If you’re looking to start a business in Australia, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is to register your company. Business registration in Australia involves several steps and can be a complex process for both locals and foreigners. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of registering your business in Australia, from choosing a name to documentation requirements. Continue reading to learn how to register your business in Australia
Table of Contents
Determining Whether a Business is Suitable for You
Before you start the registration process, you need to determine if creating a corporation is the best option for your business structure. There are several business structures to choose from, and the ‘Help me decide’ feature on https://register.business.gov.au/ can help you determine the optimal business structure for your purposes and the appropriate registrations.
If you decide to create a corporation, keep in mind that it is a legal entity in its own right. This can provide several benefits, such as lower corporation tax rates or liability restrictions. However, registering a business name is a separate process from forming a corporation. Be sure to consult your company’s organizational chart for more information.
Choosing a Business Name
When choosing a business name, there are several considerations you should keep in mind. First, it’s illegal to use the same name as an existing business in Australia. You can check the availability of desired names using an availability checker.
If you have a similar name to an existing business, you may still be eligible to register the name. For example, an individual who is a future board member or director, a prospective member of the same business, a joint enterprise or collaboration, or a trust deed with aspiring directors or members of the board of the business in question.
However, there are restrictions on certain terms and phrases, such as “bank,” “trust,” “Royal,” and “Incorporated.” Ministerial authorization is required for the use of these terms, and names that are deemed obscene or reflect illicit behavior may also be rejected.
Registration Process for Locals and Foreigners
The registration process for locals and foreigners is similar, but there are some differences in documentation requirements.
For locals, the following documentation is required:
- Tax File Number (TFN)
- Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Australian Company Number (ACN)
- Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN)
For foreigners, the following documentation is required:
- Passport or other identification documents
- Proof of business address in Australia
- Tax identification number or business registration number from their home country
It’s important to note that some industries require additional licenses or permits, such as food businesses or construction businesses. Be sure to check with the relevant regulatory bodies to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation and permits.
Securing a Business Name for Your Company in Australia
One of the essential steps in registering your business in Australia is securing a business name. A business name is a unique identifier that distinguishes your company from others. In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of securing a business name for your company in Australia.
Applying to Reserve a Business Name
You can apply to reserve a business name even if you’re not yet ready to register your business in Australia. You can use Form 410 to apply for a name reservation. If your application is accepted, we will hold the name for two months. After this period, you’ll need to reapply to reserve the name again.
It’s important to note that we will not hold a name for a lengthy period as doing so could prevent others from using the name to do business.
Checking for Existing Trademarks or Names
Before you secure a business name, it’s essential to examine any existing trademarks or names that could harm your business’s reputation. A firm with a similar trademark and name may take legal action against you, even if we reserve and register a name for you. You can use the IP Australia site to look for trademarks that are already registered.
Reflecting Your Company’s Legal Entity in Its Name
Your company’s name needs to reflect the legal responsibility and standing of each of its constituents. For instance, if a company’s members are only liable for the unpaid balance of their shares, the name must finish in “Proprietary Limited.” Company names must finish with “Proprietary” if the liability of members is limitless.
Defining Your Company’s Structure
Before registering your business, it’s crucial to determine how it will be controlled. Regulations that may be replaced, the underlying structure, or a blend of the two can regulate your business. It’s also possible to change the regulations.
The Corporations Act contains a set of replaceable regulations that are essential to running a business. If a firm does not choose to have one, the replacement rules can be used instead of a constitution. If you use replaceable rules, your organization doesn’t require a formal constitution, and your costs won’t rise when the legislation changes since you don’t have to maintain it.
Non-employee shareholders in a proprietary corporation must be limited to no more than 50. The activities of a private corporation must not be disclosed to investors. It’s only permitted to issue shares to the company’s shareholders or employees/subsidiaries.
Understanding Your Responsibilities as an Elected Official
If you’re an officer of a corporation, you must comply with all applicable laws, such as ensuring that the company’s information is current, keeping track of the specifics of a company’s finances and accounting records, and paying the necessary payments for lodging and yearly review. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the company’s officers to ensure compliance with the Corporations Act.
Obtaining a Business License for Your Company in Australia
Once you’ve secured a business name and defined your company’s structure, the next step is obtaining a business license. In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of obtaining a business license for your organization.
Using the Business Registration Australia Service
The Business Registration Service provided by the Australian Government (BRS) is a free service that simplifies the process of starting a company by consolidating various business and tax registrations into a single location. You can form a corporation using this service.
Private Service Providers
Alternatively, you can register your corporation via a private service provider (PSP). Examples of a PSP include your accountant, solicitor, or any other business that you do business with. They will often charge a price for their services that is more than the cost charged by LawPath.
Exceptions That Cannot Be Made Online
However, some business kinds, such as a corporation having no limit on its responsibility, a corporation whose individual share value is greater than 4 decimal places in the dollar, or a business that must file a Form 207Z with the government, are not accessible for registration online.
Foreign Business License Requirements
Foreigners looking to register a business in Australia have some requirements similar to that of locals, with some additional documents. In terms of a foreign company, the owner or authority person has to fulfill some important criteria, including:
Assuring that the Business Name is available for use in Australia by checking Business Name Availability. Registering a Company Name using LawPath or a similar service provider. Providing certified copies of the Certificate of Registration/Establishment and Constitution. Providing a Power of Attorney in favor of a Local Agent in Australia using a Memorandum of Appointment. Providing Authority of Directors using a Memorandum.
Responsibilities of a Registered Foreign Company
A foreign company must fulfill several responsibilities, such as operating a Foreign Passport Fund, displaying the company name wherever the office or business is set up (with appropriate Ltd or Pty Ltd), displaying the ARBN (Australian Registered Body Number), and appointing a local agent in Australia who must act like one. The agent can also be assigned by Memorandum of Appointment.
Additionally, a registered foreign company must fulfill a brand register request of a member (for instance registering member’s shares in another register) and disclose the Annual Return & Financial Statements.
Obtaining a business license is a crucial step in registering your company in Australia. Using the Business Registration Australia service or a private service provider can make the process simpler. As a foreigner looking to register a business in Australia, you have some additional requirements to fulfill, but the process is straightforward if you follow the necessary steps.
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