It is becoming increasingly obvious that Australia has an inviting economy for business investment – this is more so in the technology and services sectors, as the country moves away from its legacy systems. Australia has historically had a time lag in awareness and embracing new technology. This is rapidly changing as Australian businesses look to improve productivity through the use of new technologies.
However, foreign companies looking to capitalize on Australia’s growth and investment opportunity, often need assistance navigating Australia’s complex business and legal landscape.
Therefore, there are several factors that you should be aware of when looking to incorporate a company in Australia.
Determine whether a Company structure is the best option for you
The most common corporate structure is a proprietary company which is limited by shares and registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). The company is a separate legal entity and is able to acquire, hold and dispose of property and can bring, or be subject to, legal proceedings. Companies are managed by the directors and are owned by the shareholders, both of whom have limited liability behind the corporate veil, but within limits.
There is no restriction on foreign shareholding and no minimum share capital to incorporate a proprietary limited company. Crown Corporate Services is able to register the company on your behalf.
Separately, as a foreign company seeking to do business in Australia, you may also consider opening a branch in Australia as opposed to incorporating a company. Find out more about this option here.
Choose a company name
You must choose a company name that is not identical to the name of an existing company. You can check name availability here.
Under Australian Company Law, the company will need to appoint directors. A proprietary company requires at least one director who should be an Australian resident.
If you are a overseas business looking to incorporate an Australian subsidiary, Crown Corporate is able to provide resident director services, to ensure the Australian company is meeting its legal requirements.
Have a registered office in Australia
All Australian companies must have a registered office within Australia.
Crown Corporate is able to provide registered office services to ensure the company is meeting its legal requirements.
Every entity doing business in Australia should apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a Tax File Number (TFN). These are unique identifying numbers used by all businesses in their dealings with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). An ABN is required to pay and claim a credit for any Goods and Services Tax (‘GST’). If an Australian company has a non-resident shareholder or director (at the time of applying for tax registrations) various additional ‘proof of identity’ documents must be provided. This includes copy of the foreign company’s certificate of incorporation and personal identification documents of its directors.
Continue to address ongoing taxation and compliance requirements
The company is required to meet various ongoing legal obligations including:
Keeping company details updated e.g. directors’ details, registered office details
Maintaining company records and details on the register
Lodging ASIC annual statement and solvency declarations
Lodging Business Activity Statements and income tax returns
As Registered Tax Agents and Registered ASIC Agents, we are able to provide an integrated service – from guiding you on the structure that best suits your business needs, through to incorporating the entity, completing the tax registrations and attending to all ongoing compliance requirements in a seamless and cost- effective manner.
Click here to enquire about registering your company in Australia.