“How Can I Find My Tax File Number?” and Other TFN Questions

Australian tax returns require a TFN - here's what you need to know

Australian tax returns require a TFN – here’s what you need to know

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique number issued to you by the ATO that helps them keep track of your Australian tax return and government payments. You only get one TFN for your entire life, even if your name or residency changes, so keep it confidential.

When lodging your taxes on E-Lodge or elsewhere, you’ll need to enter your tax file number so that the Australian Taxation Office can securely identify you.

Save $5 On Your 2014 Tax Return Why do I need a TFN?

Though not compulsory, it is highly recommended that you get a TFN. You will need it in order to do the following;

  • lodge an Australian tax return
  • ask the ATO a question about your taxes
  • apply for income assistance or support payments
  • claim the Family Tax Benefit
  • use PAYG withholding
  • start a new job, which includes filling out a Tax file number declaration or Withholding declaration
  • earn income from a savings account or investment
  • receive a HELP payment
  • join a superfund

Australian nonresidents should note that they don’t need a TFN to earn interest from an Australian bank account, dividends from Australian shares, or royalty payments.

How can I find my tax file number?

If you’ve lodged an Australian tax return before, you have a TFN. But if you aren’t sure if you have one or can’t find it anywhere, try looking in these documents:

  • an income tax notice of assessment
  • any correspondence from the ATO
  • a payment summary
  • a superannuation member statement

If none of these sources yield an answer, you can phone the ATO on 13 28 61.

Can I apply for my tax file number online?

Yes, most people can apply for a tax file number online. Individuals living outside Australia are the one exemption – they must use the old paper form. Note that there is a different process for applying for a TFN for different types of taxpayers.

Permanent migrants and temporary visitors can apply online for a TFN anytime after they enter the country. To use this application you must be

  • a working holiday-maker
  • a New Zealander automatically granted a visa upon arrival
  • an overseas student whose visa has been amended to allow you to work
  • a person with a valid visa allowing you to stay in Australia indefinitely
  • a person with a business visa

In order to apply for a TFN online you will need your passport and other relevant travel documents. Furthermore you must be;

  • authorized to work in Australia by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) or have a valid overseas student visa
  • allowed to remain here indefinitely
  • in Australia when you lodge your application

Australian residents for tax purposes can also apply for a TFN online now. However, you can only submit your application online. You must still take the required documents to a participating Australia Post retail outlet in order to confirm your identity. To apply online, find a list of participating outlets, and find a list of acceptable proof of identity documents, refer to this page on the ATO website.

Individuals living outside Australia may also need a TFN, but only in select circumstances. You should apply for a TFN if you

  • receive rental income from an Australian property
  • receive income from Australian business interests
  • have a spouse who is an Australian resident and applying for the Australian family tax benefit
  • are a member of an Australian super fund
  • need to lodge an Australian income tax return
  • want to apply for an Australian business number (ABN)

Unfortunately this is the only group of taxpayers who cannot apply for a TFN online. If you fall into this group you must download the form Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals living outside Australia.

How long will it take?

According to the ATO, you should receive your TFN within 28 days of completing of your application and providing the required documents. However anyone acquainted with the ATO will know that promptness is not always their strong suit.

The ATO requests that you don’t contact them or lodge another application during the processing period. However if you absolutely need to contact them, you can find the ATO contact info here.

Just applying for a tax file number can be complicated enough, preparing an actual return can be even worse. When you file Australian tax online with E-Lodge, the wisdom of a tax professional is only a call, live chat, or email away.

