Individual taxpayers of any age, and entities can apply for a tax file number.
Non-residents are not given a TFN for employment purposes unless they hold a visa which allows them to work in Australia.
Lost file number
Normally only one file number is issued during your lifetime. Which means if you lose it, you can’t get another one legally, and you have to request the Tax Office to find it for you. The ATO streamlines the TFN enquiry process by including an “enquiry” option on TFN application forms.
How To Start a TFN Application
Tax File Number Application/Enquiry forms are not freely downloadable. The exact application process varies according to the applicant’s status.
Individuals – residents
The special Secondary school students tax file number program was discontinued on 31 December 2014, and students now apply using the same process.
Alternatively, a paper application form can be obtained from the ATO directly by ordering online (form number NAT 1432) or calling the number 1300 720 092.
The form may also be available from ATO shopfronts, Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders have a dedicated application and proof of identity process.
A specific Form number NAT 1589 must be obtained from the ATO directly, or Centrelink, by ordering online or calling the number 1300 720 092.
Migrants and visitors
Foreign passport holders who are in Australia with:
- a valid working holiday-maker visa
- a valid visa allowing a stay in Australia indefinitely
- a valid visa with work rights
- a valid overseas student visa which has been amended to allow work rights
- a New Zealand passport with a visa automatically granted on arrival
Non-residents (non-resident for tax purposes – not the same as immigration status), if applicable, use NAT 2628. See form download and other information here.
Non-Individual Entities TFN Applications
Tax agents have dedicated channels for tax file number applications on behalf of client entities. The following information is for non-agent applications.
A tax file number for a company, partnership, trust, super fund, charity or other organisation such as an unincorporated company, club or association can be obtained through an online application at abr.gov.au. An Australian Business Number (ABN) may also be applied for at the same time.
Paper forms: Companies, partnerships, trusts and other organisations can still use paper form NAT 3799 which is obtainable by ordering or downloading online.
Proof of Identity
All tax file number applications require the verification of documents as part of the approval process. Standard application processing time is 28 days from the date of submitted proof of identity documents, although actual processing times are usually well within that time frame.
The documents needed for proof of identity are specified in the terms of each application type. See document certification.
- Why do you need a tax file number?
- Getting copies of tax returns, assessments or payment summaries
- Amending a tax return
- Non-quotation of an ABN
This page was last modified on 2018-12-05