How to Reactivate an ABN

To reactivate an Australian Business Number, or ABN, you must apply for a new number from the Australian Business Registrar. On the application, provide your previous ABN. If your business structure hasn't changed and you're otherwise eligible for an ABN, your previous ABN will be reactivated.


The fastest way to file your ABN application is to submit it online on the Australian government's website. Click Apply for an ABN link on homepage, then click Apply for an ABN link again on the next page to start application process. You will be asked a series of questions, one of which is whether you currently have or once had an ABN. Answer "Yes," then enter the previous ABN in the box provided. If you fail to provide this number, your application may be delayed. If you don't know your previous ABN, you can look it up online. Additional information you must provide includes the name of your business, business address, business purpose, and name and contact information of person authorized to speak with the registrar's office about the application.


You can also submit your ABN application by mail. The form required depends on the type of business you have. For instance, if your business is a sole proprietorship, complete Form NAT 2938. If it is a corporation, use Form NAT 2939 instead. After determining the form you need, download it from the Australian Government's website. You can also order the form by calling the Australian Taxation Office's publication request line at 1300 720 092. If calling from outside of Australia, use Australia's country code of 61. Mail your completed application to the address provided on the form.

Application Status

If you submitted your application online, the status of your application will appear on the screen immediately afterward. If approved and your business structure has not changed, your former ABN will be reactivated and appear here. If the structure changed, such as from a sole proprietorship to a corporation, you will be issued a new ABN. A confirmation letter with your reactivated or new ABN will be mailed within 14 days. If a reference number is listed instead of an ABN, the registrar was unable to verify your identity or needs more information. In this case, the registrar can take up to an additional 20 days to finalize your application, and may contact you within this time for more information.


If the registrar determines you are not eligible for an ABN, you will receive a refusal number. The registrar will mail a confirmation letter listing the refusal number and denial reason within 14 days. To discuss the denial, contact the registrar at 13 92 26 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. You have 60 days from the date you received the refusal notice to object to the decision.


About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.