There are many factors to consider when establishing a new business in Australia. These include business structure, control or ownership, tax, regulatory obligations and health and safety requirements.
The most common business entity type is a company, which is a separate legal entity distinct from its owners or shareholders. There are a number of different types of companies to choose from depending on the needs of your business.
1. Apply for an ACN
When you want to start your own business in Australia, it’s important to understand the requirements that apply. One of the most significant is obtaining an ACN. This is a nine-digit number that every Australian company must have.
This allows the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to monitor your company’s activities and ensure that it is operating within legal and regulatory boundaries. You can get an ACN by completing a company registration application.
Once you have received your ACN, you can use it for all your company-related activities. For example, you can use it for preparing tax returns and filing statements with the Australian Tax Office. You can also use it to register for GST and payroll taxes.
Another benefit of having an ACN is that you can easily identify your business and avoid any potential misidentifications with consumers or other businesses. This can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary tax costs in the long run.
You can obtain an ACN by registering for company status with ASIC. This can be done online or through a private service provider. Once the company is registered, it will receive an ACN from ASIC and you can begin using it for all your company-related purposes.
To register for company status, you will need to fill out an application form and provide relevant documentation. This can include information about your shareholders, directors, solvency and addresses.
The application process is relatively easy to complete and the fee for a company registration can be as low as $100. However, it’s important to register as early as possible.
As with any company, you must make sure that the name of your company doesn’t infringe any trademarks. If you do, the government can take action against you.
2. Apply for an ABN
Getting your business registered with the Australian government is one of the most important things you can do when starting a foreign business in Australia. It will help you in a variety of ways, including registering your business for tax purposes and obtaining a license for a particular product or service.
The first step to registering a foreign business is to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). It’s a unique 11-digit number that identifies your business and helps in matters related to taxation and licensing.
You can apply for your ABN by visiting the Australian Business Register (ABR) website. It’s free to do this online and your application will take up to 20 business days to be reviewed.
Once you’ve filled out the online application, you will be asked to provide information about your business and its activities. You’ll also need to provide your legal name and authorised contact details for your business. These can be you, or someone you have selected to act on your behalf such as a registered tax or BAS agent.
If you are an Australian business, you will need to include the ABN of any associated businesses that you have in Australia. This can include suppliers, service providers and other people who have an interest in your company’s activities.
The authorised contact will need to be an Australian resident and be able to deal with any issues relating to your business’s ABN. They must also be able to update or amend your ABN on your behalf.
You should also be able to supply any of your business associates’ ABNs if you have them in Australia, as well as their residential address. You can also appeal if your ABN is not issued within 60 days of applying.
3. Apply for a tax file number
If you are an Australian citizen, permanent migrant or temporary visitor to Australia, or you are living outside Australia and receiving an income from an Australian source, you may need to apply for a tax file number (TFN). A TFN is one of the most important forms of identification in Australia, and keeping it secure is vital.
Getting a TFN is simple and free. You will need to provide some personal information, and the TFN will be sent to your address within 28 days. If you are not sure how to apply, contact the ATO on 13 28 61.
Your TFN will be included in documents you receive from the ATO, such as your income tax assessment. The number is also usually displayed in other documents, such as payslips and superannuation statements.
You can apply for a TFN yourself, or you can ask a registered tax agent to do it on your behalf. It’s a good idea to get a tax agent to do the work for you, as they will have more knowledge about Australian tax law and how to deal with the ATO.
Once you’ve applied for your TFN, you can check it online or use it to lodge your tax return. However, it’s always a good idea to keep it safe from identity theft and other crimes, so you should not share it with anyone else.
In Australia, you must have a TFN to open a bank account. If you don’t, your bank will withhold 47% of any interest earned on your account. You will also need a TFN to claim a refund on any tax withheld on interest earned from your Australian bank account or share dividends.
4. Apply for a business name
A business name is the first thing customers see when they contact you and it helps to create an image of your business. You should choose a name that is unique and one that will set you apart from your competition.
If you have chosen a name, it’s important to check that it isn’t already registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). ASIC offers a business name search tool on its website.
Using this tool, you can see if other businesses have names with the same or similar spellings of your proposed name. You can also find out if the name is reserved by another entity, currently in use, or has been deemed unacceptable or misleading.
Then, if your preferred business name is available, you can apply to reserve it with Form 410 – Application for Reservation of a Name. However, this process can take up to two months and you must make sure that your registration is completed in a timely manner.
Before you register a name, make sure that your proposed business name is not already registered as a trade mark or with IP Australia. This will protect your business from legal action if your name infringes on someone else’s intellectual property rights, such as a trademark.
A name should be able to differentiate your business from your competitors, and be easy for customers to understand. It should also reflect the type of products or services you provide.
You should also check that there aren’t any restricted words in your proposed business name that could mislead customers or suggest a connection to a government, charity or other organisation. ASIC has a list of prohibited words and phrases that you can search for on their website.
5. Apply for a registered office
Having a registered office in Australia is a legal requirement of every company. It is where statutory mail from government agencies can be sent and where your company’s statutory registers can be viewed by the public.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regulates the registration of companies and carries out due diligence on foreign company applicants, so it is important that you are able to comply with all the rules and regulations set by ASIC. This includes appointing a local agent / power of attorney who is a natural person or company, resident in Australia and authorised to accept, on behalf of the foreign company, service of process and notices from ASIC.
A company must provide a valid address when applying for a registered office. This can be a home or an office building but it must be an actual Australian street address and not a post office box.
Many foreign companies establish a representative office in Australia to explore the market, seek new potential clients and promote their products. This is not a permanent establishment, so it cannot make contracts or sell goods and services.
For a foreign company to be registered in Australia, it must have a certificate from its governing body that confirms the company is legitimate. It must also have a local agent in Australia who is authorised to accept, on behalf of the parent company, service of process and notices from the ASIC.
The choice of where to establish your company’s registered office is a crucial decision for the future success of your business. It should be an appropriate location in your chosen marketplace and one which is accessible to potential customers and suppliers.