It’s Easier With E-Lodge™

Photo via Mikael Miettinen on Flickr

 

 

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93 Responses to ““How Can I Find My Tax File Number?” and Other TFN Questions”

  1. dylan john chaffey says:

    i cant find my tax file number

  2. Livhuwani sishoka says:

    Can’t find my tax file numbre

  3. Veronica Saunders says:

    Hello – my name is Veronica, my friend has a hot mail account that has been hacked and somehow blocked, he recently sent his bank his Tax File Number and is concerned of identity fraud. Can A TFN be changed. Thank You taking the time to read my message………. Kindest regards Veronica Saunders

  4. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Veronica,

    Generally only one TFN is provided for a person’s entire lifetime. Refer to this page from the ATO for what to do if you TFN is last or stolen: http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/content.aspx?menuid=0&doc=/content/41612.htm&page=14&H14

  5. nokuphila olivia ngcongo says:

    Can u please get my tax number , my I’d is 9006070968084

  6. andres says:

    i need to know if my tax file number has been issued or not. thanks

  7. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Andres,

    You need to contact the ATO about this.

  8. emilia says:

    I received my tfn in the mail and have misplaced it straight after. I now dont know where to find the number as I did not write it down or use it. Help?!

  9. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Emilia,

    You should look all over your house and then contact the ATO.

  10. manoj says:

    hi i am already apply TFN but not received yet. with help of my reference no. can i know abut my TFN and its current situation like is it processed or not.

  11. Y.Santosh Kumar says:

    Hi Iam Santosh last month 10th ive applied for T.F.N through the Post but I did nt post any documents related to my application, still I didn’t get any response from the Dept can I apply for another TFN online please explain, Thank you for your time

  12. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Y.Santosh Kumar,

    The best thing to do is to contact the ATO.

  13. donal says:

    How do I make contact with them from ireland

  14. Sharon says:

    Hi,

    I got a Potential spouse visa and approximately 3 weeks ago, I applied for my TFN online and got my reference number. Last week, I called ATO and told them when I could get my TFN and they said I got to wait within 28 days upon completion. Now I am confused and worried that I may have to go to an Australian post outlet to show an ID. Please advised on what to do next. Thank you.

  15. Carey brown says:

    I applied for a tfn more than 28 days ago an stl havnt received it
    Jus wanting to know if its been processed yet

  16. Mandip kaur says:

    Hi, I applied TFN 8 march 2013 but over the two months period I haven’t got any response.i applied through online n also got a reference no but not got any result..

  17. David says:

    Hi. My daughter is a full time student starting a casual job at McDonald’s. dies she need. TFN? She is 14.
    Thanks

  18. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi David,

    She doesn’t need a TFN, but it’s highly recommended that she get one. She’s probably going to need one eventually anyway. The big things about not having one are that taxes will be withheld from her pay at the maximum rate and it may make lodging taxes more difficult.

  19. nicholas says:

    Hi,
    Can I give my TFN to the house agent, which I get my rental income from?

  20. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Nicholas,

    I really have no idea. If they are withholding taxes for you than yes they will need it to know how much to withhold.

  21. Ajith says:

    Hi Mandip,

    Just would like to know whether you got any response, as I am also in a similar situation.

    Hi
    Also, query to the tax advisor : My wife would be joining me soon, she might not work now and may take up a job later.
    Should I file her TFN right away as soon as she arrives.

  22. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Ajith,

    She doesn’t need a tax file number, strictly speaking, even if she starts to work. However, it does make lodging taxes and most other financial transaction much easier. If you know she intends to work, I would go ahead and apply for a number as soon as she gets here.

  23. ayat says:

    I have applied for TFN and got a reference number, can I Join work right now or after getting TFN number ?

  24. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Ayat,

    You should be able to start working without a TFN. The only problem is that your employer will be required to withhold taxes at the maximum rate until you give them your TFN.

  25. Taliangi Mafileo Faingaanuku says:

    Please just wondering if you be able to email me my tax file number. thanks

  26. Rohit says:

    Recently I have changed my tax file number and I have give
    The new tax file number to my employee as well . So wat
    Ever tax I have on my old tax file number so it gonna transfer
    To the new tax file number .

  27. anson says:

    Hi i could not find my TFN so what should i do?

