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ABR data – helping to detect fraud

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The Australian Business Register (ABR), managed by the Australian Taxation Office, holds business information collected when someone registers for an Australian business number (ABN).

Data collected is stored as public or non-public data and eligible local, state, territory and federal government agencies can access the non-public data for free.

Agencies can use non-public data to give targeted assistance and support to businesses in events such as natural disasters and COVID-19, as well as to assessment suitability and detect non-compliance and fraudulent behaviour.

How agencies can use data

With an increase in the number of stimulus and grant programs across the country, several agencies have seen businesses update or change their ABN details to qualify.

The South Australian Department of Treasury & Finance used non-public data to validate applications for COVID-19 small business grants. By using data when creating eligibility criteria, agencies can implement triggers for manual intervention.

After the Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions (DJPR) Victoria were alerted by the ABR call centre about a high volume of requests for registrations to be backdated, they used ABR data to identify applications that displayed certain indicators. Approximately $60 million of ineligible claims were identified and assessed as unsuccessful.

Accessing ABR data

In addition to the information publicly available on ABN Lookup, eligible agencies can access ABR non-public data through 3 channels:

  • ABR Explorer with online analytical and reporting tool for weekly extracts and files available to download.
  • ABR Identifier Search a real time Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) web service.
  • Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) a bulk data machine to machine (M2M) service.

Data includes:

  • ABN and GST registration status dates
  • business addresses
  • industry codes (ANZSIC)
  • business contact information including email and phone
  • associate names and relationship type
  • geocoding for mapping or spatial analysis
  • authorised contacts
  • charity data (ACNC).

The ABR bulk dataset will be including the latest date where an ABN application has been received and up to 4 additional ANZSIC codes (on top of the main ANZSIC code). These updates will allow agencies to determine if an ABN has been backdated or if a business has more than one business activity.

To check if your agency has access visit Agencies with access to non-public data.

Email to join the 712 agencies who already have access or for additional support using ABR data.

ABR data support

The Government Payments Program (GPP) is coordinating ABR Explorer training sessions and post-training support to help GPP participating agencies to strengthen identity and identify risk indicators in their service provider population. Email to learn more about the GPP.

Author: Agency Access Team – Australian Business Registry Services – Australian Tax Office

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