Your tax file number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and super systems, and is your unique identifier with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Your TFN is an important part of your tax and super records as well as your identity, so keep it secure.
Your TFN is yours for life. You keep the same TFN even if you change your name, change jobs, move interstate or go overseas.
You will need a TFN in order to transact with not only the ATO but also with many other Australian Government agencies. A TFN is required when:
•Lodging a tax return
•Starting working or changing jobs
•Filling out a Tax File Number Declaration
•Applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) as a sole trader
•Applying for income assistance or support payments through Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs
•Claiming the Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
•Applying for HECS-HELP
•Making or receiving payments under PAYG withholding
If you are working and do not have a TFN, your employer must take 46.5% of your pay in tax and any financial institution will also withhold 46.5% of any interest earned. Remember your TFN should only be used for taxation purposes and you need to protect it at all times.
You don't have to have a TFN, but without one you pay more tax. You also won't be able to apply for government benefits, lodge your tax return electronically or get an Australian business number (ABN).
Applying for a Tax File number
TFN applications are now simpler and easier, as they can now be applied for online at ato gov.au/TFNapply and have your identity verified at Australia Post retail outlets throughout the country. To apply online:
1.Fill in online form at ato.gov.au/TFNapply
2.Print the application summary
3.Visit a participating post office with your printed application summary and proof of identity documents within 30 days of printing. Your nearest Australia Post outlet can be located at auspost.com.au/pol/app/locate
4.Parents and guardians can also apply for a TFN on behalf of their children.
You should receive your TFN within 28 days after your interview. The ATO will mail your TFN to the postal address on your application.
If you are a secondary school student, the easiest way to get your TFN is via the Secondary Schools TFN Program. Contact your Careers Advisor, school office staff or ato.gov.au for further details.