  28. nicole says:

    i need a copy of my tax file number and a OTAC number for my daughter please n thanks

    yours sincerly
    Nicole Donna Mason
    14-07-2013

  29. Drew Su says:

    hi, I lodged an online application weeks ago, but the letter isnt here yet. Is there a way to check whether the application is processed or get the TFN online using the reference number i got when i send out the online application? Thanks

  30. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Drew,

    You should probably contact the ATO directly.

  31. mudassar says:

    hi i am mudassar, i have applied for tfn about 26 days before but still i have recieved it, is there any contact no. so that i can call them. plz reply

  32. Lavanyah says:

    Hey, it’s Lavanyah.

    I can’t find my Tax file number and i’m really worried. Good thing was I lost in my house bad thing was it was in my room. So, anyway I just want to know if I can get an email address for TFN because every page I went into, I was only able to find the contact number but I thought emailing will make my work easier. Therefore, please help me. Looking forward to hear back soon. Thank you.

  33. Gresham Sydney Ross says:

    I can’t find my TFN can you help me please

  34. ritu says:

    i lost my reference number..i applied online last month. did nt received my tfn yet…worried about it…can any one help??

  35. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Ritu,

    I suggest contacting the ATO directly.

  36. tony says:

    im currently in australia but when applying for my tax number it says i havent entered australia yet??
    what do i do?

  37. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Tony,

    I’m not sure what this is about. I think you should probably contact the ATO.

  38. noll says:

    I think I might have a TFN (but cannot be certain), I worked at McDonalds about 5 years ago, but have not worked since then. Can I just submit a new application for a TFN or will they reject it if I do indeed already have a TFN?

  39. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Noll,

    You should attempt to find your old TFN. If you can’t find it in any of the places suggested in this article you should contact the ATO.

  40. Sarah says:

    Hi i applied for a TFN but i still havent received it, i got a reference number but im not sure where i can track it, any ideas?

  41. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Sarah,
    It usually takes about 28 days to receive a TFN from the ATO. Are you sure the postal address you listed on the application is where you receive your mail? The ATO forwards TFN to the postal address listed on your application.

    If it has been more than 28 days, I suggest calling the TFN department of the ATO. The number is 1300 720 092.

  42. PRAKASH R says:

    Hi
    I applied for tfn no 15 days back still I have not received permanent no but I have temporary no. Stii how many days r required to receive that.

  43. Tax Advisor says:

    Hello,
    It can take up to 28 days to get the tfn you applied for. I suggest waiting another 13-15 days and if it has been more than 28 days, I suggest calling the TFN department of the ATO. The number is 1300 720 092.

  44. Bek says:

    Hi
    I’m unable to locate my company’s tax file number. Can you please assist? My ABN is 38 134 628 416

  45. Leodilyn Reponte Gadiane-Mullee says:

    Great day! Hi Sir/Madam: I am Leodilyn Reponte Gadiane-Muller is my married name▪ I apply for TAX FILE NUMBER its says it takes 28days but until now I still dont recieved my Tax File Number. Hoping that you can help me. Thank you very much:-)

  46. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Bek,
    Do you mean you can’t find your company’s ABN? Businesses have an ABN or Australian Business Number. Individuals have a TFN, Tax File Number. You can call the ATO at 13 28 61 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday if you need help with either. If you need your company’s ABN, I suggest first calling them and asking and then contacting the ATO if you can not get it.

  47. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Leodilyn,
    You’re welcome. It shouldn’t take longer than 28 days. I suggest calling the ATO directly at 13 28 61 and letting them know you applied for your tax file number more than 28 days ago and still are waiting for it.

    Good luck!

  48. Edmund Peng says:

    Hi.
    I have already applied for a tax file number through my school, however I haven’t recieved it yet. I applied for a tax file number at the end of March this year, and still haven’t received it.

  49. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Edmund,
    It shouldn’t take longer than 28 days. I suggest calling the ATO directly at 13 28 61 and letting them know you applied for your tax file number more than 28 days ago and still are waiting for it.

