Are you coming to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa? In order to work in Australia, you will need to get your Tax File Number (TFN). 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). The number does not change and is assigned for life (it does not matter whether you change your name, visa, address, etc.). You must provide this number to your employer in order to work legally in Australia. Read this walkthrough on how to get it easily online.
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. If you don’t have one, you will be taxed at a 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 in Australia. 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: Check that you meet the conditions to apply
To apply, you will need:
- Be in possession of a foreign passport, be a permanent migrant or a temporary visitor
- You are already in Australia
- Your visa is one of the following:
- a permanent resident visa
- a visa with work rights
- an overseas student visa
- a visa allowing you to stay in Australian indefinitely (including New Zealanders automatically granted a visa on arrival).
Step 2: Prepare the necessary documents for the application
To apply, you will need your passport, a postal address in Australia, an Australian mobile number and a valid email address.
Step 3: 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 “Apply online for a TFN“:
Step 4: Fill out the online form
The first page explains who can apply for a tax file number, and provides you the useful phone numbers if you wish to contact the ATO. After reading the page, click Next.
On the next page, you must confirm that you have the visa in Australia required to obtain a TFN and list any necessary documents. After checking them, click on Next
Travel documentation details
Next is the part where you are asked to enter your details:
The fields marked with an asterisk must be filled in.
You must enter your passport number, country of issue and indicate if you’ve ever been in Australia before (holiday, studies, work etc).
Once the fields are filled, click Next
Your personal details
You can move on to the next page where you must enter your details identity :
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
Existing ABN or TFN
The next page inquires about any former TFN or Australian Business Number (ABN) you may have had:
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 in Australia. 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.
Verification of your personal information
The following page is a summary and is used to validate your personal information :
Edit your information in case of error.
If the information is correct, click on Re-Submit.
The next page will ask you to enter an address in Australia :
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 (from your Home country if you don’t have an address in Australia).
Personal contact details
On the next page you will need to provide your personal details or those of someone who represents you:
In the event that the Taxation Office would need more information to complete your application you must indicate your personal details or those of someone who can represent you.
If you wish to be contacted tick the box “Me” and then fill in the following boxes with your information.
If you want someone to respond to your site check the box for “Another person“, choose the reason and fill in the following boxes with the details of the person.
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 01/04/2020. First published 14/02/2018.