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Setup a Business in Australia

If you are an Australia-based online retailer, this video lesson is just for you. It details the six steps to registering a business in Australia.

Let’s dive in:

Step One: Decide on a Business Structure

The four main types of business structures commonly used by small businesses are:

  1. Sole trader: an individual trading on their own
  2. Partnership: an association of people or entities carrying on a business together, but not as a company
  3. Trust: an entity that holds property or income for the benefit of others
  4. Company: a legal entity separate from its shareholders.

Step Two: Decide whether to register in a state or nationwide.

You can either register your business on a state-by-state basis, or you can register Australia-wide. Registering in one state is cheaper but if you are going to be doing business across Australia, you will need to register Australian-wide. Something else to bear in mind is that creating an Australian-wide company often gives a better impression to outsiders rather than a state one.

Note that when a company is registered under the Corporations Act 2001, it is automatically registered as an Australian company. This means it can conduct business through Australia without needing to register in individual state and territory jurisdictions.

Businesses that are not companies (sole traders & partnerships) are required to register their business name with the appropriate state/territory. Registering a business name does not create a business entity.

As to be expected, there are some setup costs associated with registering a business. You'll pay AU$76 for three years. 

Step Three: Choose a company name

The company name you choose must indicate the company's legal status. For instance, if it is a limited liability company, the name must end with 'Limited' or 'Ltd'. You cannot choose a name that has been registered to another company or business. To search Australian company and business names, and register your business name, use the National Names index on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website

Step Four: Will the company operate under replaceable rules, a constitution, or a combination of both?

You now need to decide how the company will be internally managed. Will you use:

  • the replaceable rules in the Act
  • the Company's own constitution
  • a combination of both

See www.ASIC.gov.au for more information.

Step Five: Consents from members, directors and secretary

You must get signatures and approvals from the following people before applying to register a company:

  • Director
  • Secretary
  • Member

These are not included in the application, but they must be kept with the company's records and details will need to be recorded in the register of members.

Step Six: Fill out application for Registration as a company

This is Form 201 and it includes:

  • Proposed company name
  • The class and type of registration
  • The registered office details
  • Principle business details
  • Director and secretary details
  • Share structure details
  • Member's share details

The Cost of Application for registration as an Australian company is $400 for a company having share capital and $300 for a company not having a share capital. When Form 201 has been completed, the applicant must sign it. The applicant can be either a person or a company.

When you are ready, mail the form to:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

PO Box 4000

Gippsland Mail Centre VIC 3841

Before I go, let’s quickly cover your legal obligations

When you register, you will be given an Australian Company Number that must be used correctly. This means you can now use your Australian Business Number correctly as it includes your nine-digit Australian Company Number. You quote your ACN along with your company name on the first page of any business document that includes your name.

You are legally obligated to display your company name on:

  • the common seal (if any) and every other seal of the company (if any)
  • every public document issued, signed or published by, or on behalf of, the company
  • every eligible negotiable instrument issued, signed or published by, or on behalf of, the company, and
  • all documents required to be lodged with ASIC under the Act.

For further information on setting up a business in Australia, Contact ASIC using the contact information on screen. I hope this lesson has been helpful. Thanks for watching! 

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