Under the ATO guidelines an SMSF has to apply for an ABN within 60 days of establishing the SMSF. This is the mechanism of registering the SMSF with the ATO. Currently once the SMSF obtains an ABN it is registered until an action is taken to cancel the ABN.
The government is currently proposing a new system for ABN whereby the ABN will need to be renewed periodically and a fee will more likely apply for the renewal. The government proposition regarding the ABN is about improving the information held about businesses and therefore their taxes. However although it is not intended this will cause another compliance task for the trustee of the SMSF as they will have to ensure that this new requirement is met. It is important to note that at the moment this is still in a discussion stage.
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