The ATO has advised that the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) will begin cancelling the ABNs of approximately 220,000 trusts, where there is evidence they are no longer carrying on an enterprise.

Trust ABNs will be cancelled in February 2016, where information available indicates that for the last two years the trust has not lodged BASs and/or trust income tax returns. Exclusions to these ABN cancellations apply for trusts that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission or are non-reporting members of a GST or income tax group.

The ATO says entities will receive a letter if their ABN has been cancelled. The letter will include the reason for the cancellation, and a phone number to ring to have the ABN reinstated immediately if the entity does not agree with the decision. The ATO also notes that if an entity's ABN is cancelled and neither the entity nor its tax representative receives a letter, it could mean the entity's contact details are not up to date on its ABN record.

Source: ATO website, "Cancellation of trust ABNs", 22 January 2016, https://www.ato.gov.au/Tax-professionals/Newsroom/Your-practice/Cancellation-of-trust-ABNs/.