Your Guide To Starting A Company In Australia

Looking to start a new business in Australia? We have put together a checklist and a guide about business registration, ABN and more.

Embarking on a new business venture is both exciting and nerve-racking. Being your own boss comes with a long laundry list of things you need to do to start your business right. Whether you are starting a new company or looking to carry out business in Australia as a foreign company, you must register the company in Australia.

We talked to our TEC partners in Australia, ABN Australia and Neo Advisory, to learn how to set up a business in Australia, particularly starting a company in Australia. We put together this guide to take you through some crucial steps of starting a business in Australia under the company structure.

Checklist For Opening A Company In Australia

Before starting your company in Australia, you need to sort out a list of items below:

  1. Decide on your business structure
  2. Decide on a business name
  3. Choose a business address
  4. Choose company officeholders

1.Choose Your Business Structure

Choosing a business structure that suits you is the critical first step you need to take when starting up a new business in Australia. While this article focuses on how to set up a company in Australia, you can choose from a few business entity types when setting up your business in Australia, including a sole trader, a partnership, a trust and a company. It is worth mentioning that you might change your business's structure as it evolves.

2.Pick A Company Name

Having a business name helps your customers make an emotional connection to your brand. And you need a company name to register your business in Australia unless you are a sole trader. You need to ensure the name you wish to register is available and it doesn't infringe any existing trademarks in Australia. You can use the business name check tool to make sure the name is not taken by existing businessesYou can use this tool to check and make sure your preferred business name is not used by anyone else.

3.Choose A Business Address

You must have a registered office address in Australia as the registered office and principal place of business unless you are a sole trader. ASIC will use that address to send you all the official communications, and it will also be presented as your primary business location. The business address of your choice must not be a PO box. flexible workspace with premium business address in Sydney ready to be used by businessesTEC’s Virtual Office plan is a perfect option for those who would like to enjoy a premium business address.

If you are starting your business in Australia, you can consider using a Virtual Office plan to get a business address for a fraction of the price of a traditional office. Our Virtual Office plans come with a mail handling service, a prestigious address from a grade A building, and flexible terms. It is your perfect solution to start a business in Australia.

4.Choose Company Officeholders

The company requires at least one director to be an ordinary resident in Australia. You need to get written consent from your company officeholders and keep it with your company records. If you are a foreign business that needs help finding a resident director to meet the requirement, you can reach out to local service providers like our partners, ABN Australia, who can provide the service for a fee.

How To Set Up A Business In Australia

Here’s an easy step-by-step process to get your business set up properly in Australia:

  1. Register your company with ASIC
  2. Apply for an ABN (Australian Business Number)
  3. Get your TFN (Tax File Number)
  4. Register your GST (Goods and Services Tax)
  5. Register your business name with ASIC
  6. Register your website domain name
  7. Open a local bank account
  8. Apply for any licences or permits required
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1. Register Your Company in Australia with ASIC

After gathering all the items mentioned above, you can start your business registration using the Australian Government's Business Registration Service (BRS) online or via a private service provider. Once the application is processed, ASIC will issue an ACN (which will be used to apply for an ABN) for your company, register the company and issue a certificate of registration. Reminder: Foreign companies must register with the ASIC as a registered foreign company before carrying on business in Australia. You need to appoint a local agent (an individual or an Australian company) that is authorised to accept service and notices on behalf of your business.

2. Register For Your ABN

ABN (Australian Business Number) is a unique 11-digit number that identifies your business. You will need an ABN to conduct business in Australia. It is also essential for tax and other business activities performed in Australia, including invoicing, claim GST credits, and getting an Australian .au domain name. If you aren't Australian residents, you can still apply for an ABN. When registering for an ABN as non-residents, you need to provide the Tax File Number or Proof of Identity and your intended business statement in Australia. If you want to learn more about ABN registration outside of Australia, ASIC provides an extensive guide on that.

3. Register Your Tax File Number (TFN)

A tax file number is required to lodge a tax return for your business. Unless you are a sole trader, you will need a separate TFN for your business. Most businesses can apply for their TFN when applying for an ABN.

4. Register Your Goods and Services Tax (GST)

If your business has reached the GST threshold, you need to register for GST within 21 days. Generally, you can register for GST after getting your ABN. If you are a non-resident, you might need to register for a standard GST or a simplified GST depending on your business activities. GST applies to sales connected with Australia.

5. Register A Business Name With ASIC

After registering for ABN, you can also register your business name with ASIC. For business name registration, you need:

  • an ABN or its application reference number
  • an address for service of documents (to receive the official notices and show on the Business Names Register)
  • a principal place of business (your primary business location, no PO box address is allowed)
  • an email address

It takes around 2-5 business days to get a confirmation on your business name registration. If you want to make your business name exclusive, you can consider registering it as a trademark with IP Australia.

6. Buy Your Domain Name

After getting your business name registered, you can also register your domain name. ABN / ACN is required if you want to get a .com.au domain for your business, but getting a .au domain does not require ABN / ACN checks.

7. Open A Local Bank Account

Operating a business in Australia often requires a local bank account. Therefore it would be best to prepare it in advance. If you operate outside of Australia, you may need to visit Australia to complete the bank's identification verification (KYC) requirements. Alternatively, you can work with service providers, like ABN Australia, who can help streamline account opening procedures.

8. Apply For Any Licences Or Permits Required

To legally operate a business in Australia, you must have the required licences and permits for your industry. You can visit the Australian Business Licence and Information Service website to discover the licences you need to kickstart and run your business in Australia.

Navigating through all the documents and requirements when registering your business in Australia can be quite a headache and time-consuming. That's why we partner with experts in the field like ABN Australia and Neo Advisory to help our Members streamline the process of setting up a business in Australia, allowing them to focus on what matters the most. You can check with our local team at your centre for more information or assistance.

Agility and flexibility are essential to running a business in today's era. We strive to provide workspace solutions that enable our Members to work from anywhere while maintaining a presence in any city of their choice. We have centres in grade A commercial buildings in different parts of Australia, such as Collins Square in Melbourne and 108 St Georges Terrace in Perth. In Sydney, we have Centres at 1 Bligh, Aurora Place, Australia Square, Governor Phillip Tower, and Three International Towers.

About ABN Australia: ABN Australia specialises in helping clients establish their business or corporate structure in Australia in compliance with local laws and regulations. We love working with clients from around the world, and sharing our insights and experience. Our longevity in the industry reflects our commitment to amazing customer service and industry-leading compliance solutions.

About Neo Advisory: Neo Advisory has extensive experience in helping clients establish their companies and obtain appropriate licences in Australia. From company establishment to acquisition of an existing business, Neo Advisory is a single place for bespoke corporate advisory and business services. We can also assist our clients in obtaining Australian Financial Services Licence, Australian Credit License and AUSTRAC registrations.