Using your TFN and keeping it safe

Tax file numbers

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique nine-digit number we issue to individuals and organisations to help us administer tax and other Australian Government systems.

Using your TFN and keeping it safe

Your TFN is an important part of establishing your identity when you start a new job, open bank accounts and apply for government benefits. Keep it secure. Only some people and organisations can ask for your TFN, the most common being:

  • the ATO, when discussing your tax records

  • some other Australian Government agencies (for example, Department of Human Services (Centrelink), the Child Support Agency and the Australian Federal Police)

  • your employer, after you start work

  • your super fund

  • higher education providers

  • registered tax agents, solicitors and accountants

  • your bank or other financial institutions.

Keep your TFN and other personal details (such as bank account passwords) secure by:

  • not carrying them in your purse or wallet and not storing them in your mobile phone

  • not sharing them with friends (including on social networking websites)

  • disposing of documents containing identity details by shredding or otherwise destroying them

  • installing up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer

  • providing your identity details only to trusted or reliable organisations

making sure that any tax agent you use is registered – check the Tax Practitioners Board website at www.tpb.gov.au

Lost or stolen TFN

If your TFN has been lost, stolen or accessed by an unauthorised third party, let us know as soon as possible.

  • If you have lost your TFN and do not suspect misuse, phone on 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

  • If your TFN has been stolen or misused, phone on 1800 467 033 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Update your details and nominate a representative

You can update your contact details and nominated representative using our online services, by phone, mail or in person.

Get it done

If you only need to update your contact details or nominated representative, the quickest way is through online services

Don't have a myGov Watch this video link

Update your contact details by phone:

  • Call 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

  • If you are calling from overseas, call +61 2 6216 1111 and ask to be transferred to 'Personal tax enquiries'.

When you update your details by phone, you must establish your identity by providing details of three of the following items that are currently on our records:

  • your date of birth

  • your phone number, business, residential, postal or email address (maximum of one)

  • your bank account number (BSB number not required)

  • details from our notices (maximum of two different notices) - for example, the sequence number from any notice of assessment (NOA) issued to you.

To help with your enquiry, you may also provide your TFN. Although it is not legally required, it will make it quicker and easier for us to help you. If you would like someone else, such as a friend, family member or registered tax agent to update your details, they must be already recorded with us as being authorised to act on your behalf.

Update your contact details by mail

You may update your details by downloading and completing the form Change of details for individuals (NAT 2817, 249KB). You can then mail it to the address on the form.

It can take up to 28 days to update your records after we receive the form.

Update your contact details in person

You may visit one of ATO shopfronts and ATO staff will help you to update your details.

We must establish your identity in the same way as for phone contact. You may bring an identity document that has your photograph on it, such as a passport or driver's licence, to help identify yourself.

To make an appointment at your nearest shopfront – phone 13 28 61

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