Change to ABN application process & fees

Due to a recent change to the Australian Business Register (ABR) system for applying for Australian Business Numbers (ABNs), we will be changing our ABN application process and increasing the price of our services from 1 February 2015.


Since 2 January 2015, the ABR has changed the system that is used when applying for ABNs. The changes have resulted in almost all applications that we have submitted for ABNs now being rejected, with most of these rejections having no clear reason.

rejection-stampThis means that almost every application has required a follow up call to the ABR to understand why an application has been rejected. Often, the ABR representative that we have spoken to has not been willing to disclose details of the application as we are simply an agent, not the actual applicant. We then have had to call the applicant and ask them to call the ABR directly to find out the reason for the rejection. Assuming the rejection is a reason we can resolve, we then need to reapply for the ABN. If we can’t resolve it, an objection then needs to be lodged with the ABR, which can take them up to 56 days to process and respond to the objection.

Clearly, this process creates a significant amount of work for us, as well as a headache for our clients.

New process

In light of the inconvenience to our clients, we are changing our process for handling ABN applications going forward.

From 1 February, when you apply with Castle on our new ABN Application order form, the following will take place:

  1. We will complete the ABN application form on your behalf, inserting:ABN-for-blog
    • Castle’s business address as the company or trust’s correspondence address, and
    • a Castle staff member as the authorised person for the company or trust to handle all queries.

   Due to the high rate of rejections, taking this step will allow us to handle the rejection response (if one arises) on your behalf.

  1. If your application is approved without incident, we will send you your new ABN. We will contact the ABR to change the correspondence address and authorised person back to the correct details shown on your order form.
  1. If the application is rejected, we will contact the ABR to understand the reason for the rejection and how we can resolve it. We may need to contact you to confirm the rejected details. Note that the ABR can take up to 14 days to provide the reason for rejection.
  2. Once we have clarified the details, we will reapply for the ABN with the correct details.
  3. If the application is rejected again, we will contact you to discuss next steps.

New fees

Unfortunately, the ABR’s system changes mean that the ABN application process is now longer and more complicated. We therefore need to change our fees for this service.

From 1 February 2015, the fee for applying for an ABN will increase to $220 (including GST). This includes us providing the services mentioned in steps 1 and 2 above.

If your application is rejected, we will contact you to find out if you would like us to handle the refusal (steps 3 and 4 above). The fee for this service is $220 (including GST). Please note that if the reason your application is refused is an error on our part, we will of course reapply at no charge.

Service Fee (from 1 February 2015)
ABN application $220 (incl GST)
Handling an ABN application rejection $220 (incl GST)


If you would like us to lodge an objection with the ATO following step 5 above, an additional fee (to be discussed at the time) will be incurred.

Please note that due to the time it takes to complete the application/handle the rejection, these fees are non-refundable, even if your application is rejected.

Tips for reducing the likelihood of rejection

As the system is still new, we have not yet identified all of the reasons for the new rejections. However, we are finding that some issues are quite common, so we recommend that you do the following:

  • Always provide a TFN. It seems that most of the time, the lack of a TFN will result in your application being rejected.
  • Ensure party details match the ATO records. We have found that if a party’s address or other details are not entered exactly as they appear in the ATO’s records, they are more likely to reject the application.

As you would appreciate, Castle cannot be held accountable for any inaccuracies in the ATO records and is not in a position to compare the ATO records with the details for each party to an ABN application.

We are looking forward to working with you to help you attain ABNs and all of your other formation needs. If you have any questions, please call us on 03 9898 6666.