Australia is a great place for business. However, like in any other country, there are things you need to know about doing business onshore.

This article delves into the process of registering a company in Australia, as well as timing and costs involved. You can read theHow to Set up a Business in Australia’ full article here. You can download the complete BridgePoint Doing Business in Australia Guide here.

In this article:

  • Company Registration Process
  • Legal Requirements
  • Timing and Costs


Setting up a company in Australia

The application form requires details about the proposed company, such as the registered office and principal business location in Australia, the names of the shareholders and share structure and the intended directors or secretaries of the company. Upon lodgment of the relevant form with ASIC, a company is typically incorporated within a 24-hour timeframe.

Any overseas company looking to establish an Australian operation must also comply with some additional regulatory requirements, such as the following:

  • Appoint a Resident Director: An overseas company must appoint at least one director who is ordinarily resident in Australia. This individual must have a good understanding of Australian corporate law and business practices. Before assuming the role of a director, an individual must possess or have applied for a Director Identification Number (DIN). This unique identifier is granted to a director who has undergone identity verification through the Australian Business Registry Service. The DIN aims to deter the use of false or deceptive director identities.
  • Tax File Number (TFN) Registration: An Australian subsidiary must obtain a TFN from the ATO. The TFN is used for tax purposes and must be provided to the ATO when lodging tax returns.
  • PAYG Withholding Tax: The entity must withhold PAYG withholding tax from the salaries of its employees.
  • Bank Account: The Australian subsidiary will need to open a bank account in Australia. This will allow the company to receive and make payments.
  • Public Offer: Every Australian company must appoint a public officer – the contact person for ASIC and the ATO.
  • Company Secretary: While not mandatory, it is highly recommended for an Australian subsidiary to appoint a company secretary – responsible for ensuring that the company complies with its legal obligations.
  • Substituted Accounting Period (SAP): An overseas company can apply for a SAP if its financial year does not align with the Australian Financial Year (in Australia, the FY is 1 July to 30 June). A SAP allows the company to prepare its financial statements in accordance with its own financial year.
  • Insurance Requirements: An Australian subsidiary will need to obtain appropriate insurance to protect its assets and its employees. The specific insurance requirements will depend on the nature of the business. However, any entity that employs staff must have workers’ compensation insurance, to cover workers that are injured on the job.
  • Superannuation Guarantee (SG): The Australian subsidiary must pay superannuation on behalf of its employees. It is a compulsory contribution to an employee’s superannuation fund. Consequences of not paying super to employees can be severe, both financially and reputationally. Businesses should take all necessary steps to ensure that they are complying with their SG obligations.

Doing Business in Australia with BridgePoint Group

BridgePoint Group offers a comprehensive solution. From corporate structuring and tax advice, employing and remunerating staff, local representation to maintaining systems of control and reporting. We help you to successfully navigate the regulatory and operational landscape. We are familiar with Standard Business Reporting (SBR); Significant Global Entities (SGEs); Country-by-Country Reporting (CbC); Transfer Pricing; Thin Capitalisation; Single Touch Payroll (STP) and Director Identification Numbers.

We provide advice in respect of the Corporations Act, Trade Practices Act, National Employment Standards, Fair Work Act, Trade Marks Act, Privacy Act and the various State and Federal acts relating to taxation including Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Payroll Tax, Land Tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the requirements to withhold tax from payment of dividends, interest and royalties.
We regularly interact with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) and various State Revenue Offices around the country.

One stop shop
We offer a comprehensive and holistic approach to supporting international companies – including Significant Global Entities (SGEs) – in their expansion efforts, ensuring a smooth entry into the Australian market whilst carefully navigating the complexities of local regulations and business practices.

Local Knowledge and Market Insights
Venturing into a new market abroad can entail considerable expenses, time, and risks. Our dedication to clients extends beyond offering accounting and regulatory services. We provide comprehensive support by offering market insights and local assessments, empowering you to make well-informed decisions.

Unique Method
We employ a team-based, cross-functional approach to ensure you get the full benefit of our collective capability.

We partner with our clients with an owner’s mentality.

Commercial Acumen
We understand the drivers of your success and help you to tackle the things that make the difference.

Broad Capabilities
We have a diverse team of highly trained experts selected to support every stage of your business journey.

  • A highly experienced team that will tell you everything you need to know about doing business in Australia.
  • Clarity about obligations when employing and paying people in Australia including PAYG withholding, reporting, payment, superannuation and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Corporate structuring advice and establishment.
  • Taxation advice and registration including ABN, TFN, FBT, Payroll tax, PAYGW and GST.
  • Opening a local bank account.
  • Local knowledge and representation including directorship, ATO, ASIC and OSR agency.
  • Advice regarding the Tax Act, Corporations Act, Trade Practices Act, Privacy Act.
  • Selection of compliant accounting software.
  • Preparation of management reporting packs.
  • Ongoing advice and support including pro-active communication.

We assist overseas headquartered companies to achieve a smooth entry into the Australian market whilst carefully navigating the complexities of Australia’s legal, regulatory and commercial environment. Our services are built on the strong foundation of a deep understanding of the numbers, with accounting, finance and business strategy at the core.

If you would like assistance in setting a business in Australian, or to find out more about the benefits of doing business in Australia with BridgePoint Group, download the complete Doing Business In Australia Guide here or contact us directly.

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Mitchell Turnbull
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