Similar to a Social Security number in the United States, a Tax File Number is a nine-digit number the Australian Taxation Office issues to individuals and organizations for tax purposes. Getting a TFN is voluntary but important because you need a TFN to start a new job, open bank accounts that earn interest, and apply for government benefits in Australia. It is also necessary for filing tax returns, checking your tax records and applying for student loans.
How to Get One
If you live in Australia and can present your identifying documents in person at an ATO center, you can start the application process online. After filling in and submitting the online application found on the ATO website, print the summary page. This page tells you what documents to bring to an ATO center to prove your identity and receive your TFN. You can also print an application and mail it in with your identifying documents.
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Where to Look
To find your TFN, check your income tax notice; your superannuation member statement, which is the summary of benefits from the government; or any correspondence the ATO sends you. You can also find your TFN on the payment stubs from your employer. If you have a registered tax agent, he can look up your TFN for you or you can contact the ATO by phone or make an appointment with an ATO shop. If your TFN is stolen or lost, contact the ATO right away to prevent any potential identity theft.