Glossary

ABN

The ABN is a unique 11 digit identifier issued to all entities registered in the Australian Business Register (ABR).

ABN status

An ABN can have a status of active or cancelled. A status of cancelled means the business has ceased trading.

ACN/ARBN/ARSN

An Australian Company Number (ACN) is a nine digit number allocated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) when a body becomes registered as a company under Corporations Law.

An Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) is a nine digit number allocated by ASIC when a body is registered with them other than as a company, for example, foreign companies and registrable Australian bodies.

An Australian Registered Scheme Number (ARSN) is a nine digit number allocated by ASIC to manage investment schemes registered in Australia.

If an entity with an ABN has an associated ACN, ARBN or ARSN you can search ABN Lookup using that ACN, ARBN or ARSN.

Approved worker entitlement fund

A worker entitlement fund is a fund for employee long service leave, sick leave or redundancy payments. These funds are often referred to as redundancy trusts or redundancy funds. Although these funds operate in a variety of ways, their purpose is to manage employee entitlements and provide portability and protection.

For more information see Approved Worker Entitlement Fund (AWEF).

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) commenced operation on 3 December 2012 as the independent national regulator of charities.

The ACNC has been set up to:

  • maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector through increased accountability and transparency;
  • support and sustain a robust, vibrant and innovative not-for-profit sector; and
  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector.

To find a charity on the ACNC Register visit the ACNC web site External site.

Where ACNC registration is shown against an ABN, the organisation is registered as a charity. Having an ABN is a requirement for being registered as a charity. If an ABN is cancelled, the entity will no longer be entitled to registration as a charity.

Business name(s)

The national business names registration service has replaced state and territory services, meaning you only need to register your business name once with a single national register.

The new service commenced on 28 May 2012 and is managed and administered by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

If your business does not operate under your own entity name (e.g. GLM Pty Limited or Jane Smith), you will need a registered business name.

To apply for a registered business name you will need to have (or be in the process of applying for) an Australian business number (ABN). This is to assist with the identification of the entity behind a business name.

If you have registered a new business name with ASIC after 28 May 2012, ASIC will automatically update the ABR and ABN Lookup with this information.

To register for, update or cancel a business name, you will need to go to the ASIC website External site.

Charitable tax concessions

ABN Lookup identifies institutions or funds established for a charitable purpose, namely:

  • the relief of poverty or sickness or the needs of the aged
  • the advancement of education
  • the advancement of religion
  • other purposes beneficial to the community

Organisations that are charities need to be endorsed by the ATO to access charity concessions under the income tax, Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) laws.

Taxation concessions displayed on ABN Lookup are:

  • Income Tax Exemption
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) concessions
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) rebate (capped to $30,000 per employee)
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption (capped to $30,000 per employee)

For more information see charitable tax concessions.

Current details tab

ABN Lookup provides access to the publicly available information provided by businesses when they register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). The information available on ABN Lookup is provided through the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 External site.

Both current and historical information is available through ABN Lookup. On the ABN details screen, use the 'Current details' tab to view current information only and the 'Historical details' tab to view both current and historical details. For example, if an entity's name changes over time, the 'Current details' tab displays the current entity name and the 'Historical details' tab displays both the current and previous entity names.

Dates of effect - From To

Most of the information recorded about an ABN is effective for a defined period.

  • The From date is the date that the registration comes into effect.
  • The To date is the date that a registration ceases to be effective. '(current)' in the To date column indicates the registration is current.

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status

A Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) is entitled to receive income tax deductible gifts. All DGRs have to be endorsed unless they are named specifically in the income tax law. There are two types of DGR endorsement:

  • Entities in their own right
  • An entity that is only a DGR in relation to a fund, authority or institution it operates

For the second type, only gifts to the fund, authority or institution are tax deductible.

ABN Lookup also records DGR item numbers. See Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) for more information.

Entity name

Entity name refers to the name that appears on all official documents or legal papers. The entity name may be different from the business name.

Entity type

Entity type describes the entity associated with an ABN in terms of income tax, Australian business number (ABN) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation.

For more information see the list of entity types that appear on ABN Lookup.

Goods & Services Tax (GST) status

Goods & Services Tax (GST) is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services or anything else for consumption in Australia. The information in ABN Lookup indicates if and when an entity is registered for GST.

Historical details tab

ABN Lookup provides access to the publicly available information provided by businesses when they register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). The information available on ABN Lookup is provided through the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 External site.

Both current and historical information is available through ABN Lookup. On the ABN details screen, use the 'Current details' tab to view current information only and the 'Historical details' tab to view both current and historical details. For example, if an entity's name changes over time, the 'Current details' tab displays the current entity name and the 'Historical details' tab displays both the current and previous entity names.

Last updated

The date that the ABN was last updated from the Australian Business Register (ABR) is displayed at the bottom left of the current and historical details screen.

Main business location

Only the state and postcode of the main business location is available through ABN Lookup.

Record extracted

The date that the ABN record was extracted from ABN Lookup is displayed at the bottom right of the ABN details screen.

Trading name(s)

In accordance with the law, as of 28 May 2012 the Australian Business Register (ABR) no longer collects or updates trading names.

Trading names that were collected prior to 28 May 2012 will continue to be displayed in ABN Lookup and the ABR until October 2018, but can no longer be updated. This is to allow time for the business community to adjust to the new business name system and to take steps to register a business name which may have previously been unregistered.

From November 2018, ABN Lookup will cease displaying all trading names and only display registered business names.

You are still able to maintain a trading name with the ATO for taxation purposes. However, any updates will not be passed to the ABR or ABN Lookup and will not be available to the community.

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