Most of us will be aware of the no ABN withholding rule, whereby if a supplier does not quote their ABN on an invoice then:
In its recent Compliance Focus, the Tax Office highlighted ABN/GST fraud as an emerging tax issue, whereby people quote a false ABN, claim they are registered for GST, and then ‘pocket’ the GST they illegally charge on a supply that they make. In cases such as this the question arises, will penalties apply?
Generally speaking, if the ABN quotation appears legitimate, you can accept it. You are not required to verify it on the Australian Business Register (ABR), and will not be penalised if you have failed to withhold. However, where you have reason to suspect that the ABN quoted may not be genuine or that it may not belong to the supplier who quoted it, you should check on the ABR.
You may have grounds for suspicion where:
Invoice details are vague and inappropriate to your business and the supplies you are receiving.