Difference Between ABN and ACN

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Australian Business Number (ABN) pertains to the eleven digit number issued to any operating business within Australia, irrespective of its size and operation scale. This number is issued by the Australian Taxation Office.

The ABN is issued free of cost by the Taxation authorities upon receipt of an online request from the concerned business and registration with the Australian Business Register. Once a business registers for ABN, the name for the business can be registered and GST can be registered for at the same time. An AUSkey is provided to the business to transact with the government agencies online.

This number lends credibility to the possessing business. An ABN is the identification number of a business which can be used in its interactions with other businesses, customers or with the concerned Government authorities. Specially during ordering for goods or services the ABN is used for introduction. Similarly during invoicing for goods or service already provided to a customer this number can be used.

The ABN also helps a business to do away with the “Pay As You Go” Tax. In the form of credits the Australian Business Number enables a business to claim Goods and Service tax credits (GST). Energy grants credits can also be applied for and availed using the ABN. An Australian domain name for the operating business is obtained upon obtaining the ABN from the Taxation office. A Business is recognized as applicable to receive tax deductible gifts and get relief from income tax for charities done by the business.

Post the filling up and submission of an online form an ABN application is reviewed and responded within twenty days of application. In certain cases there may be a requirement for additional information in form of additional documents in support of identity, which is notified to the application.

Incase a business changes its operating structure the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have to be notified and this may sometimes call for registering a new ABN. The previous or existing ABN, in such cases, needs to be cancelled.

The information about businesses from a particular area, available to the government in through the ABN registration process, allows the government to undertake community and locality based welfare schemes.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission issues a nine digit number, known as an Australian Company Number to the companies registered in Australia. The primary purpose of this number is accurate identification of the company during its transactions with the other Businesses, Customers and Government agencies. Under the Corporations Act 2001, this Australian Company Number issued to operating companies, must be displayed on a large range of documents pertaining to an organization, conducting business in Australia. A new enterprise receives the ACN once it registers with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

An algorithm is used to generate the CAN, the last digit of which is a unique identifier. The ACN is required to be made visible on a host of documents including the invoices and order for goods and services, on receipts which are not machine generated, on official company circulars and memos, letterheads, cheques, promissory notes and bills of exchange, any proposals for offering services or goods. In all written communication with the ASIC, an enterprise must display its CAN clearly and legibly.

Incase a particular company’s ABN includes the 9 digit ACN as well, then the ABN can be used in place of the ACN.

Not all companies with ACN require an ABN. Only companies and Non- profit organization with turnover above a particular limit require an ABN as well.

Thus, while both the nine digit ACN and eleven digit ABN are issued by government authorities to identify registered businesses across Australia, the ACN serves more as the identifier and ABN as a repository for the particular company.

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