Home / Company formation in Australia

Updated on : 13-May-2022    IST | 4 min read

Company Registration Online

In Australia, a variety of business structures are available, each with their own set of regulations. If you are considering registering a business in Australia, there are some critical factors to consider. Here, business owners must choose between incorporating a foreign company, forming a new company, or acquiring an existing company.

Australia Company formation

Australia is located in the Oceania region. It is the world's sixth largest continent, covering a vast geographical area. Australia is divided into more than seven states, each of which offers a unique set of business-friendly amenities. Australia's government provides benefits for overseas companies to establish business centres.In Australia, forming a company is relatively simple and incorporating a business takes around a week. In the Australian region, the business registration process is administered by a distinct authority. It is essential to meet the requirements for appointing top executives in Australia. An applicant must employ an Australian resident director. These activities would involve company management.

It is Oceania's largest country, making it an ideal location for an entrepreneur to establish a company. Australia has free trade agreements with foreign countries that enable it to conduct business uninterrupted. Apart from this, Australia has double taxation avoidance agreements with a number of countries. This would not impose a double tax on an investor. Capital earned in Australia may be repatriated to the country of origin.

The Australian government has liberalised its foreign investment regime. As a result, an investor should start the company registration process in Australia.

Types of business entities in Australia

  1. Branch office – Usually, a foreign parent company establishes a branch office. The Australian branch office is only an extension of the parent company's operations.

    Profitable operations can be conducted by the Australian branch office. A foreign company would be required to register a branch office with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This is important since the Australian branch conducts operations. A foreign parent company is required to nominate a representative for the branch office under the Corporations Act 2001. This is required to ensure that the branch adheres to compliance. To establish a branch office in Australia, a registered office with a local address must be present.

  2. Representative office – Usually, this type of office is established by a foreign parent company. The representative office in Australia is only an operational extension of the parent company. The representative office in Australia is not permitted to conduct profit-making business. The representative office of a foreign company must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  3. Public Company – A public company is one that is permitted to list its shares on a public stock exchange. A foreign company pursuing this sort of entity would be required to maintain a certain level of capital in order to list its shares on a stock exchange. The shareholders of this type of business entity benefit from the limited liability principle. To incorporate this type of entity, a minimum of one shareholder is necessary. However, this type of entity has no limit on the number of shareholders. Public shares may be provided. However, compliance with the Corporations Act, 2001, must be maintained.
  4. Sole proprietorship business – This type of company may be established by an investor considering company registration in Australia. Under Australian company law, this entity's liability is unlimited. This type of company can be formed with fewer than 50 shareholders. Shareholders' personal liability is limited to the amount invested in the shares.

Eligibility criteria for company registration in Australia

  1. Directors and shareholders – In order to register a company in Australia, the applicant must have a minimum number of directors and shareholders. This would be determined by the requirements of the particular entity type. Certain businesses require a minimum of three directors. The company must have a minimum of one shareholder.
  2. Minimum age requirements – The Australian company's directors, shareholders, and senior management executives must all be over the age of 18. Individuals must get written authorization to conduct business in Australia.
  3. Residency requirements – At least two directors must be Australian residents. Additionally, the company secretary must be an Australian resident.
  4. Approval by FIRB – If a non-Australian acquires shares, FIRB approval is required under the Australia’s foreign investment policy.

Documents required for company registration in Australia

  1. Articles of Association (AOA) and Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  2. Form 201 - Application form via Offline mode
  3. The company constitution or replaceable rules
  4. Shareholders and directors’ information
  5. Registered office address information
  6. Form 410 – to reserve a company name

Steps to register a company in Australia

The following procedure must be considered while registering a business in Australia:

