The Australian Business Register (ABR) receives around 80,000 ABN registrations applications a month. Around 91% of these applications result in registrations being issued on the spot. The main reason ABNs are not issued for the others is a failure to establish the identity of the people behind the business.

The ATO said it has been working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to pick a representative sample of around 1,400 recently issued ABNs so that it can review their ABN entitlement. It said these reviews will inform future focus areas to reduce the number of people applying for and receiving ABNs when they are not entitled. The reviews will focus on ABNs issued for individuals, partnerships and trusts in August and October 2016.

The ATO said tax professionals who have applied for an ABN on a client’s behalf during this period may be contacted and required to provide evidence that their client is running a business or have taken steps to start a business.

[ATO website – ABN check] [LTN 212, 2/11/16]