Australian Business Registration: What It Is and How to Register For It?

March 31, 2024
14 Minutes
Modified on:
March 31, 2024
Written by:
Swati Bucha
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Starting a business in Australia is an ambitious effort, and for a successful journey, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations required to do Australian business registration. Whether you are thinking of opening a small business from home or establishing a fully-fledged start-up, it is essential to know the necessary business registration details in Australia, like ABN registration in Australia

Australia Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit number that recognizes your business to the government and community. It is essential to get started with an ABN because it can help you establish a unique identity, avoid pay-as-you-go (PASG) taxes on received payments, claim GST credits, get energy grants credits, and apply for an Australian domain name for your business, like a .edu email domain

In this detailed blog, we will cover every aspect, such as requirements, grounds for registration, types of business, and step-by-step tutorials, to facilitate seamless Australian business registration and simplify the procedure. 

What is Business Registration in Australia?

In Australia, business registration is the formal procedure for registering a business or firm with the government. This process ensures that the government and regulatory agencies can follow and monitor businesses for taxation, legal compliance, and other regulatory requirements. Register your preferred business structure and get an Australian Business Number (ABN) to establish a business. The registration process may vary depending on your region and industry, and you may need some extra licenses or permissions.

Getting an ABN registration is a necessary step in the registration procedure as it works as your company’s unique identification in all interactions with the government and other businesses. Additionally, some business structures may need an Australian Company Number (ACN) if you operate as a company. This procedure gives your company the legal ability to manage, creates opportunities for many financial benefits, and strengthens your reputation with clients and customers.

Why is it Important to Register a Business in Australia?

In Australia, registering a business is not just a concern as per law but also comes with various benefits that add to the credibility and success of your business. Following are some benefits that come along with registering your business:

1. Legal Compliance

Registering your business ensures that Australian rules and regulations bind your company. It also helps you avoid penalties and avoid trouble with the law.

2. Credibility

Clients, partners, and suppliers frequently view a registered firm as more reliable and trustworthy. This can have a favorable effect on your business partnerships.

3. ABN Acquisition

The ABN is a unique 11-digit number acquired by the Australian ABN application. It is required for various business operations, such as creating bank accounts, filing tax returns, and conducting GST transactions.

4. Government Support

Registered businesses can be eligible for various government benefits, such as grants, incentives, and other forms of financial support, that can help them grow and thrive.

5. Tax Benefits

Registering a business enables you to receive tax benefits and deductions, which improves the company's financial stability.

6. Business Name Protection

By registering your company name, you can avoid confusion and legal consequences from other businesses using similar names in your field. You also gain the sole license to use your name within that industry.

Types Of Business Structures In Australia

Selecting an appropriate business structure is essential in the Australian business registration process. Selecting the structure that best meets your objectives is crucial since each has unique legal and financial benefits. The following are the common types of business structures:

1. Sole Proprietorship

A Sole proprietorship business structure in which the owner and the company are both a single entity is run and owned by a single person. The owner is responsible for all the company's business operations, profit, and loss. Although the owner has total ownership and control, they are also responsible for all the debts and liabilities.

2. Partnership

A partnership is a legal framework for a business in which two or more people manage and run a company according to the partnership deed. Each partner's liability is unlimited unless the partnership is registered as a limited liability partnership. Profits and losses are shared among the partners as per the profit-sharing ratio.

3. Company

A company is a distinct legal entity with limited liability protection that can enter into contracts, sue others, and be sued. To register and gain advantages, companies must have an Australian Company Number (ACN) if they operate as a company.

4. Trust

Trusts are business structures in which beneficiaries receive service from a trustee running the company. They are frequently used to protect personal assets and run family businesses. The trustee, an individual or an organization, is appointed by the trust to manage the company’s assets for the benefit of beneficiaries. 

5. Non-Profit Organization

These companies are not made for profit but rather exist for community, religious, or charity reasons. They need to fulfill specific requirements to be eligible for some tax exemptions. Although the company is not usually accountable for its debts and liabilities, the board of directors can be held liable for wrongful acts.

Steps To Register Your Business In Australia

Now that you know the importance of registering your business and the types of business structures in Australia, let’s go through the steps on how you can do Australian business registration:

Step 1. Select The Business Structure.

Considering your objectives, company size, and sector, choose the suitable business structure per your needs. You can also get advice from a financial professional to help you select the best business structure that suits your venture and helps you legally sort things out quickly. 

Step 2. Choose a Business Name.

Select a unique name for your business that accurately reflects your brand and work. If you cannot think of any suitable name, then you can utilize business name generator tools to find some inspiration. 

