How to Register a Company in Australia | Ultimate Guide
Registering a company in Australia establishes it as a separate legal entity and is essential for operating a business. While the process involves some paperwork, it is straightforward when you understand the required steps. This guide covers the key actions needed to set up and register a company in Australia properly.
Choosing a Business Structure
The first step is deciding the right business structure for your needs. Common options include:
Simplest structure with the individual fully responsible. No separate registration is needed.
Shared ownership by the partners. Requires a Partnership Agreement but no registration.
A separate legal entity owned by shareholders. Requires registration with ASIC.
Can trade shares publicly. It involves more regulations, so it is generally suited for large enterprises.
For many small businesses, a private company structure makes the most sense for registering with limited liability.
Selecting a Company Name
Once you choose a business structure, it’s time to pick a name. The company name must:
- Be unique and not too similar to existing names
- Include “Pty Ltd” at the end to signify a private company
- Not include offensive or restricted words
Check name availability through ASIC before filing registration.
Appointing Company Directors
Every Australian company must appoint at least one company director who is over 18 years old and currently has yet to be disqualified from being a director. List directors in the registration documents.
Registering for Required Tax and Business Numbers
To operate legally, private companies need an ABN (Australian Business Number) and TFN (Tax File Number):
- ABN: Apply through the Australian Business Register website. This number identifies the business for tax purposes.
- TFN: Apply to the Australian Tax Office to obtain this tax identification number.
With these, you can register a company.
Preparing and Lodging Registration Documents
To register the company, forms must be prepared and lodged with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission):
- Application for Registration: List the name, directors, contact info, shares, etc.
- Incorporation Certificate: Signed by directors or agents noting consent to act in the role
- Payment: Pay the registration fee (around $500).
Applications can be submitted online through ASIC Connect for the fastest processing.
Obtaining a Company Seal and Records Book
Private companies in Australia require a company seal and records book:
- Common Seal: Emboss legal documents. It must match the company name.
- Records Book: Track meeting minutes, share registry, and director changes.
These help comply with documentation regulations for private companies.
Understanding Ongoing Compliance Requirements
Once registered, private companies must:
- File annual financial statements and reports with ASIC
- Send annual company statements to shareholders
- Report changes in directors, contact details, shares, etc. to ASIC
- Hold annual general meetings for shareholders
- Keep company records for 7 years
Staying compliant helps keep the company in good legal standing.
Registering for Business Domain Name, Licenses and More
After company registration, take care of the remaining business registrations:
- Business domain name with registrar
- Licenses and permits specific to your industry
- GST registration if annual turnover exceeds $75k
Completing these administrative steps gets your business fully ready for operations in Australia!
Benefits of Proper Company Registration in Australia
Taking the time to register a company legally makes it far easier to operate. Key benefits include:
- Separate legal entity shields owners from liability
- Easier to open business bank accounts
- Ability to trade and transact as a recognized entity
- Credibility with customers and partners
- Access to government contracts and support
Properly establishing your business as a registered company sets it up for success.