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Starting a Business in Australia

Australia is one of the world’s largest and most stable economies. It is also one of the few countries where the government encourages foreign investors to set up business and contribute to collective growth. Additionally, the Australian legal system protects intellectual property rights and minimizes corruption in the country, increasing the suitability of new companies.

The country ranks 14th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business and is the 13th-largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP. Hence, many investors look to establish a strong presence in Australia and leverage its market.

If you want to start your own business in Australia, read this guide to cover important aspects, such as the benefits, requirements, process, and costs involved.

Business Opportunities in Australia

The economy and government policies of the land Down Under motivate entrepreneurs to explore the country’s resources and set up profitable businesses. If you are looking to establish a venture in Australia, you should consider the following options:

Network security

With the rise in IT-related services, there is a need for network security providers who can safeguard sensitive information and support companies of varying sizes. The service will only grow in demand as data security is one of the pillars of the tech industry.

Consultant firms

A reliable consulting company assists businesses in staying ahead of the curve and evolving their services to suit the target audience. The consulting industry is ever-changing, with new strategies every now and then, and large-scale businesses rely on them for success.

Restaurants and catering

Australia has a wide selection of seafood and welcomes numerous tourists willing to try the cuisine. However, if a restaurant seems too risky, you can opt for catering services for various events.

Agriculture

Australia’s major cities have many local markets that generate demand for home-grown vegetables. With basic setup and care, you can set up a small farm on your property and sell them for good money.

Benefits of Starting a Business in Australia

Numerous factors, including minimal import restrictions, an educated workforce, and abundant natural resources, make setting up a business in Australia a lucrative affair for business owners. 

In addition to the above, the following are a few advantages of setting up a business in Australia:

  • A strong and swift economy
  • Business-friendly incentives by the government
  • A population of highly skilled and educated workforce
  • Strong ties with Asian markets
  • Diverse consumer market with high purchasing power
  • Strong legal structure minimizing corruption and intellectual property thefts

Requirements for Starting a Business in Australia

Before you start a business in Australia, you must fulfill the following requirements:

Decide the business structure

The first step before establishing a legal entity is to choose the right business structure that suits your needs. Your choice will decide the way the business operates and the resultant costs. Hence, it is important to speak to experts before finalizing an entity type.

Choose a unique company name

 Your company name sets you apart in the industry and reflects your values. The customers tie the company’s name with its service, so choosing a unique name that accentuates your business objectives is essential.

Pick a business address

A registered business address in Australia is important for registration purposes. All necessary correspondence will be sent to that address; hence it is important to find a suitable and easy-to-find location.

Appoint officeholders

To set up the company, you need at least one director who is a resident in Australia and a written consent from the officeholders. You must safeguard the content within the company records.

Types of Business Structures in Australia

When starting a business in Australia, it is crucial to understand which business structure would best suit your business. Understanding the process to set up a business structure is essential as the process for each structure will vary with registration processes, tax positions, the safety of the assets, and sustenance of the business post ownership change. 

The different types of legal business entities in Australia are

Business EntityDefinitionBenefitsCons

Sole Trader

Legally responsible for all aspects of the business, including operations, profits, and losses.

Direct control of the business.

Low setup costs.

Easy access to change to business structure.

The complete responsibility of losses and liabilities.

 

Personal assets may be required for paying debts.

 

Taxes on entire profits to be paid.

Company

Separate legal entity.

The company’s liabilities are separate from the owner—one tax rate for all the profits.

Expensive and complicated

business structure to form.

 

Not a suitable option for start-ups.

 

Obligations of legal and financial reporting.

Partnership

Two or more people form a business entity to share profits and losses.

Combination of different skills.

Automatic dissolution on the death of one partner.

Share of profit and losses according to the partnership agreement. In the absence of understanding, the profits and losses are shared equally.

Unlimited liabilities of partners.

 

Shared business liabilities by partners.

Trust

A structure in which one person (Trustee) performs activities on behalf and benefit of the other people (Beneficiaries).

The distribution of income is flexible.

Can be used for with-holding the property for beneficiaries.

Offers the highest level of asset protection

Dismantling is difficult

 

Separate Income Tax Return for the trust.

 

Complex to form.

 

Beneficiaries are liable to pay taxes on the income received from the trust.

 

The trustee is responsible for all the income and losses until distributed.

Co-operative

Member-owned business consisting of a minimum of five members.

