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THE ATO RESPONDS to the feedback from Member 105 in last week's edition of TAXVINE - see 2014 TAXVINE No 27 (1 August 2014):

"Thank you for your feedback on proof-of identity (POI) requirements for companies with foreign associates, in relation to applications for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Before an ABN can be issued, the law requires the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) to be satisfied about the identity of the entity, including those persons behind the entity.  To meet these identity requirements, the Registrar requires certified copies of identity documents (please see further POI - individuals and businesses resident outside Australia). 

The Registrar has recognised industry concerns about the operation of POI for non-resident associates, including where foreign companies are only seeking to register for the Goods and Services Tax, and not an ABN.   The Registrar is considering possible changes to POI requirements for non-residents, to better balance the burden imposed on business while supporting the integrity of the ABR data."