  50. kay winton says:

    I am POA for a 98yo in residential care. I can’t find her TFN, applied as told by faxing request & POA, heard nothing & now I have been told to write to NSW…live in Victoria, what is the correct thing to do?

  51. Tax Advisor says:

    It shouldn’t take any longer than 28 days. I suggest calling the ATO directly at 13 28 61 and letting them know you applied for your tax file number more than 28 days ago and still are waiting for it.

  52. kay winton says:

    I have already done that, have now been told to send relevant paper work to a NSW box number, not happy with that. Can I front up at an ATO and get it that way?

  53. Dhan singh khangaha magar says:

    Hello! I need to make mu tax file number so how can I do thos.i have no idea so give me help to create ma tfn.

  54. Preety says:

    Hi, I have applied for the tfn twice and still for the second time when I have contacted them, they don’t have the the details. I applied on the 4th November and by the end of November when i called them they asked me to reapply. After doing so again after 25days they still don’t have my my details. Because of this my employer is deducting a high amount and and I’m unnecessary wasting the part of my pay because of not having tfn on time. Waiting for another month is losing again the huge payment. Please help.

  55. Nand Kollapuri says:

    Hi, I have applied for TFN and I got the reference number. How can I check my TFN number using the given reference number. Please advise

    Nand

  56. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi there,
    We actually have an article about this posted on our blog as well. Read #5 in the article titled “Top Ten Tips on Tax File Numbers”
    As it reads, if you are an Australian resident you can apply for a Tax File Number (TFN), by attending an interview at an Austrian post and then applying on the internet. Or you can complete a TFN application paper, or order an application over the phone. You also can go to an ATO shopfront. Other information regarding TFNs are listed in this article.

  57. Tax Advisor says:

    Perhaps you forgot some information on your application? It should not take any longer than 28 days for the TFN to be processed by the ATO. If you haven’t called this number already, I suggest calling the ATO at 13 28 61 or go directly to your closest shop front.

  58. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi, you should receive your TFN within 28 days. If it has been longer than that I suggest calling the ATO TFN number at 13 28 61 and you will most likely need to provide them with your reference number.

    Best of luck!

  59. harshil shah says:

    hi….
    i don’t get my TFN so please give me status about my file. and my ref no is 166889. thank u.

  60. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi there,
    Please note this is not the ATO. We are E-Lodge, a private tax lodgement service. I am guessing you meant to send this message to the ATO regarding your TFN? If so, I would suggest contacting the ATO through their TFN phone number at 13 28 61. It generally takes 28 days for the ATO to process TFNs, if it has been longer than 28 days, call the number and they will help you.

    Best of luck!

  61. Bipan says:

    I applied for tax file number on 29 of November but not yet received. I have tax file reference number when I can get my tax file number hopefully?

  62. Jaspal singh says:

    hi
    am jaspal singh , i did apply my TFN from 15 dec ….but i have not got any response …please give me my TFN to me i need its ….please….thnx

  63. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi, you should receive your TFN within 28 days. If it has been longer than that I suggest calling the ATO TFN number at 13 28 61 and you will most likely need to provide them with your reference number.

    Best of luck!

  64. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Jaspal,
    Please note we are not the ATO. The ATO issues TFNs. You should receive your TFN within 28 days. If it has been longer than that I suggest calling the ATO TFN number at 13 28 61.
    Best of luck!

  65. atif says:

    dear sir i lost my abn letter how can i access it online or i get new

  66. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Atif,
    If you can’t find it anywhere, try looking in these documents:

      an income tax notice of assessment
      any correspondence from the ATO
      a payment summary
      a superannuation member statement

    If none of these sources yield an answer, you can phone the ATO on 13 28 61.

  67. Harpreet Kaur Sidhu says:

    I applied my TFN on 18 Feb. I need it very urgently. When i will receive my TFN .

  68. jagdeepkaur says:

    respected sir i have applied for my TFN no before couple of weeks but still i didn”t recieved any reply .please reply me i am waiting

  69. binoyee says:

    Hi sir,
    applied for tax file number on 27 of feb 2014 but not yet received. I have tax file reference number when I can get my tax file number hopefully?

