As if you weren’t doing enough to prepare for migrating, right?
Because apart from deciding whether to use migration agents, saving up enough cushion money, and opening an Australian bank account beforehand, there’s another oft-neglected concern among most migrants: obtaining a TFN.
A tax file number or TFN is a taxpaying entity’s unique identifier. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the authority that issues these, and each one consists of a nine digit number presented in an nnn nnn nnn format.
Now, most companies in Australia require their employees to have one as these are necessary for remitting withholding taxes. The following, in particular, are eligible to apply for one:
- Permanent Migrants.
- Temporary Visitors.
- Holders of any of the following visas:
- Permanent migrant visa;
- Work visa (e.g., working holiday makers – subclass 417, entertainment – subclass 420, sport – subclass 421, work and holiday makers – subclass 462);
- Overseas student visa;
- Any visa allowing you to stay in Australia indefinitely.
How Do I Get One?
According to the official ATO website, the fastest and easiest way to get a TFN is via an online application. For one, you won’t have to mail any of your documents over, nor do you need to leave the comfort of your own home.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go about it:
- Prepare the following information:
- Passport number;
- Country of origin;
- Full name;
- Any other names you are known by;
- Date of birth;
- Spouse details;
- Any existing TFN, Australian Business Number (ABN), or Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN);
- Australian residential or postal address;
- Contact details (i.e., phone number and email address).
More importantly, all the aforementioned details should match the ones on your passport and/or visa.
Sometimes, the site is down for maintenance. If that happens, you can try again later.
Otherwise, read the first two pages carefully, and then select “Next” at the bottom of each screen. This will take you to the Travel Documentation Details page.
This is where Step 1 comes in. While you’re at it, observe the correct format for entering your address. For instance, place the unit number before the slash and the building number after the slash if you are inputting a unit address.
Once you’ve provided all the necessary details, go over your application form again. Make sure everything is accurate as the ATO will use your address and contact information to send you notices and correspondence regarding your tax affairs.
If all the information provided is true and correct, hit the “submit” button. This will lead you to the Transaction Complete screen.
After you submit your application, the site will provide you with a reference number. It should appear on the Transaction Complete screen. Don’t forget to write it down so you can keep track of your application.
Finally, if your application is successful, the ATO will send your TFN to the address you provided within 28 days. Once you receive it, do keep it secure along with your other personal information to prevent identity theft.