Visit the Australian Business Register (ABR) to check if the name is available. Register the business name with the Australian Securities And Investment Commission (AISC) if you want to run a sole proprietorship or partnership business. 

Step 3. Obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN)

Use the Australian Business Register (ABR) to complete the Australian ABN Application and get the ABN number. This number serves as your company’s unique identification and provides benefits related to tax and legal work. 

Step 4. Register For Goods And Services Tax (GST).

All types of business structures except non-profit organizations must register for GST if their annual turnover is $75,000 or above. For non-profit organizations, the limit is $1,50,000 or more. You can register for GST while you are applying for Australian ABN application

Step 5. Register Your Company. 

If you choose your business structure as a company, get an ACN and register with ASIC. You must pay the registration fees and submit the required paperwork to complete this process.

Step 6. Additional Registration And Licensing

You might require additional registrations or licenses depending on your sector and area. Check with industry regulators or municipal authorities for verification. 

Step 7. Fill out Employer Obligations.

If you are planning to hire employees for your business, fulfill your employer’s responsibilities, such as paying fair wages per the workplace rules and registering for pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding.

Bonus: Also learn about registering a business in Ontario.

Understanding the ABN Application Process 

It is essential to understand everything before applying for the Australia Business Number. 

Things you will require for the Australian ABN application process

Depending upon your circumstances, here is the list of things that you'll require for the application process: 

  1. Tax File Number (TFN) of yourself or any of your associates, like partners, directors, or trustees,
  2. Tax or BAS Agent registered number if you are using a registered agent, 
  3. Professional Advisor Number: if you are utilizing the services of a professional advisor, you can even provide the advisor's license number, like the Australian Financial Service License, 
  4. Previously hold ABN, Australian Company Number (ACN), or Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN),
  5. A tentative date of starting your business activities (it should be within six months from the date of application), 
  6. Legal Name of the Entity, which will appear in all the documents and legal papers, 
  7. Authorized Contacts, like registered tax or BAS agents if they are authorized to make changes on the entity's behalf, 
  8. Associates' details, which differ for different business types, 
  9. Business contact details, including address, postal address, phone number, and email address, which should start from support@, sales@, or info@, 
  10. Business activity details which represent the primary source of income, like agriculture, construction, investment, and manufacturing, 
  11. Location of all the places where your business premises will be established. 

Steps to Apply for Australian ABN Number

Step 1. Visit the official Australia Business Register website for ABN registration in Australia. However, if you are a tax professional, you should fill out the ABN application through Tax Professional Services.

Step 2. Ensure that you have all the essential information and required documents. 

Step 3. Fill out the ABN application as instructed. Fill in all the details carefully, and check them once again before submitting it. 

Step 4. Apply.

Step 5. Usually, you will get the ABN number immediately if you enter all the details correctly. However, it will require around 20 days to review your application, and an official person will contact you if more information is required. 

What Happens if the ABN Application is Successful?

If you have successfully applied for ABN registration in Australia, then here's how you can proceed: 

  1. You'll immediately get your 11-digit ABN,
  2. You should save the ABN details digitally or print it out, 
  3. Immediately apply for other business registrations, like GST, 
  4. You can request if you want certain details not to be disclosed due to privacy reasons because your business details will added to the Australia Business Register, 
  5. Keep your business details up-to-date. 

Wrapping Up

Australian business registration may initially seem difficult for entrepreneurs, but with correct knowledge and assistance, it can be done easily. It is an important step for establishing a successful business. In addition to establishing your company’s legal status, an Australian ABN application also gives you several benefits, like increased credibility, tax benefits, and government assistance. 

As you start your business in Australia, remember that maintaining success and continuous compliance requires legal representation and keeping up with regulatory changes. It is easy to set up a business by considering your objective and choosing a business structure accordingly. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I am a sole proprietor, do I still need a business name?

Suppose you operate as a sole proprietorship or partnership. In that case, you must register a business name with the Australian Securities And Investment Commission (AISC) unless you use your legal name for your business.

2. What is the cost of registering a business in Australia?

The cost of registering changes as per your business structure and licensing requirements. There are usually low fees for registering a business name and applying for ABN. If you are having a professional consultation then, there will be additional fees for that.

3. Is it possible to change my business structure after operating for some years?

After registering, you can change your business structure, but doing so requires following legal and regulatory procedures. To understand its effects, seek advice from a professional counselor. 

4. Is it possible to do business registration online?

The official government website allows you to complete most of the registration process, such as registering your business name and acquiring an Australian Business Number (ABN). 

5. Is it mandatory to register all types of business structures?

Sole proprietors do not need registration but must get an Australian Business Number (ABN). Other firms, such as companies, partnerships, and trusts, must register to work legally and receive several benefits from the Australian Government.

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