABN. If you later decide to start running the business again, you can easily reapply.

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