Apply for a Sole Trader ABN Online (In Under 10 Minutes)

As a sole trader, applying for an ABN online might bring up a few questions and issues:

  • Applying for an ABN can look like a difficult and time-consuming process
  • It often takes 20+ days to receive your ABN
  • You're not sure what to do with your ABN and what the next steps are

In this article, you’ll find all the information you need to get your ABN without spending hours researching online or spending too much money. We’ll be covering:

Looking to apply for an ABN right away? Get your ABN online with Parpera today!

How to apply for a sole trader ABN

There are four ways to apply for an ABN:

  1. Apply with Parpera
  2. Hire an accountant
  3. Apply through the Australian Business Register
  4. Do it yourself

Let’s take a look at all four options one by one.

1. Apply with Parpera

Parpera is an all-in-one financial management platform in a simple-to-use app designed for small businesses, freelancers and sole traders in Australia.

We’ve built our app specifically for freelancers, which means we’ve made it as easy and simple as possible to register for an ABN and set up a business account.

The benefits of applying for an ABN with Parpera are:

  • It takes 4 minutes to complete your application
  • You can do it on your phone
  • You’ll get your ABN within 24 to 48 hours after submitting your application
  • It's FREE to process the ABN application. 
  • We’ve made it as simple as possible. You’ll only need to answer a few questions to apply with Parpera.

What details do you need while signing up for an ABN number?

You will need:

  • Your date of birth.
  • Your tax number.
  • Your address.
  • Details about the type of business you run

How can you apply for an ABN with Parpera?

We currently only offer ABNs for individuals/sole traders. If you're a business owner and want a company ABN, you’ll first need to register for your company, pick a business name and use the other methods listed below.

You can apply for an ABN through the Parpera app or via the website. When you download our app, you’ll be given an opportunity to request an ABN before creating your account.

Once you enter your email, you’ll be asked a series of questions including:

  • Will your business activities be carried out in Australia?
  • Have you started or taken steps towards starting your business?
  • Is this your first ABN?
  • Do you have an Australian Company Number (ACN)?
  • Your date of birth
  • Your business address
  • Your tax file number (TFN)
  • What’s your main reason for applying for an individual/sole trader ABN?

These questions help us understand whether you’re eligible for an individual/sole trader ABN and if you can carry out a business in Australia.

2. Hire an accountant

The second option is to hire an accountant to help you apply for an ABN. They will likely charge an additional fee unless you’re already a client or plan to use their services again.

Where can you find accountants? Some ideas are:

3. Apply through the Australian Business Register

You can go through the Australian government’s website and apply for your ABN details on the Australian Business Register. It’s free and your application will take up to 20 business days to be reviewed.

australian business register page parpera

Before applying for an ABN through Australian Business Register:

  • Make sure to read all the information and instructions available on the website.
  • Keep handy all the business and tax documents you need for the application process.

Here are the steps to applying for an ABN via the ABR: 

  1. Click on the ‘Apply for ABN’ button on the ABR website
  2. Read and agree to the terms and conditions. 
  3. Fill out the application form with the requested information for your business. 
  4. Sign up for the application form and print it out for future reference.
  5. Click on the ‘Submit’ button to submit your application.

You can see how your application is doing with the ABN Lookup tool.

4. Do it yourself

There are several tools you can find online that will apply for an ABN online for you. However, most of them charge at least $39 to get it done and could take over a week to be processed.

Online tools that offer ABN service:

  • Veromo
  • Easy Companies

Most of the ABN registration tools have a three-step process:

  1. Fill out the ABN registration form.
  2. The application form is reviewed and processed online.
  3. If your application is approved, you will receive an email confirmation with your ABN number.

What is an ABN and why is it important for freelancers and sole traders?

An ABN is an Australian Business Number issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is managed by the ATO (Australian Taxation Office). It’s an 11 digit number that helps you get paid and manage your business transactions for tax purposes.

You can’t invoice for work performed without an ABN, which is why it’s essential to get an ABN for your business.

Once you get your ABN, you’ll be able to register for GST (Goods and Services Tax), register for PAYG (Pay As You Go) if you’re hiring employes and register your business name.

Types of ABN

Depending on the kind of business you run and your business structure, there are different types of ABN for you to consider while filling out the application:

  • Individual/ Sole trader
  • Company
  • Partnership 
  • Trust 
  • Super Entity

What happens after you submit your application?

Once you’ve submitted your ABN application, there are three possible outcomes:

1. Your application is successful

If your application is successful, you’ll receive your ABN number immediately. That means you can start to invoice clients and apply for other business registrations. Your details will automatically be added to the Australian Business Register.

2. Your application needs more information

In some cases, the ABR might need more information from you. You’ll receive a reference number with some questions requesting more information. If your application has been approved, you’ll get a confirmation and your ABN in 14 days.