  70. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Harpreet,
    Unfortunately, we are not the ATO and do not provide TFNs. We focus on lodging Australian tax returns.
    To help point you in the right direction, I suggest using the ATO’s “Lost or Stolen TFN” website or calling the ATO directly at 132861.

    Best of luck!

  71. Tax Advisor says:

    Unfortunately, we are not the ATO and do not provide TFNs. We focus on lodging Australian tax returns.
    To help point you in the right direction, I suggest using the ATO’s “Lost or Stolen TFN” website or calling the ATO directly at 132861.

    Best of luck!

  72. Tax Advisor says:

    Unfortunately, we are not the ATO and do not provide TFNs. We focus on lodging Australian tax returns.
    To help point you in the right direction, I suggest calling the ATO directly at 132861.

    Best of luck!

  73. Altaf hussain says:

    How can I checked my tfn hours online

  74. Gurjeet says:

    I have applied for tfn about one month ago but till I not get my tfn

  75. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Gurjeet,
    Please note we are not the ATO. The ATO issues TFNs. You should receive your TFN within 28 days. If it has been longer than that I suggest calling the ATO TFN number at 13 28 61.
    Best of luck!

  76. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Altaf,
    The ATO issues TFNs. You should receive your TFN within 28 days. If it has been longer than that I suggest calling the ATO TFN number at 13 28 61.
    Best of luck!

  77. Suraj Oli says:

    I had applied for my TFN and it has already been a month still didn’t get it.And the worst part is that I lost the reference number.What am I supposed to do now?????

  78. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Suraj,
    You should have received your TFN within 28 days. If it has been longer than that I suggest calling the ATO TFN number at 13 28 61.

  79. sweety says:

    Hello ,

    I need an advice I worked in an firm for a week as a casual worker with pay rate of 17$ for a week. And after their mental harassment I left the firm. Now the lady asks me my tfn number to make payments. I dont want to work with her, and I have resigned from that job.Cant she pay me cash after deducting tax. As I dont wish to give her my tfn number.I dont feel it safe enough.What should I do?

  80. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Sweety,

    Unfortunately, you would need to speak with your payroll department about paying you in cash. This isn’t typical for a business to do however they may make an exception for your situation.

  81. sweety says:

    Thanks a lot for my answer.But please advice for my friend also.

    Me and my friend worked in the same firm. We both worked there for 1 week and after the mental harassment he has also decided to leave the job. He does not have a tfn number.And he don’t wants to continue any more job. Lady is asking for tfn for our payments So should he apply for tfn? Or working as a casual worker for a week with pay rate of 17$/hr, for 27 hours, Is it legal to ask for cash from the lady? Is it necessary to apply for tfn for him if he is no more doing a job? I am eagerly waiting for your reply.

    Thanks

  82. Manisa Maharjan says:

    I have applied for TFN a month ago but due to lack of proof of a single identity I wasn’t granted to face the interview and now I have been applying for proof of age but when I referred to the TFN application Print I found out that the interview must be faced with in 30 days of submission so what do I do now??

  83. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Manisa,

    I suggest contacting the ATO directly or looking at their website page for obtaining a TFN.

  84. Anton wereta says:

    Hey there I’m just after my tax number as I’m coming back to Australia to work just hoping use can help me out or email it to me got a job line up just need that number thank hope to hear from use

  85. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Anton,

    If you have lodged your taxes with us in the past, then you can contact us directly so that we can verify your information. You can also contact the ATO directly.

  86. buryll p marita says:

    ive got a job at the moment and I still waiting for my text file no#. but ive got my ato tfn application or the enquiry unique reference no# which I got from the post office,,,can I give that to my employee? please help me

  87. Tax Advisor says:

    Hi Buryll,

    I suggest contacting your employer to see if they will accept this until you receive your TFN. If they do not, then I would suggest contacting the ATO to see about expediting your request.

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