Starting a Small Business – Australia

This Article details how to start a small business in Australia, from selecting a business structure to registering business and ABN.

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Set Up a New Business – Australia

The article below provides general informaion only. Use at your own risk. Please consult your lawyer and accountant before making any important business decisions.

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Business Registration Requirements

When starting a new business in Australia, the following registrations are needed:

  • ABN Not optional
  • GST (optional, recommended)
  • Business Name Not optional
  • Trade Mark (optional)
  • Tax File Number (TFN) Not optional

What is an ABN?

An ABN (Australian Business Number) is a number which replaces your business name when dealing with Australian government departments such as the ATO (Australian Tax Office). This number and its details become a part of the ABR (Australian Business Resister).

What Is The Australian Business Register

The Australian Business Register is a collection of data from your ABN which government departments use you identify your business. Web:

How to get an ABN (Australian Business Number)?

Simply go the Australian Business Registers website Or call the Australian Tax Office (12 28 66). Once you have submitted your form, it can take up to 28 days to get an Australian Business Number.

ABN price: An ABN in completely free.

Public details of your ABN: ABN number can be accessed by the public from ABN LOOK UP.

Register for GST

Registering for the “Good and Service Tax” You must resister for GST is you business turns over $75 000 or more or if you are a non profit business $150 000 or more.

Register for Tax File Number

If you have had a job in Australia chances are you will already have an TFN. However if you do not have one you will need one. The application form for a TFN can be picked up at any Australia Post Office.

Registering your business Name

You must register a business name and display it at your place of business. To get a business name you must go to a fair trading office many are located around Australia. If you operate as a sole trader, you can use your own name instead of a business name. In this case, business name is not needed.

Trade Mark

If you wish to register a trade mark, you may like to get a trade mark lawyer. You can search trademark database at

Business Structure

It is imperative that you select the correct business structure for your business. Here are the main types of business structures currently available.

Sole trader

If you are going into business for yourself and you don’t have any employees, Sole Trader structure may be the answer. Sole Trader business structure is the simplest structure available.


Partnership is sometimes used when 2 or more parties whish to start a business (Make note this is not a company). Both parties split the profits and liabilities equally useless specified.


Company is a similar structure to a sole trader and partnership however it is a legal entity separate from the shareholders (the owner is also a shareholder). This means that it has limited liability. If the company was in debt, unless the owner/director signed director’s guarantee you would not be able to use the shareholders’ assests to pay off the company debt.

PLEASE NOTE: When making critical business decisions, it is important to consult with your lawyer and/or accountant. This information is for general purposes only and does not constitute a legal advise.

You may also like to visit other related article about how to register a company.

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The review "Starting a Small Business – Australia" was last updated on 20/04/2015.

  • This is a comprehensive guide to the issues which are faced by a small business when opening up a new venture. Business registration issues are a simple thing that you can get right at the beginning of a business to ensure that the business has the appropriate footing to then launch into what it actually does well and what you actually went into business for. Getting this small details right at the start may seem unimportant but by getting them right at the start, a lot of headaches can be avoided later down the track.