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Brad
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Getting your ABN should be instant via the ATO website. Why are people stating timeframes in weeks? Is that what happens when you are a sole trader and need to register the business name (so you can get the ABN as a ‘trading as’ thing?) as well as get an ABN?

I have two ABNs – one for myself as a sole trader and registered in my name (rather than a Trading As), and the other for my Pty Ltd entity. I received both pretty much instantly. The first through ATO’s website when registering, the second via the online incorporator services (in my case incorporator.com.au I think) that I used to register my Pty Ltd.

“Weeks” for an ABN should only occur in edge cases I would think, or where you’re submitting paper to the ATO or ASIC.

As to registering for GST, big benefits are (IANAA*, YMMV etc)

1. Never pay GST! (actually claim it all back on BAS)
2. Register for GST voluntarily (<75k/yr turnover) thus only have to do a yearly BAS. Do all paperwork anyway but only submit when you must (i.e. when you break the 75k part in the financial year). Keep all GST to that point in your bank account earning you interest :) If you register because you must (i.e. you state you will make more than 75k), you get to keep it for 3 months. Unless you’re earning millions in which case, maybe you’re looking for http://www.flyingairbusses.com.au not flyingsolo.com.au.
3. Lots of companies expect to be charged GST. It’s unusual not to. It’s like having your own domain for company email rather than gmail.com or hotmail.com, one more tool to make you look big and established rather than small and running out of a garage.

*I Am Not An Accountant. This is not accounting advice. I could be (and often am) wrong. Etc :)