TFN in Australia (Tax File Number)

Tax File Number in Australia (TFN)

Before starting any declared jobs, fruit picking or internship in Australia, you will need to get:

  • a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO),
  • a superannuation account,
  • and an Australian bank account.

Australiance is aiming at addressing all your concerns regarding the TFN:

What is the Tax File Number (TFN) ?

You need a TFN before starting any declared job in Australia, since it is your personal reference number in the tax and super systems. It is issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Your TFN is an important part of your tax and super records as well as your identity, so keep it secure.

When the ATO issues you with a TFN, it’s yours for life. You keep the same TFN even if you change job, name or leave the Australian territory and come back months or years later. You don’t need to re-apply for one if your situation changes.

Your TFN number needs to be kept confidential and only communicated to trustworthy organisations.

Is it mandatory to have a TFN?

You don’t have to have a TFN, but without one you pay more tax since you will be exposed to the highest tax rate. Indeed, 47% of your salary will be charged, which is significant. You also won’t be able to apply for government benefits, lodge your tax return electronically or get an Australian business number (ABN).

Can I start working without my TFN?

You can absolutely start working without a TFN. Simply tell your employer that the application is in progress because you have within 28 days to provide your TFN to your employer.


How can I apply for a TFN?

The application has to be made online on the ATO website: apply online for a TFN. However, if you encounter any difficulties, we can help you in the process, with our partner TaxBack.

You can apply for a tax file number online if you meet these three 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 (WHV, Sponsor …)
    • an overseas student visa
    • a visa allowing you to stay in Australian indefinitely (including New Zealanders automatically granted a visa on arrival).

Here is a very simple step-by-step guide on how to use the online TFN registration.

Do I really need to be in Australia to apply for a TFN?

To apply, you must be present in Australia. Indeed, when completing the questionnaire to get your TFN, you will be asked to give your address where you will receive your TFN, as well as other information like your name, passport number. Moreover, your Working Holiday Visa has to be validated, hence the need to be there.

How much does it cost ?

The online application process is free.


How long should it take me to get a TFN?

The online application process takes 5 minutes; so do not forget to do it before you start working!  Then, you will generally receive notification within 10 working days; however, it may take up to 28 days to process your application. If you are a permanent migrant or temporary visitor to Australia and apply for a TFN online, your TFN will be sent to the Australian address you provided on your application.

You can go through an agency that can arrange a visa for you, as our partner Taxback.


What should I do with my TFN in a case of a change in personal circumstances?

If you know your TFN but wish to advise the ATO of changes to your details, you can update some details online if you have a myGov account linked to the ATO, or refer to updating my details on the ATO website. Once you have a TFN, you don’t need to re-apply for one if your circumstances change, for example, if you change your name, have investments or claim government benefits.

Lodge a TFN application (for permanent migrant and temporary visitor only)


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