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Get Back on Track: What to Do When Your TFN is Lost

Losing your Tax File Number (TFN) can be frustrating and worrisome, especially if you need it for an important financial transaction or tax-related matters. 

Although it’s essential to keep your TFN safe and secure, sometimes accidents happen, and you may find yourself searching for that elusive number. 

But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the steps to take when you’ve lost your TFN and how to avoid such situations.

Step 1: Stay Calm and Search Thoroughly

Before you jump to conclusions and assume that your TFN is gone forever, take a deep breath and retrace your steps. Have you checked all possible locations, such as email records, past tax returns, or your Australian Taxation Office (ATO) correspondence? Sometimes, a simple search can save you a lot of trouble.

Step 2: Contact Your Tax Agent or Accountant

If you’re still looking for your TFN after a thorough search, the next step is to contact your tax agent or accountant. They may have it on file and can provide the necessary information. Remember, your tax agent or accountant is there to help you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Step 3: Contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

If you still need help finding your TFN and your tax agent or accountant can’t help, it’s time to reach out to the ATO. You can call them on 13 28 61, and they’ll assist you in retrieving your TFN. 

Be prepared to answer a series of questions to verify your identity, such as your name, address, date of birth, and other personal information. The ATO may also ask for details about your financial history and tax records.

Once you’ve successfully verified your identity, the ATO will provide you with your TFN via mail. If you receive it by mail, expect it to arrive within 10-14 business days. Please note that the ATO will never send your TFN via email or text message due to security reasons.

Step 4: Update Your Records

Now that you have your TFN ensure that you update your records accordingly. Store your TFN securely and inform relevant parties, such as your employer, financial institution, or tax agent, about your updated TFN. This will help prevent future issues or delays in processing your tax-related matters.

Tips for Keeping Your TFN Safe

To avoid finding yourself in a lost TFN situation again, follow these tips for keeping your TFN safe and secure:

1. Store Your TFN Securely

Keep your TFN in a safe place, such as a locked filing cabinet or secure digital storage. Avoid carrying it around in your wallet or purse, as this increases the risk of losing or stealing it.

2. Be Cautious with Your TFN

Only provide your TFN to trusted parties and authorised individuals, such as your employer, financial institution, or registered tax agent. Never share your TFN on social media or with unknown individuals.

3. Monitor Your Accounts

Regularly check your tax and financial accounts for suspicious activity. If you notice discrepancies or unauthorised transactions, report them immediately to the ATO and your financial institution.

4. Be Vigilant Against Scams

Be aware of phishing and other fraudulent activities targeting your TFN and personal information. Remember, the ATO will never ask for your TFN or personal details via email or text. If you receive a suspicious message or call claiming to be from the ATO, report it immediately.


Losing your Tax File Number can be a stressful experience. But it’s important to remember that there are steps you can take to recover it and protect your personal and financial information. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to handling a lost TFN and getting your tax affairs back on track.

If you are looking for Sunshine Coast accountants or Fraser Coast, we can help you. SMB Accounting does individual tax returns, small business accounting with various small business accounting packages available, audits, and more. Contact us today or sign up for our newsletter to learn more!