3. Your application is turned down

If your application is unsuccessful, you’ll be given a “refusal number”. The ABR will send you a letter within 14 days explaining why your application was refused and what other options are available to you.

What should you do after you have the ABN? Get a business account

As a sole trader, you can manage your business finances with your personal bank account. But this can get confusing when you start having business expenses and you want to sort out what you set off against taxes.

That’s why it’s worth having separate business account that can help you to:

  • Get a better hold of your finances. It’ll be a lot easier to understand how much income you’re earning on a quarterly and yearly basis.
  • Separate your personal finances from business ones. You’ll be able to see where you’re spending your money and which expenses can be set against taxes.
  • Categorise your expenses for bookkeeping. 
  • Put aside money for income tax and GST.

With Parpera, it takes 10 minutes to set up a business account. Not sure it’s for you? You can sign up to a 30 day free trial and easily cancel from the settings menu if you don’t like it.  

To sign up with Parpera:

  1. Download the Parpera app.
  2. Sign up and verify your details. 
  3. Create your business profile (and apply for an ABN, if you don’t already have one).
  4. Verify your identity.
  5. Access your new business account through the Parpera app.

Why Parpera? A few reasons:

Easily manage your finances and set aside money for taxes

After creating an account with Parpera, you instantly create a Wise business account.

With your Wise business account, you can:

  • Get a virtual debit card with low-fee international payments.
  • Get instant money transfers to your own business account.
  • Do unlimited online transactions.
  • Set aside money for income tax and GST
parpera debit card

Create invoices that help you get paid more quickly

With Parpera, you’ll be able to create and send professionally designed invoices directly from your phone within a few minutes.

Every invoice you create will automatically include your business account details and is tax compliant (whether you’re registered for GST or not). We’ve optimised the invoice for faster payments:

  • All of your business account details are highlighted in the upper right-hand corner to make them easily visible to everyone.
  • Clients can immediately pay your invoice with the “Pay Now” button (coming soon).
  • Every invoice email has a payment link to make paying invoices easy for your clients.

You can review every invoice email before sending it to clients and you can send yourself or your accountant a copy with each one.

parpera invoice example

Free business debit card to manage expenses

Once you sign up to Parpera, you’ll be able to order your own virtual Parpera debit card. With the card, you’ll be able to pay for expenses online and in-person. We don’t charge any debit card fees, FX fees or additional card fees.

The card will be linked to your account, and you’ll be able to see your expenses come in as you spend. You’ll also be able to categorise them in different categories, and tag the ones that you want to claim against tax.

Claiming against taxes is as easy as tagging your expense to make sure you take into account when tax time comes around.

parpera expense categories

Get access to human-contact customer service whenever you need it

Parpera is not just an app: it’s a membership and community. You’ll get the support of our customer service, wherever and whenever you like, from the website and our app.

Plus, you’ll get:

  • Access to Community forums where you can get advice, connect with and promote your services to other freelancers, consultants, sole traders, and small businesses.
  • A number of Webinars and events created to help you run and grow your business. Past Parpera events include Digital tools for small businesses, Budgeting, and Marketing during a pandemic
  • Different Perks and rewards, such as discounts with Parpera partners, to help you run your business smoothly.
  • Free access to resources like our blog and a free ebook on how to set up, run, and grow your business.
  • We’ll ask you to share feedback to improve our services as well as test out new features before we roll them out.

Sole trader ABN FAQ

How much does it cost to get an ABN as a sole trader?

It depends where you get your ABN. Here are a few options:

  • With Parpera, it's FREE
  • With an accountant, it’ll  cost you whatever fee you’re paying them, usually $100+
  • Via the Australian Business Register, it’s free
  • And you can use third party tools that will charge you $40+

Is ABN sole trader free?

If you register through the Australian Business Register (ABR), it is free.

How do I get a sole trader ABN number?

There are four main ways to get an ABN number:

  1. With Parpera it’s FREE and you’ll get your ABN within 24 to 48 hours of submitting it
  2. With an accountant — it depends on your accountant, but it could cost $100+ but could be quite fast
  3. Via the ABR, it’ll take over 20 days but it’s free
  4. Via a third party, which takes usually a week

You can read more here: How to apply for an ABN

Do I need an ABN for a one off job?

It depends on whether the activity you are being paid for can be classified as a hobby or a business. This Australian’s Government page clearly defines the difference between the two. If it’s clearly a business transaction, then you’re better off getting an ABN — although make sure to consult with an accountant if you aren’t sure. 

Ready to apply for a sole trader ABN with Parpera?

Getting an ABN for your business doesn’t have to be tough or complicated. With Parpera, you can get an ABN within minutes. We hope this article on how to apply for an ABN online has provided you with all the information you need to get an ABN quickly so that you can focus on growing your business instead of dealing with admin.

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Published on the
April 21, 2022

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