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Establishing a Business in Australia
Establishing a business in Australia involves dealing with Federal, State/Territory and local government agencies. You will need to register your business for taxation purposes, register your business or company name, your domain name and, in some instances, obtain business licences and permits.
Business Name Registration
Any company or individual carrying on business under a name other than the company's or individual's own name must register that name in the State or Territory in which the business trades.
Registration of a business name also provides an avenue for obtaining a .com.au domain name. However, registration of the business name is based on the availability of the name.
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) operates a National Names Index which is a record of all company and business names registered in Australia, as well as some association names. You can check the Index, free of charge to see if your proposed business name already exists. You should also ensure that your proposed business name does not infringe any Trade Mark by checking with IP Australia.
An important decision you need to make when starting a business is choosing the business structure that best suits your needs and budget. There are four main types of business structures commonly used by small-medium sized business in Australia:
- Sole traders
* Application for incorporation (to become a company) is made to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). On registration, each corporation is allocated an Australian Company Number (CAN), a unique identifying number.
All businesses that intend to trade must register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) for taxation purposes. Your ABN is unique to your business and is important in your dealings with other businesses and government agencies. Once your business turns over more than $50,000, you will also need to register for Goods & Services Tax (GST). To obtain input tax credits for GST purposes, your business must have an ABN number.
As an employer, you have certain legal obligations to your staff. You must register with the Australian Taxation Office, pay wages according to the relevant State of Federal award, keep employment records, comply with occupational health and safety requirements, comply with employment terms and conditions and pay superannuation contributions.
Competition and Consumer Protection
The Trade Practices Act 1974 is administered by the Australian Competitions and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and encourages competition and the conduct of a free market. It restricts certain forms of exclusive dealing, abuse of market power and mergers which result in a substantial drop in competition.
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