Provides goods and services that may be unavailable or inaccessible for a single individual.

Equal rights of all the members to vote.

Every member has to contribute to the co-operative—limited liabilities for members.

No upper limit on the number of members

Equal voting rights may not be suitable for investor-run businesses.

 

Limited dividend payouts are not ideal for investor-run businesses.

Joint Venture

Two or more people and organizations work together to accomplish a project or a task.

Businesses of any size can form a venture.

A temporary arrangement that offers recognition and growth for businesses and people.

Combination of resources for a better expertise.

Shared risks and losses

Different or contrasting work cultures and ethics.

 

Tedious due diligence is required to form the venture.

 

Unlimited liabilities for the partners.

The decision to select the business structure would depend on the following:

  1. Paperwork and licenses requirements
  2. Taxation Structure
  3. Liability and control of business

It is interesting to note that the business structure is not fixed; with the growth of the business, the owners can change the structure to suit the business requirements. 

Company Registration Process

Once the business structure is decided, it is important to register a company in Australia before starting the business operations. The company registration process in Australia is as follows: 

1. Register with ASIC

Australian companies or foreign companies must register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). ASIC defines the work and rights of foreign companies on Australian land and regulations of the foreign companies. ASIC also lists the regulatory requirements for acquiring Australian companies.

2. Register for ABN and TFN

Australian Business Number (ABN) is essential to start a business in Australia. It is a unique business number allocated to the business for identification by customers, suppliers, and tax officials. 

TFN stands for Tax File Number and you can request it while applying for ABN. You need this identification number unless you are a sole trader.

3. Register for taxes

The Australian Taxation Office issues business and sole traders in Australia Tax File Numbers (TFN). Proprietors and Sole Traders file taxes under their TFNs, while the other business structures must apply for one of their own apart from their owners, trustees, partners, or Board of Directors. 

Register the company name

You can register your business name with ASIC. You will need the following information for this purpose: an ABN number, address for service of documents, business address and an email address.

Open a local bank account

All businesses in Australia must open a bank account in the country. Foreign-based owners must visit the bank premises in-person to complete KYC verification.

Apply for licenses and permits

Certain industries require businesses to obtain special licenses to operate legally in Australia.

How Much Does it Cost to Incorporate a Company in Australia?

The cost of starting a business in Australia depends on several factors, such as the business structure type and industry. Depending on the industry, business owners can spend anywhere from $443 – $538. 

The cost of registration of a business is a one-time cost. However, you must register the business name every year or three years according to your preference. The cost of running a business and other charges vary according to the business type.

Are Foreigners in Australia on Certain Passes Allowed to Start a Business in Australia?

Yes, foreigners can start a business in Australia. However, they must obtain specific visas and permits and follow the registration process for starting a business in Australia. The government-initiated Business Initiated Investment Programme grants the following visas to eligible foreign citizens looking forward to starting a business in Australia:

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa
  • State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner Visa
  • State or Territory Sponsored Investor Visa
  • Business Talent (Permanent) Visa
  • Business Owner 
  • Investor Visa

Government Assistance for Foreign-owned Businesses

Foreign-owned businesses receive due support and assistance from the Australian government while setting up their business and operations in Australia, depending on their line of work (industry) business location. 

The Australian government also provide grants to foreign business to set up or expand their operations. They offer appropriate incentives and financial services for finding and training skilled professionals. 

Furthermore, the government also provides businesses a tax offset every year for the expenditures on research and development. The business has to register its research and development activities with AusIndustry, an Australian Government Agency.

How Multiplier Can Help?

Considering the paperwork and list of requirements for setting up your global team in Australia, it is beneficial to seek the assistance of an external service provider. We at Multiplier, would help you effortlessly and flawlessly expand your team in Australia with our global employment solutions.

Our digital platform helps you onboard international employees seamlessly, offer employment contracts within minutes and release payroll in local currency. With Multiplier, you can quickly set up your global team in 150+ countries and comply with all the relevant labor laws. For more details, get in touch with our experts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Upon obtaining the Business Talent (Permanent) Visa, you can stay, work or study indefinitely.

Companies must pay registration fees, lodgement fees, annual review fees, and late fees to ASIC.

Finding the right skilled workforce can be tiring and overwhelming for foreign-owned businesses. Thus, hiring an employment solution partner, such as Multiplier, can assist.

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