  1. Choose the business entity – To begin, the applicant must select an appropriate business entity for Australian company registration.The applicant must choose a business plans and specifications.This would offer significant advantages to the tax applicant. The process of registering the business structure is distinct from that of registering the company. As a result, the applicant must select a business structure and proceed with the registration process.
  2. Name of the company – The applicant must then choose a suitable name for the business. When naming your business, there are a few considerations to make. The following are included:
    1. The company's name cannot be identical to an existing name. If the business structure is a sole proprietorship, the individual's name may be used to register the business in Australia.
    2. The company's name may contain any alphanumeric characters. This includes the digits 0-9, a semicolon, a hyphen, currency symbols such as '$', and brackets.
    3. ASIC requires that the name be registered in an online database known as the 'National Register.'
    4. The company's name must be unique and not mislead any individual or organisation.
    5. There are a few words that are not permitted to be used. The following are the restricted terms - Government, Trust, Royal, and Incorporated. If such terms are to be used, prior approval from the appropriate government authority is required.
    6. If the company's name is deemed offensive, the ASIC has the authority to deny registration.
    7. The entity's legal status must be indicated in the company's name. For example –, a private limited company would be suffixed with “Co” or “Coy”. A limited liability company's name would include the suffix “Ltd”.
  3. Company name reservation – Once the applicant has chosen and received approval for the company's name from ASIC, the applicant must reserve the name. The applicant would need to use 'Form 410' to reserve the company's name. This can be done via the following link: https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/forms/forms-folder/410-application-for-reservation-of-a-name/.

    If approved, the company's name would be reserved for two months. If the applicant does not register the company in Australia within that time period, a new application for name reservation must be made. To request an extension of the period of the name reservation, an applicant must submit a formal request.

  4. Trademark registration – The applicant applying for company registration must conduct a thorough search for trademarks and other intellectual property rights associated with the proposed name. This can be accomplished through the website https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/. If you see that the name you have chosen could create a conflict, the applicant cannot use that name.
  5. Company constitution – An applicant must decide whether he wishes to write the company's articles of association. The memorandum of association is also a critical document in the formation of a company. In Australia, the Corporations Act contains some rules referred to as replaceable rules. These rules would apply to the company's constitution. The company may either follow these rules or draft its own constitution in accordance with the requirements. There are specific rules that must be followed when registering a company in Australia if the applicant is requesting a sole proprietorship.
  6. Register compliance requirements – There are certain compliance requirements under the Corporations Act. This would entail maintaining an up-to-date register. According to the Corporations Act, the register of directors and shareholders must be updated on a regular basis.

    After that, the consent of all of the company's main management executives must be obtained. This will include all of the company's directors, shareholders, and other senior executives. Permission in writing is necessary to use the office.

  7. Company registration – The applicant would then need to register the business. This can be accomplished by visiting https://register.business.gov.au/. The company can be registered either online or offline. However, using the offline method, the applicant must give information about the application's exception, the transaction reference number, and other vital information. After the company’s application is received and processed, the applicant will obtain the ACN. This would be used to submit an application for the ABN. The applicant's company name would be registered in the official registry, and the applicant would receive the certificate of incorporation.
  8. Post Registration – The Company's name must be displayed at the business's official registered address. All correspondence must include the ABN. All documents and emails should contain company-related information.

Benefits of incorporating a company in Australia

The following are some of the benefits of Australian company registration:

  1. Free trade agreements – Australia has free trade agreements with foreign countries that enable it to conduct business uninterrupted. Apart from that, Australia has DTAA agreements with a number of other countries. This would not impose a double tax on an investor.
  2. Best place for business setup – Australia is the largest continent in Oceania. It is one of the top locations for undertaking different business ventures. Australia has a 30% corporate tax. However, if a foreign investor wishes to incorporate a business in Australia, corporate tax is payable at a rate of 26%. This would apply only if the business's annual revenue exceeds AU$ 2 million. Additionally, it is an excellent location for doing research and development activities.
  3. A well educated workforce – Australia has a diversified workforce and talented individuals.
  4. Business environment – Australia is an ideal location for a variety of business operations. A stable political system contributes to the stability of such an environment. The country has a low rate of inflation. As a result, an investor can initiate the process of company registration in Australia.
  5. Financial sectors – In Australia, there are businesses and industries involved in insurance, banking, and derivatives. These businesses are headquartered in financial hubs such as Sydney and Melbourne.

Company formation FAQ’s

An investor should opt for the simple method of company registration in Australia. There are numerous expansion opportunities on the Australian continent.

The minimum capital requirements are usually determined by the choice of the business entity.

Yes, there must be at least one resident director.

Yes, reserving the company's name is the first step in registering a business in Australia.

Yes, a registered office is required to conduct business in Australia.

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