The ATO has introduced a new automated process which allows business owners or their accountants to confirm if the ABN is still required via a secure voice response system. ABNs can be selected for the cancellation program if the tax office cannot detect any business activity in their tax return or other lodgements or third-party information.
Therefore, businesses are being urged to report any income earned under their ABN in their tax return, regardless of the amount.
“By keeping their tax obligations up to date we can see they are actively undertaking a business, therefore their ABN should not be cancelled,” the ATO said.
If an ABN is cancelled, the business will have to re-apply to activate it again. If an ABN is no longer needed, then the holder should go online and cancel it.
Businesses are also being urged to ensure all ABN details contain up-to-date information on authorised contacts; the organisation's physical location; postal address; email address and phone number.
“Updating your ABN details might be the last thing on your mind but it is important to keep your organisation's contact details up to date, especially as the risk of natural disasters like bushfire and storms increases at this time of year,” the ATO said in a statement.
“During times of emergency or natural disaster, your ABN details are used by emergency services and government agencies to help identify businesses in affected areas that might need help or support. If your ABN details are out-of-date you risk missing out on important assistance, updates or opportunities such as grants.”