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Starting a business

How to register a business

For many prospective business owners, the act of registering a new business marks the transition from concept to real-life entity. Read on to learn about the key considerations as you make your new business official.

First things first

Make sure you’ve settled on the right business structure for your business before proceeding, as this will impact the steps that are relevant to you.

Register your business name

If you plan on trading under your own name, you might not need to register a business name. Otherwise, most businesses will want to register a business name through the Business Registration Service

Note that registering your business name doesn’t give you full rights to the name. If you want exclusive rights, you need to apply for a trade mark on the IP Australia website.

Get your Australian Business Number (ABN)

An ABN is a unique 11-digit number that makes it easier for businesses to interact with the Australian government. Registration is free and can be done via the Business Registration Service at the same time as registering your business name.

Once complete, you should always include your ABN on your invoices as confirmation of your businesses legal identity. Learn more about ABNs.

Registering a company

If you’re setting up a company, you will need to register it through the Business Registration Service. Through this process, you will be assigned an Australian Company Number (ACN) and be listed in the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) company register. This step isn't required for sole trader or partnership structures.

Register for GST and other taxes

You may now want to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or other taxes like Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding for businesses with employees or payments to contractors. You can do this through the Business Registration Service. Learn more about registering for GST and registering for PAYG withholding.

Apply for business licences and permits

Many businesses are required to meet specific compliance requirements in order to operate legally. You can find the licences and permits relevant to your business by searching the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS).

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