Are you starting your own business?

Starting a business is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. Often times, this can be bogged down by the legal landscape of business registrations and the accompanying paperwork that is often involved in ensuring your business is legally permitted to operate in Australia. Without the assistance of an accountant, it can be a treacherous and daunting task to educate oneself in what forms of registration is necessary to begin operating. Below, we look into a broad range of different types of registrations you must do to get started!

AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS NUMBER (ABN)

When: Before you start or after you register for a Company
Importance: High
Cost: Free
Compulsory: Yes
Duration: Instant, but can take up to 28 days

What is it?
Running your own small business requires you to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). The ABN is a unique number that allows you and to identify your business to government and other businesses.  Box Advisory Services are registered tax agents and are able to assist you in applying for an ABN. Otherwise, you can apply for an ABN through the Australian Business Register.

TAX FILE NUMBER (TFN)

When: Ideally before you start
Importance: High
Cost: Free
Compulsory: Yes
Length: 10 – 28 days

What is it?
Generally all small businesses in Australia must register for a tax file number (TFN) if they earn income or expenses. TFN’s are reference numbers to identify you with the Australian Taxation Office. Without a TFN, the business will not be able to lodge a tax return. Box Advisory Services can assist you in applying for a TFN. Otherwise, you can apply for A TFN through the ATO Website or ABR Website.

GOODS & SERVICES TAX (GST)

When: After you register for an ABN
Importance: Medium
Cost: Free
Compulsory: Optional
Duration: 21 days

What is it?
GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods and services sold in Australia. Should your small business have a GST turnover of more than $75,000, you mustregister for GST. Registration of GST is largely dependent on whether you believe your business will reach this threshold. If your turnover exceeds this, you must register within 21 days of reaching it. Box Advisory Services can assist you in registering for GST. Otherwise, you can register through the ATO website.

PAY AS YOU GO (PAYG) WITHHOLDING

When: If you have hired any employees
Importance: Low to Medium
Cost: Free
Compulsory: Optional
Duration: Instant

What is it?
If you have an active ABN you can register for PAYG withholding. As a business owner, you have an obligation to collect tax from payments you make to employees and businesses. This ensures that all parties meet their end-of-year tax liabilities. Box Advisory Services can advise you on what circumstances may require you to register for PAYG withholding. Alternatively, if you believe you need to, you can register through the ATO website business portal.

REGISTER YOUR COMPANY (+ ACN)

When: Before you start
Importance: High
Cost: Varies
Compulsory: Optional
Duration: Within 24hours

What is it?
Before considering registering a company, you must consider whether your business is suited to a company business structure (refer to our business structure article to decide). If your business is registered a company, you will be given an Australian Company Number (ACN). This is a unique nine-digit number that every company in Australia has.

LICENCES & PERMITS

When: Varies
Importance: Varies
Cost: Varies
Compulsory: Varies
Duration: Varies

What is it?
Dependent on your business activity and what type of business you are, there are a number of mandatory permits or licences that a business may be required to obtain in order to legally operate within Australia. Therefore, it’s important to understand industry-specific activities that have unique licences and permits that are required by law. Box Advisory Services can assist in providing a comprehensive understanding of what is required. Alternatively, you may search for this through the Australia Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find your relevant licences and/or permits.

WEBSITE & DOMAIN

When: As soon as possible
Importance: Medium
Cost: $500+
Compulsory: No, but heavily recommended
Duration:  1 week+

What is it?
Whilst websites are not compulsory in running your business, in an age that is heavily reliant on the internet and being searchable, we recommend that serious consideration is made towards investing in a website. There are some fixed costs such as registration of a domain, server, purchase of a theme and ultimately the cost of engaging in a web designer to build your website. How much or little you put your time into it is completely up to you. However, know that the website forms an important part of your first impression to your customers.

BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION

When: As required
Importance: Low
Cost: about
Compulsory: No
Duration:  Instant

What is it?
The business name is simply the trading name of the person or entity. The name is registered and helps customers find, identify and connect with your business. You can have multiple business names under the same entity and it cost about $84 for 3 years. To register your business name, go to ASIC.

TRADEMARK & PATENTS

When: As required
Importance: High
Cost: Varies
Compulsory: No, but heavily recommended
Duration:  Varies

What is it?
Trademarks and patents are unique intellectual property to your business. This is to protect any innovation or unique branding that your business identifies with your customers. This is utilised to avoid other potential businesses from blatantly copying your designs or products. Intellectual property is a dense area of expertise and generally requires the assistance of an accountant or lawyer to help identify whether or not you can patent or trademark a specific piece of intellectual property. IP Australia’s website has a very helpful database of information for you to better understand this. If you feel that you have a case of patenting or registering a trademark for your business, please seek the assist of Box Advisory Services.

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The information in this article is to assist you in gaining a basic understanding of what may be required to get your business off the ground. Registering yourself with the relevant government offices ensures that your business is legally recognised as a legitimate business. Whilst many of the registrations are optional, we do recommend that consideration is taken to ensure that you have covered all bases in regard to your small business. Box Advisory Services can provide you with a deeper understanding of each of the aspects of business registration and recommend to you what may be beneficial to you and your business.

Box Advisory Services offers a complete range of business and taxation advice for small- to medium-sized businesses in Australia. Book an appointment with us now!

Disclaimer: 
Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available to contractors and small businesses. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or tax advice. You should, where necessary, seek your own advice for any legal or tax issues raised in your business affairs.

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