November 17 2023

How do I find my TFN?

A tax file number (TFN) is a special number you get from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for tax and superannuation purposes. It’s made up of 9 digits for most people. Importantly, your TFN stays with you for life, even if you change your name, job, or move anywhere in the world.

Having a TFN may help you manage your finances more efficiently, as it helps you keep track of your income (including any super investment earnings), taxes you owe, and any government benefits you might be entitled to.

If you don't have a TFN, you might end up paying more taxes on your personal income than you need to. Separately, it's also important for managing your super, as it helps to make sure that contributions and withdrawals are taxed appropriately.

Why do I need a TFN?

Technically, you don’t need a TFN, but life can get more complicated without one. Here’s how having a TFN can help.

Avoid paying too much tax on your income – A TFN can help ensure you get taxed at the right rate for your income level. Without it, you risk being taxed at the highest marginal rate, which could seriously impact your take-home pay.

Get the most out of your super – If you don't provide your TFN to your super fund, the government will tax your concessional (or before-tax) contributions and investment earnings at 47% instead of 15%. Additionally, you won’t be able to make any personal after-tax contributions, and you won’t be able to receive any government co-contributions or low-income super tax offset (LISTO), even if you’re eligible.


Did you know?

If you’re a Rest member and paid additional tax because you didn’t provide your TFN, you may be able to get this back. To seek a refund, you’ll need to provide your TFN. There are limitations on how far back you may be able to seek a refund of the additional tax you paid before you provided your TFN. For more information, visit the ATO website. Want to provide your TFN?

Apply for government benefits – You’ll generally need a TFN to apply for government benefits and/or allowances, like the Age Pension, JobSeeker, or the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) if you’re a student.

Managing your investments and finances – Are you earning income from savings account interest or investments? Providing your TFN can help ensure your earnings are taxed correctly. If your bank doesn’t have your TFN, they’ll need to withhold tax at the highest marginal rate on any interest you earn, costing you more in the long run.

Where can I find my TFN?

I have a TFN already

If you already have a TFN, it’s generally easy to find. Here are a few places where you should be able find your TFN:

  • payslips from your employer
  • payment summaries from your employer
  • income tax notices of assessment
  • official letters from the ATO
  • old tax return paperwork or digital files
  • super account statements
  • ATO online portal or app if you have a myGov account that’s linked to the ATO.

Your tax agent should also be able to help you find your TFN.

I don’t have a TFN

If you don't have a TFN, you can get one at no cost from the ATO. You can apply online or by filling out a paper form. The way you apply might vary depending on where you live and your situation. Check the ATO website for more information.

Can I find my TFN online?

Yes, you can find your TFN online. The process is quite straightforward if you have a myGov account. Don’t have one? That’s ok too. We’ll show you step-by-step what to do.

I have a myGov account

  1. Log into your myGov account – Go to the myGov website or ATO app and sign in with your username and password.
  2. Access the ATO online services – If you’re on the myGov website, you'll see a list of services linked to your myGov account. Choose the ATO from this list.
  3. Locate your TFN – On the dashboard, look for an option that says, 'Find my TFN’. Click on it, and your TFN will be displayed alongside your other personal details.

I don’t have a myGov account

  1. Create a myGov account – If you don't already have an account, you'll need to set one up on the myGov website.
  2. Link the ATO to your myGov account – Once you’re in, link your new myGov account to the ATO. You’ll need to enter some personal details to verify your identity.
  3. Find your TFN – After you've successfully linked the ATO to your myGov account, you can follow the steps above to find your TFN.

What to do if my TFN is lost or stolen

If you think someone has stolen your TFN, it's important to act quickly. Make sure to contact the ATO’s Client Identity Support Centre on 1800 467 033. They’ll be able to help you get your identity back on track. They might also put security measures in place to keep an eye on any suspicious activity linked to your account.

To find out more about the help available for victims of identity theft, visit the ATO website.

How to keep my TFN secure

Keeping your TFN safe is a crucial part of protecting your identity and avoiding fraud or scams. If someone has your TFN and other basic personal details, like your name and address, they may have enough information to try to steal your identity.

Before you give out your TFN, think about whether you trust the person or organisation requesting it. Some examples of who and when to provide your TFN include:

  • the ATO – for any tax-related matters
  • your employer – when you start a new job
  • banks and financial Institutions – when opening an account or taking out a loan
  • government agencies –- when claiming government benefits
  • your super fund – usually when you join a new super fund
  • your university – if you’re applying for a study loan, like HELP.

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