Small Business
How to Cancel Your ABN
A step-by-step guide to cancelling your ABN

Can I cancel my ABN?

Yes, it is possible to cancel your ABN. Just like applying for an ABN, cancelling your ABN is relatively easy, but there are a few key things you need to take note of before you begin the process. Not only do you need to check if you are required to cancel your ABN, but you also need to be aware of any other obligations that need to be met before you can do so.

Many people who operate a home-based small business may have a dedicated space in which they conduct business activities in an effort to reduce business costs and enhance their work-life balance. Many different types of small businesses could be run out of a home office, from e-commerce operations to some trades, making it a flexible choice that has the potential to suit a variety of people.

Do I need to cancel my ABN?

Do I need to cancel my ABN? Before cancelling your ABN, it’s a good idea to confirm whether cancellation is the best course of action for you. Some situations in which you should consider cancelling your ABN include:

  • When your business has been sold
  • When your business has closed or is no longer operating
  • When your business is no longer operating in Australia

While there are many different scenarios where it is the right choice, there are some situations where you may not need to pursue a cancellation. If you’re planning to change your business name, for example, cancelling your current ABN is not required. If you’re not sure whether you should cancel your ABN or not, it’s best to get in touch with the Australian Business Register (ABR) for advice.

Is there anything I need to do before cancelling my ABN?

Prior to cancelling your ABN, there are a few things you will need to do. The most important is ensuring that all obligations you have to government agencies have been met, including any reporting, lodgements or payments. Some obligations you may need to address include:

  • Paying any outstanding tax debts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO)
  • Lodging any outstanding activity statements
  • Repaying any required goods and services (GST) credit refunds
  • Lodging any required pay as you go (PAYG) withholding reports

The government recommends that you ensure all obligations have been met before you start the cancellation process.
If you’re also planning on cancelling your PAYG withholding, this must be done before your ABN is cancelled.

Cancelling your ABN

Although it may seem like it could be a daunting process, cancelling an ABN is generally quite simple, with several different methods available. 

One of the easiest ways to cancel your ABN is online through your myGovID account. To use this method, your ABN must be already linked to your account. Once all your obligations have been met, log into your myGovID account and follow the prompts. All changes will take effect instantly.

If you find that you are unable to cancel your ABN online, some other options are available. You may choose to contact the ABR over the phone during business hours, request and lodge a paper form, or ask your registered tax agent to cancel your ABN for you. If you have any questions about the process or have any issues before, during or after cancellation, it’s best to reach out to the ABR for assistance.

It’s important to be aware that when your ABN is cancelled, your registrations for GST, wine equalisation tax, luxury car tax and fuel tax credits will also be cancelled. The connection between your myGovID and your ABN will also be removed.

Can I reactivate my ABN?

If your circumstances change and you wish to restart your business, it is possible to reactivate your cancelled ABN. To reactivate your ABN, you will need to complete an application process similar to applying for a new ABN. For more information, get in touch with the ABR.

In search of more great guides and resources to help you navigate running a small business? Check out our small business blog.

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Aon has taken care in the production of this document and the information contained in it has been obtained from sources that Aon believes to be reliable. Aon does not make any representation as to the accuracy of the information received from third parties and is unable to accept liability for any loss incurred by anyone who relies on it. The recipient of this document is responsible for their use of it.