Can an apprentice have an Australian Business Number (ABN)?
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The answer to this question is No.  In case you’re not yet familiar with it, an ABN number is the unique number (provided by the Commonwealth   Government)  that allows a business to identify itself to government and other businesses.

But this is a question apprentices regularly ask us at ABBTF. The Australian Taxation Office rule states that if you are an apprentice, trades assistant or a labourer you must work under the direction, control and supervision of your employer to learn your trade. As a result, you are considered an employee for Commonwealth tax and superannuation purposes and are therefore not eligible for an ABN, on the basis that you are not yet running your own business.


When it comes to acquiring one, Australian Business numbers are not automatically issued by the Australian Government. To get an ABN you must be Eligible under the terms of the law. For this reason many Australians use specialist tax agents to assist in understanding the eligibility criteria.  For some basic information on the role of ABN’s and how to register, Click Here.

To be eligible to receive an ABN you must be “carrying on an enterprise in Australia”. This means you must have started trading or, at a minimum, conducted sufficient activities to show you intend to start a business.

If you do already have a business, ABBTF is here to explain the business opportunity and selection process around employing your own bricklaying apprentice but it is advisable to consult your accountant when engaging an apprentice as everyone’s financial situation is unique.

Australian Apprenticeship Centres (AAC) also have great advice on the correct process in engaging an apprentice.  To locate an AAC near you, visit their Website Search or call the 13 38 73 to be put in touch with your local AAC.

Tony Bishop
ABBTF Queensland Manager

One Response to “Can an apprentice have an Australian Business Number (ABN)?”

  1. Allan

    I had an abn and was an apprentice why can’t apprentice’s have two jobs are they special


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