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What is a Tax File Number and How Do I Apply?

Your tax file number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems in Australia.

While you don’t need to have a TFN, not having one means you will pay more tax on any money you earn. Therefore, it’s best to set one up as early as possible.

Why do I need a TFN?

Having a TFN ensures that:

  • You pay the correct amount of tax on your income.
  • You can apply for government benefits.
  • You can access your superannuation when you leave Australia.

Am I considered an Australian resident for tax purposes?

If you’re enrolled to study in Australia in a course that lasts for six months or more, you’re generally regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. This status allows you to benefit from tax-free thresholds and lower tax rates.

How to apply for a Tax File Number

You can apply for a tax file number online from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) if you meet these conditions:

  1. You are a foreign passport holder, permanent migrant, or temporary visitor.
  2. You are already in Australia.
  3. Your visa is one of the following:
  • A permanent migrant visa
  • A visa with work rights
  • An overseas student visa
  • A visa allowing you to stay in Australia indefinitely (including New Zealanders automatically granted a visa on arrival).

To apply online, you need a valid passport or relevant travel documents. You don’t have to provide proof of identity documents – the ATO will compare your personal and travel document details with Department of Home Affairs (previously Department of Immigration and Border Protection) records.

Steps to apply for a TFN online

  1. Visit the ATO website: Navigate to the TFN application page on the ATO website.
  2. Fill out the application form: Provide your personal details, including your name, address, and visa information.
  3. Submit your application: Once submitted, the ATO will process your application and verify your details with the Department of Home Affairs.
  4. Receive your TFN: Within 28 days, the ATO will send your TFN to the Australian address you provide on your application.

Important tips

  • Keep your TFN safe: Your TFN is confidential. Don’t share it with anyone unless necessary.
  • Update your address: If you move, make sure to update your address with the ATO to ensure you receive important correspondence.

For more details or to apply for your tax file number, click here.