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28 Sep 12 Is the ABN/ABR system broken?

MEMBER 196 writes:

"I have just wasted a huge amount of time trying to remove the trading name from a client's ABN account. The trading name was put on the account when the ABN was registered, back when there was no checking with the business names registries. So no, when the ONLY source of business name information is ASIC, there is no redress if the original information in the Australian Business Register is incorrect. In the end I had to call the ATO and get it done over the telephone, and it was confirmed for me that there was no way I was going to achieve it using computers. Aah, the glorious feeling of being vindicated in my frustration.

And, MEMBER 197 cries out for assistance:

"Dear Members,

I have been having some difficulty getting an ABN for a partnership of late.

I have applied several times on the ABR to no avail. I also need to register this client for GST but the ABR says this functionality is currently disabled.

I know I can add a GST account via the portal, however, without an ABN or TFN I have no point of reference.

The ABR just doesn't seem to work at all.

Is there some secret to this? Or are we just not allowed to register businesses in Australia anymore?


THE TAX INSTITUTE'S TAX COUNSEL, STEPHANIE CAREDES, COMMENTS: "The ABR website is undergoing an upgrade. The first part of the upgrade occurred in May 2012 after which only limited functionality was included on site (ie the ability to apply for an ABN and TFN). The second part of the upgrade is due to occur in November 2012 and it is understood this will return the functionality of being able to apply for PAYG and GST registration. In the meantime, these roles must be applied for through the Portal. Previous editions of TAXVINE have referred to this upgrade (2012 TAXVINE No. 23, 2012 TAXVINE No. 31). Note that certain functions, such as the ability to save a draft application and the pre-filling of tax agent information into an application (where a tax agent has logged into the ABR site), will not be available after the November upgrade. We have been informed that these functions will be added to the website in a later upgrade to the site. However, no date for this upgrade has been set. We also urge Members to consult the ABR website to find out other ways to apply for GST and PAYG registration until the upgrade occurs in November."

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