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A Tax File number which is often shortened to TFN is a unique ID number every Australian worker receives from the government. The TFN is used for an individual’s tax return, benefit payments and superannuation services.  Australians are also required to have a TFN in order to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and to complete a bank account application.

Keeping Your TFN Safe

Your TFN consists of 9 digits and is unique to you, you should therefore never let anyone else use it. It is very important to keep your Tax File Number safe because if it ends up in the wrong hands it could potentially be used to commit fraud or identity theft in your name.

Your Tax File Number is like a driver’s license, in the sense that it is yours and it is private. Try your best not to lose it and let other people have it.

When do I need a Tax File Number?

Every employees in Australia is required to have a Tax File Number as soon as they commence working at any new job. It is preferable to register for one before you actually begin working at your new job that way you will be able to provide your TFN to your new employers on your first day of work. It is possible that your employer could tax you at a higher rate than you should be if you haven’t provided them with your TFN.

Tax File Number Declaration Form

Every time you commence working at a new job your employer will give you a Tax File Number Declaration Form to complete when you start. In this form you provide your employer with your TFN. The form also includes questions about your residency status, citizenship and other tax related questions. Your employer will apply the information provided in this form to work out how much tax you should pay.

Be sure you select ‘Yes’ to the question “Do you want to claim the tax-free threshold from the payer?”

You are entitled to earn a tax-free amount each year of $18,200. If you don’t tick the box you will end up paying more tax than you should.

What to Do If You Are Working More Than One Job?

It is essential for you to be aware that you should only claim this tax-free threshold amount from one employer in any given year. If you claim it from multiple employers, you won’t pay enough tax during the year and you could end up with a tax bill to pay back at tax time.

Other Reasons You Need A TFN

There are a few other scenarios where you might need your tax file number. The most common ones are: If you need to open a new bank account, applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) or if you need to claim government allowances or benefits such as; the Family Tax Benefit or other Centrelink payments.

How do I apply for a tax file number? What is the TFN application process?

You can submit a Tax File Number application online via the Australian Government’s MyGov Website or in person at a post office. You can also request for your tax agent to do a TFN application for you.

There is no charge if you make the application yourself. Once processed, you receive it in the mail, so make sure to provide a correct, safe mailing address.

How long does it take to get a TFN?

The Australian Tax Office should contact you within 10 days of your application but it may take up to 28 for you to receive your tax file number.

What to do if my TFN is lost or stolen?

If you someone steals your Tax File Number you should immediately contact the Australian Tax Office. If you think it was revealed to someone else, or stolen somehow, don’t hang around and don’t just forget about it. It could end up getting you into debt. In a worst case scenario the person who has stolen your TFN could use your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes in your name.

Is It Acceptable for My Tax Agent to Ask Me to Email Them A Copy of My Tax File Number?

Your tax agent should never ask you to send them your TFN by email. They should also never ask you fax it to them or write the number down anywhere. If you see them doing this, call them out on it straight away. It’s very unprofessional of them and puts your privacy at risk. It is unprofessional and potentially dangerous because, if anyone ever gets access to your email, or the other person’s email even years later into the future they could gain access to your TFN and use it to try and scam you.