How to get a Tax File Number (TFN) in Australia – Online tutorial


Are you coming to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa? In order to work you will have to get your Tax File Number (TFN) in Australia. Read this walkthrough on how to get it easily online.

Tax File Number (TFN) – What is it?

The TFN is a unique and personal 9-digit number issued by the Australian authorities. This number allows you to be registered with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). You must provide this number to your employer in order to work legally in Australia.

The number does not change and is assigned for life (it does not matter whether you change your name, visa, address, etc.). You can return to Australia with a second Working Holiday Visa (WHV) or another visa and use the same number.]

How to get a TFN?

The TFN can be obtained by applying online at the Australian Tax Office website. It is available 24 hours a day and 7 hours a week. It is free. To apply you will need to have an address in Australia

The TFN application is mandatory if you want to work in Australia. Is you do not do this you will be taxed at the maximum rate of 47% (backpackers pay 15%).

Following your request, you will receive a reference number that you can use while waiting to receive your final TFN. It will be sent within 28 days to the postal address indicated in your application. If you do not live at this address anymore, do not worry. You can still get your TFN number by calling 13 28 61 (8 am to 6 PM Monday to Friday). If you do not speak English very well, you can always contact their translation service at 13 14 50.

Step 1: Prepare the necessary documents for the application

To apply, you will need:

  • your passport;
  • a postal address in Australia;
  • an Australian telephone number;
  • a valid email address.

Step 2: Connect to the ATO website


Note that if the website is under maintenance you can always download the TFN application form (it will be available for download) and send it to the address indicated on the form.

Once on the homepage, click on the first link:

Demande TFN Australie

Step 3: Fill out the form online

Click Apply Online for a TFN. You will then get to the first page of the application. After reading this one, click Next.

Demande TFN Australie 2

The next two pages explain who can apply for a TFN. They also provide you with useful phone numbers if you wish to contact the ATO. After reading the page, lick Next. On the next page you must confirm that you have the visa required to obtain a TFN and list any necessary documents. After checking them, click on Next

how to apply for tfn in australia

Next is the part where you are asked to enter your details:

how to apply tax file number

You are asked to provide your title (Sir, Madam, Miss), your last name and your first name.

You are asked if you have been known by any other names before (e.g. maiden name if you took your husbands name after marriage). Click No if this is not the case.

Then provide your date of birth, gender and other details. Then click Next

The next page inquires about any former TFN or Australian Business Number (ABN) you may have had:

Demande TFN Australie 6

The first question asked on this page is “Have you ever applied for a TFN or ABN in Australia?“. You may have applied for an ABN or TFN a few years ago and even gotten one, but you do not remember it. In this case, we advise you to contact the ATO before applying online.

The second question is whether you have already obtained a TFN or ABN. If you had one, but do not remember it, contact ATO.

Next, you will be asked whether you have already filed a tax return in Australia. The general answer will be NO.

The last question requires you to indicate if you own any property or gain any profits in Australia (e.g. from dividends). In general, the answer will be NO. Once completed, click Next.

On the Next page, you will be required to provide an address in Australia. This could be the address of a caravan park, hostel or friend. It will be the address with the letter containing your TFN will be sent.

You will also be asked to provide your home address, an Australian phone number and your email address.

Once your application is complete you will receive your TFN within 28 days. If you change your address in the meantime you can call the ATO at 13 28 61.

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Last updated 16/05/2019. First published 14/02/2018.