Starting a Business in Australia – Legal Requirements

Image source: | Starting a Business in Australia – Legal Requirements | Starting a new business is both extremely exciting and overwhelming. While you’re bound to feel bursts of positive energy and pride, you are also likely to be apprehensive and worried at times. After all, a large majority of new companies never actually take off and this is true for every part of the world, including Australia. Needless to say, there are so many things you have to do or choose before you start working and earning money. Some of those tasks are creative, exciting and inspiring, like choosing a name and logo. Others, on the other hand, are tedious, but necessary, such as taking care of legal obligations. Each country has different requirements for business owners wishing to start a company, but we’re going to focus on Australia here. The list provided below doesn’t include all the things you need to do, but it should help you think about some of the most important legal issues you have to deal with.

Choosing a business structure

Making the right choice when selecting the right business structure for your business can be one of the best decisions you made at the early stage. Namely, there are several types of business structures in Australia, but the most common ones are sole trader, partnership and company. If you register as a sole trader, your company will have no separate legal entity and you’ll be the only persons responsible for the liabilities of your business. Partnership, on the other hand, means you’re starting the business with another person(s), where all partners would share profits according to your partnership agreement. Finally, the most common structure for small businesses in Australia is a proprietary limited company, which is a separate legal entity from its owners, but it has more regulatory requirements. If you’re not sure what the best structure for your business is, you must consult experts, such as these experienced lawyers from Essendon. Their legal advice will help you choose the best option for you, since you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Registering for an ABN

Australia issues an Australian Business Number (ABN) to all new businesses. This is an 11-digit number, which identifies your business. The registration process is quick, smooth and free of charge. You can complete it online in under 15 minutes. You need your ABN to create accounts with suppliers and issue invoices

Registering your business name

Once you’ve decided what type of business you’re going to run, you can finally register your company, but you also need to come up with the name for it. Even if you have the best and most original idea for the name, it won’t be officially yours until you register it with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. This too can be complete online, but it’s not free of charge. Registering the business for one year costs $34, or you can choose 3 years for $79.


You might want to register your business name as a trademark, but that means you need to spend a bit more money. Luckily, we’re not talking about an exorbitant amount, since trademarks start at $220. Consult for more information about trademarks and international property rights in Australia.

Registering for GST

You might also need to register for GST if you intend to have more than $50,000 in sales over the financial year. Again, this is a simple procedure, and you can apply for the GST online at

Licenses & permits

Australia is a big country, so it’s logical that every state across it has different requirements for licensing and permits, and there are also differences across industries. If you want to check what is required in your state and for your industry, visit


What many business owners overlook when starting a business is the issue related to insurance. You simply have to get business insurance that covers the basics, such as fire, act of God or theft, but you need to choose an insurance policy which includes legal liability, so that you’re covered in case someone sues your company. In the world where lawsuits are more popular than ever, this is a very important tip to follow. Ideally, your policy should also cover both public liability and product liability.

These are just some of the legal requirements you have to know about if you’re starting a company in Australia. Getting all the things right regarding the laws and regulations in Australia will not only help you adhere to all relevant provisions, but it will also give you peace of mind, which means you can focus on helping your business grow.


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