Tax File Number

What is and how do I get a tax file number?
Everyone has a different TFN. Your TFN is yours for life, even if you change jobs, move interstate or change your name. If you leave the country and later come back to Australia, you still use the same TFN.  When you make enquiries about your tax records, the Australian Taxation Office will ask you for your TFN. They will also ask for other information to check that you are who you say you are.  Your TFN is valuable. Do not share it with friends and do not provide it over the internet when applying for jobs.

Why do you need a TFN?
It is not compulsory to have a TFN. However, without it:
  • your employer must take 45% of your wages in tax
  • financial institutions are required to tax your interest at 45%
  • Centrelink will generally not pay you an allowance such as -Youth Allowance, Newstart or Austudy
There are two ways you can apply for a Tax File Number:
1. Apply online and then attend an interview at an Australia Post Office:
  This is the easiest way to apply for a TFN. There are 3 steps in the process:
  • Complete the online form.  
  • Print off the summary - after completing the form, you need to print off the application summary. You will need it for the next step.
  • Attend an Australia Post interview - you must attend an interview at your local Australia Post outlet within 30 days of completing your online application. Bookings are not essential, but are recommended. You will need to take 2 things with you to your interview:
    • Your printed application summary
    • Your "Proof of Identity" documents (see notes below about what is required for proof of identity). 

2. Complete the paper based form and send in your "Proof of Identity": If you are not able to attend an interview, you can complete the paper based application form. To get this you can contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 and ask them to send you a copy of the "Tax file number -application and enquiry for individuals" or check your local Post Office or newsagent as they may have them.  Once you have completed the application you need to send it off to the address that is on the form and you must also include certified copies of your identification documents.  Do not send original documents as the ATO do not return any documents to you. 

Your "Proof of Identity":  When you apply for a Tax File Number (via either of the above methods) you have to verify your identity to the ATO. You need to provide certain documents to do this. The documents you require vary depending on whether you are over or under 16 years of age.  To get all the details on which documents click here.