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If you are looking to start up a company in Australia, there are various steps you will need to undertake in order to comply with federal and state laws. Knowing how to register your business in Australia is one of the most important steps, as it covers a variety of operational and tax requirements.

The good news is that you are not alone – in 2021, more than 365,000 new businesses entered the Australian market, totalling more than 2.4 million operational entities. To help walk you through this essential process, we’ve covered everything you need to know in our beginner’s guide to Australian business registration.

Make sure you are ready to get started

Before registering your business in Australia, you will have already gone through a number of key steps to set up your operation. Whether you are starting a new business from scratch or expanding an existing overseas company into Australia, you should be confident you have determined:

  • Your business structure (i.e. how it will be set up for tax purposes)
  • Your business name and alternatives (if necessary)
  • Your proposed business location
  • Created a thorough business plan
  • Developed a risk-management plan
  • Written a marketing plan
  • Developed your export strategy, if you intend to sell your goods or services overseas from Australia
  • Accumulated adequate capital to begin operations in Australia

Once you have satisfied the above criteria, it’s time for the next step: Australian business registration.

5 essential business registration requirements

When registering a business in Australia, there are a number of requirements you have to navigate before you can begin selling your goods and services. These are for operational and tax purposes mainly, but they will also help you get a broader understanding of how the Australian business world works, and the type of compliance you will need to adhere to.

While not an exhaustive list, these are the key elements you’ll need to register your business for so you can get taxed at the correct rate, avoid any penalties and protect your brand:

  1. ABN: Every business operating in this country requires an Australian Business Number (ABN). This number is unique to your company and will be used by suppliers, customers and the ATO to identify you as a business. Getting an ABN is free.
  2. Business name: Before you settle on a business name, it’s recommended that you go through the Australian business directory to see if it’s already been taken. It’s easy to conduct an Australian business name search – and in case it’s already taken, simply search for your alternative options until you find one that is available.
  3. Tax registrations: There are lots of different types of businesses in Australia, and not all taxes will apply to everyone. For example, companies require an Australian Company Number (ACN) while a sole trader only needs a Tax File Number (TFN) and ABN to operate. Pay close attention to all the various tax registrations including GST, PAYG, payroll tax, Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), land tax and more.
  4. Licences and permits: Certain businesses need a permit to comply with zoning laws, while other businesses will need a food licence to sell their products. Familiarise yourself with the types of licences and permits you will need.
  5. Company structure: If you decide that a company is the best business structure for your needs, you must register for an ACN. Because a company is its own legal entity, it has various legal obligations you will need to be aware of.
  6. BONUS – Trade mark: While not a requirement like the five listed above, applying for a trade mark can ultimately protect your business name and brand from being used by others.

Next steps to set up your business for success

Registering a business can be time-consuming and complicated if you’ve never gone through the process before. And because any mistakes you make while registering can be perceived as non-compliance by the ATO, it’s important to get it right the first time.

At Company Set Up Australia, we offer a variety of company formation services in Australia and have the expertise to guide you through the registration process. We will also determine the right business structure for you, and help you obtain all the necessary registrations for your new Australian company.

Company Set Up Australia is a one-stop shop for all your company formation needs. Our comprehensive suite of professional services are ideal for both local and foreign investors looking to establish a presence in Australia. To get started today, contact the experts or call us on (02) 9119 8859.