19th Dec, 2022
Treasury has released draft legislation which proposes two new grounds under which the Registrar of the Australian Business Register may cancel an Australian Business Number (ABN).
The government had earlier announced its intention to “strengthen” the ABN system by imposing new compliance obligations for ABN holders to retain their ABN. Currently, ABN holders are able to retain their ABN regardless of whether they are meeting their income tax return lodgment obligations or the obligation to regularly update their ABN details.
It’s worth noting that there are over nine million active ABN holders on the Australian Business Register.
The proposed changes would allow the Registrar of the Australian Business Register to cancel a person’s ABN if they haven’t lodged their required income tax returns for two or more income years where the period for lodgement has ended. These wouldn’t need to be consecutive income years.
This ground for cancellation would apply for failures to lodge tax returns beginning with income years commencing on 1 July 2022, so the earliest the Registrar could cancel an ABN would be in the second half of 2024, if the ABN-holder failed to lodge tax returns for the income years beginning on 1 July 2022 and 1 July 2023.
The proposed changes would also allow the Registrar to cancel an ABN if the holder hadn’t given a notification within the past 12 months that they still require the ABN and that the information on the Register is current and correct.
This power would be available to the Registrar after 1 July 2024. In effect, this would require ABN holders to check their ABN details and notify the Registrar at least once in the period between the commencement of these provisions and 1 July 2024, and then at least once annually.
01st May, 2022
The ATO is urging people and businesses to be vigilant following an increase in reports of fake websites offering to provide tax file numbers (TFN) and Australian business numbers (ABN) for a fee, but failing to provide those services.
The fake TFN and ABN services are often advertised on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The scammers use the fraudulent websites they advertise to steal both money and personal information.
The ATO is also still seeing scammers impersonating the ATO, making threats, demanding the payment of fake tax debts or claiming a TFN has been “suspended” due to fraud.
In 2021, more than 50,000 people reported various ATO impersonation scams, with victims losing a total of more than $800,000.
Tips to protect yourself from scammers