How to Register Your Business in Australia

Need to register a company? Here is a a fast, easy & nearly free way to apply and get the company application processed online — just a few simple steps.

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The Fastest Way to the Register Your Business in Australia

By Umar Batchelor

The process of registering for business in Australia just got shorter and faster, thanks to the internet and reduced redtape. Long gone are the days when one was required to make long queues at the government offices. It has been so good that, according to World Bank, Australia is rated 7th out of 189 countries for ease of starting a business.  That is better than United Kingdom and United States .

There are a number of things you need to consider before you start the process of registering a business in Australia.  You can start by visiting the  Business.gov.au  website where you will find a plethora of information.

Although there is a multitude of things that you will need to consider to start a business, we recommend that you take the following steps in establishing your dream business:

Step 1 – Develop and test your business idea

Before spending a significant amount of money on capital and time to process the registration papers, it is always prudent to develop and test your business idea. If youre still figuring out your idea, instead of developing a nifty product or service, try solving the problems of those around you. Google is built to make online searching simple and easy. Test your ideas by talking to and observing the people who have those problems. Lastly, document your idea on a business model canvas. The canvas will help with encapsulating your idea.

Step 2 – Choose the best business structure

The type of business structure will affect the method of registering your business online. There are generally four business structures to choose from in Australia. These are sole trader, company, trust and partnership.

Step 3 – Register a Company (If applicable)

If you decided to go down the path of a company, you will need to fill out a government paper form and a processing fee of under $500.  Fortunately, there are businesses that simplify the process through an online form and payment. Before filling the form, you will need to determine the shareholders of the company and how much they will invest in the company, the directors and last but not least, the name of the company. Upon successfully completing this step through an online form, you would receive a company certificate and an Australian Company Number (ACN) within 1 Hour.

Step 4 – Register an Australian Business Number (ABN)

The ABN is a unique number that identifies your business.  Getting an ABN is not compulsory however it is a good idea to have one as not having an ABN may result 49% of your income being withheld. You will need to visit the Australian Business Register where you will get the ABN for free. It will ask you to answer a number of question about your business and can take under an hour to complete.

If you submit the correct information, you can get the ABN straight after submission. but can take as much as 20 business days if there are discrepancies. The trick is to ensure the details you provide is consistent with the information held by the Tax Office.

Step 5 – Register a business name (if applicable)

If you decide to go down the path of a sole trader, it would be beneficial to have a business name after obtaining an ABN. A business name is simply a name or title under which you will be trading. It identifies you to your customers as well as differentiating yourself from your competition. In that regard, you should choose a business name that will enable your customers to connect with your business and brand emotionally. You will find that the name is probably your most valuable business asset.

You can register the business name subsequent to filling the ABN form or alternatively apply on ASIC Connect and can take up to few days to complete.

Step 6 – Register GST and/or PAYG Withholding

Generally if you will be earning over $75,000 you will need to register for GST. You can do this on the same website which you applied for an ABN. Furthermore, it is likely that you will be required to register for PAYG withholding as business with employees are generally required to withhold tax from their employee’s salary. Registration for these are generally automatic.

Simplifying the above steps

BizifyIf you do feel you need assistance with the above steps or you feel the above steps are cumbersome, you can get assistance from your accountant. Alternatively, for a small additional fee you can use a online service provider such as Bizify to simplify the process and register your company and other relevant registrations by filling one simple form.

All the best with your business ventures!

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The review "How to Register Your Business in Australia" was last updated on 16/04/2015.