Lost your tax file number? Here’s what to do

If you’ve lost your tax file number (TFN) there are a few options for you to try to get it back.

Your first avenue of inquiry, if you use the services of a tax agent or accountant, will be to ask them for your tax file number as you will have previously provided it to them. If not however, you can call the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 13 28 61 from 8am to 8pm Australian eastern standard time (AEST) Monday to Friday to find out what you can do to get your TFN. You can also phone on Saturday between 10am and 4pm (and Sunday at the same hours, but only until the end of October).

The ATO will need to make certain you are who you say you are, and that you’re the correct person with whom to be discussing your tax affairs (identity theft can, and does, occur) – so be ready to answer a few identifying questions. You may also, if you haven’t done so already, be invited to record a short “voiceprint”, which is another layer of security that can identify you the next time you call.

If however you have reason to suspect your TFN has been stolen or may be being misused, there’s another number to call — 1800 467 033. The ATO is keen to track down unauthorised TFN use as soon as possible.

The document trail
But before you grab the phone to try to track down your lost TFN, have you tried other sources? You might want to rifle through your paperwork and check the following, as your TFN should be on them:

  • your income tax “notice of assessment” for a previous year
  • any correspondence sent to you from the ATO
  • a payment summary from your employer
  • an account statement from your superannuation fund.

Do the paperwork
Another option is to fill in a form provided by the ATO to apply for, or inquire about, a TFN. But as the ATO will only process the bona fide paperwork that it provides taxpayers, you will need to order an actual paper form. Go to the ATO’s “online ordering” page and fill in your details, or call 1300 720 092 (note this is different to the above number).

Located overseas?
If you’re not in the country you can still call the ATO main switchboard on +61 2 6216 1111. It is staffed between 8am to 5pm AEST on weekdays (except public holidays).

Permanent migrants or temporary visitors to Australia can apply for a TFN online at any time after entering Australia. This option is available if you are:

  • a working holiday-maker
  • a New Zealander and you are automatically granted a visa on arrival
  • an overseas student and your visa has been amended to allow you to work
  • a person with a valid visa allowing you to stay in Australia indefinitely
  • a person with a business visa.

To apply, go to this ATO webpage. Non-residents of Australia for tax purposes can apply for a TFN using the Tax file number – application or enquiry for individuals living outside Australia form (here’s the link).

Once you get it back, keep that TFN on-hand
Your TFN is an essential piece of information needed for several reasons — it’s not just a reference number you need to drag out at tax time. Opening bank accounts, applying for government benefits and keeping track of your super savings will all require a TFN.

Centrelink and the Child Support Agency can also require your TFN, as well as higher education providers, banks and other financial institutions, solicitors and of course your accountant or tax agent.

You will also need your TFN if you land a job. If you’ve just started at a new workplace for example, you have 28 days in which to provide your new employer with your TFN before they’ll start withholding tax from your pay at the maximum rate. This should be ample time to try the measures mentioned above.

Website Comments

  1. Utsab Thapa

    dear sir,madam
    due to some critical family problems problems after staying 5 years in Aus, I came to my country Nepal on 2007. But unfortunately I lost my Tax file number. I need your guidence and help inorder to claim my super.

    • Rebecca

      Hi I’m enquiring. For my daughter she not sure of her taxfile number she has no credit to ring but needs her taxfile number asap.

    • Patricia Allerby

      My son has lost his TFN can I get it for him he hasn’t had had to use it for a few years

  2. Brian Shrubshall

    I am 78 and have not paid tax for years but need my wife and I TFN to open a bank account . How do we do it

  3. Man Kam Chiu

    I have been living overseas for more than 16 years. I have lost my TFN for years. Now I need my TFN to open a bank account. I like to know how I can get my TFN back.

  4. Monika Rani

    Hi my name monika rani.i lost my TFN no. SO how can i find .pls let me know. Thx

    • Sang ayu tantri pnatih

      Hi can you helpme please iam forget my tax nomber haw can i find my tax nomber back thank you



  6. Vezzoli Giorgio

    salve, ho soggiornato in Australia nel 2015 e non mi ricordo più il tax file number come si può risalire al TFN dall’Italia?

  7. Gowtham

    I have lost my TFN . how can i get it back . i have my TFN application reference number

  8. Gurmeet Singh

    I have been living overseas for more then 13 year . I have lost my TFN .l need my TFN to supernation. So how can i find pls let me know. Thx

  9. Yvonne Croton

    Hi I resided and worked in Sydney from 1978 to 1994. My name was Yvonne Averill Trajkovski. My Medicare card number was 2265 34514 1. My address before I left was 67 Scylla Road Oyster Bay. NSW 2225. I live back home in NZ now. I need my Tax number please as I’m eligible for the pension in November. My birth date is 06/11/1955. Regards Yvonne

  10. raja9393

    Thanks for sharing such an informative.
    if you required any TAX and GST Consultants, plse visit
    synmac consultants in BANGALORE | CHENNAI | DELHI

    • Elke Karin Fulton

      Worked for Vogon ,Yazaki and another company for some years ,and i am unsure if I have any Superannuation due to me . I cannot remember claiming it.

    • Elke Karin Fulton

      Worked for Vogon ,Yazaki and another company for some years ,and i am unsure if I have any Superannuation due to me . I cannot remember claiming it. I do not ever remember having contact with anyone regarding this matter.

  11. Beverly paul

    I have lost my TFN now there is a new law in NZ they need my file number something to do with money laundering something to do with scamming and fraud I am 84 most got lost in transit I had 4jobs in Queensland in the 1990s Cheers Beverly

  12. Patricia Allerby

    My son has lost his TFN can I get it for him he hasn’t had had to use it for a few years

  13. Joanne L"Estrange

    I’m enquiring on behalf of my daughter. She is living overseas and has been for about 10 years now, and won’t be returning to Australia. She has lost her tax file number, and needs it to claim her superannuation. She was issued with her tax file number around 2001 or 2002. How can she get her tax file number? Please help.
    L. Bailey

  14. Narinder

    That information provided by you is helful for me and plz keep update trending , thank you so much
    and if u require any TAX consultant in delhi or new company registraion and much more plz visit http://www.synmac.in

  15. Margaret Parker

    Would I ever have had a tax file number as I left Australia in 1966? I am an Australian citizen.

  16. John Honey

    I am a permanent resident in Norway for 20 years, I am 65 and need my TFN to have my pension funds sent to me, I don´t know where to get the TFN and have contacted my pension fund and hope they keep old records. If they can´t help me can you give me an alternative way to get my TFN.
    regards, John

  17. Jack gardner

    I need my tax file number for work but am unable to locate it.

    What do I do??

Post a comment