As an Aussie who's been through the tax system maze, I know firsthand how crucial your Tax File Number (TFN) is. It's like the secret code to your financial identity in Australia. Whether you're starting a new job, opening a bank account, or simply trying to lodge your tax return, your TFN is the key that unlocks it all.

But what happens when you can't find this all-important number? Don't worry, mate - I've got you covered. Learn how to find your Tax File Number in 5 minutes.

Accountant How to Find Your Tax File Number

Understanding Your Tax File Number

Before we discuss how to find your TFN, let's first understand what it is. Your tax file number is a unique 9-digit number issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Which is your personal reference number in the Australian tax and superannuation systems.

Why Your TFN Matters?

Identification for Tax Purposes:

Your TFN is your unique identifier in the Australian tax system. It helps the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) accurately track your tax affairs, including income, deductions, and tax payments. It ensures that your tax records are correctly maintained and that you're paying the right amount of tax.

Employment Requirements:

Providing your TFN to your employer is essential when starting a new job. If you don't provide your TFN:

Government Benefits:

Your TFN is required to apply for and receive various government benefits and services. These include:

  • Centrelink payments (e.g., JobSeeker, Age Pension, Family Tax Benefit)
  • Child Support payments
  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) for university students

With a TFN, you may be eligible for these benefits or avoid delays in receiving them.

Financial Services:

Your TFN is necessary for various financial transactions:

  • Opening bank accounts: While not mandatory, providing your TFN to your bank means they won't withhold tax from the interest you earn.
  • Investing: For investments like shares or managed funds, providing your TFN ensures you're not taxed at the highest marginal rate on your earnings.
  • Superannuation: Your super fund needs your TFN to accept certain types of contributions and to ensure you're not overtaxed on your super.

Avoiding Unnecessary Tax:

As mentioned by the ATO, having a TFN helps you avoid paying unnecessary taxes. It is because:

  • Without a TFN, you'll be taxed at the highest marginal rate on your income.
  • If you can't lodge a tax return because you lack a TFN, you may miss out on tax offsets or deductions you're entitled to.

Accessing Government Services:

Your TFN facilitates easier access to various government services:

  • It allows for smoother processing of tax returns and other tax-related matters.
  • It enables you to create and access your myGov account, which is a portal for various government services.

Business Purposes:

If you're planning to start a business, your TFN must apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). Without an ABN, you can't register for GST or claim GST credits, which can significantly impact your business operations.

Protecting Your Identity:

Your TFN is a key piece of personal information. The ATO and other authorised entities have strict rules about how TFNs can be collected, used, and stored. It helps protect your identity and personal information from misuse.

How to Find Your Tax File Number

Check Your myGov Account

The myGov platform has become the central hub for accessing government services in Australia, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Detailed steps:

Detailed steps:

  • Go to and sign in to your account.
  • If you haven't linked your ATO account, you'll need to do so:
    • Select 'Services' or 'Link a service'
    • Choose 'Australian Taxation Office'
    • Follow the prompts to verify your identity
  • Once linked, select 'Australian Taxation Office' from your linked services.
  • Navigate to 'My profile' or 'Personal details'
  • Your TFN should be displayed in this section.

If you don't have a myGov account:

  • Visit and select 'Create a myGov account'
  • You'll need an email address to set up your account
  • Once created, follow the steps above to link the ATO and find your TFN

According to the ATO, over 80% of Australians now use myGov to access government services online. This makes it the most efficient method for most people to find their TFN.

Look Through Your Documents

If you prefer physical documents or don't have access to myGov, your TFN might be on various official documents. Documents to check:

Documents to check:

  • Previous tax returns: Your TFN is typically printed on the top right corner of your notice of assessment.
  • Superannuation statements: Annual statements from your super fund often include your TFN.
  • Letters from the ATO: Any official correspondence from the tax office is likely to include your TFN.
  • Payslips: Some employers include TFNs on payslips, though this practice is becoming less common due to privacy concerns.
  • Bank statements: If you've provided your TFN to your bank, it might appear on your statements.

When searching through documents, be mindful of privacy. Store any documents containing your TFN securely, as they contain key personal information.

Contact the ATO

If you can't find your TFN through myGov or your documents, contacting the ATO directly is your next best option.

Detailed process:

  • Call the ATO on 13 28 61Operating hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM (local time)
  • Be prepared to verify your identity with details like your name, date of birth, and address

Visit an ATO shopfront

  • Find your nearest office at
  • Bring multiple forms of ID (e.g., passport, driver's license, Medicare card)

Important notes:

  • For security reasons, the ATO won't provide your TFN over the phone or in person.
  • They will mail your TFN to your registered address, which typically takes 14 days.
  • If you've moved recently, ensure your address is up to date with the ATO before requesting your TFN.

Additional Methods

  • Check with your tax agent or accountant.
  • If you've used a registered tax agent in the past, they should have your TFN on file.
  • Contact them and request your TFN, but be prepared to verify your identity.
  • Look through your email
  • If you've received electronic copies of tax documents, search your email for "TFN" or "Tax File Number".
  • Be cautious about storing your TFN in email due to security risks.
  • Contact your employer
  • Your current or previous employers may have your TFN on record.
    • They might not be able to provide it directly due to privacy laws, but they can confirm if they have it on file.

What If I've Never Had a TFN?

If you're new to Australia or have never worked before, you might not have a TFN yet. Don't worry - applying for one is free and relatively straightforward.

How to Apply for a TFN

The process varies depending on your circumstances:

  • Australian residents: Apply online through the ATO website
  • Foreign passport holders: Apply through selected Australia Post outlets
  • Permanent migrants or temporary visitors: Apply online after arriving in Australia

The ATO aims to process most applications within 28 days.

Protecting Your TFN

Once you've found or obtained your TFN, it's crucial to keep it safe. Your TFN is valuable personal information that could be used for identity theft if it falls into the wrong hands.

TFN Security Tips

  • Only give your TFN to authorised people, like your employer or bank
  • Don't store it on your phone or computer
  • Shred documents containing your TFN before disposing of them
  • Never share your TFN on social media or via email

The Importance of Your TFN in the Australian Tax System

Your TFN plays a pivotal role in the Australian tax system. It ensures that your tax and superannuation records are accurately maintained and that you're paying the correct amount of tax.

The Bottom Line:

In conclusion, your Tax File Number is a crucial part of your financial life in Australia. Whether you're a longtime resident who's misplaced your TFN or a newcomer applying for the first time, knowing how to find or obtain your TFN is essential.

Remember, the ATO is always there to help if you're stuck. So, next time you're starting a new job or preparing to lodge your tax return, you'll be ready with your TFN. And who knows? Maybe you'll impress your mates at the next Barbie with your tax know-how. After all, nothing says "true blue Aussie" quite like being on top of your taxes!