There are many things to consider when starting your own business and while it can be a very exciting time, it can also be quite daunting without sound advice. The legalities need to be carefully understood and this is where a good accountant will be your best friend and advisor. Business registrations can take various shapes and forms and it is best to seek help in educating yourself in the differences and what may suit your needs best.

Below is a basic checklist of the steps required as you navigate the maze. QC Accountants can guide you from beginning to end.

1. Australian Business Number (ABN)

You must have an ABN in order to legally run a business in Australia. Your ABN is a unique number that identifies your business to government institutions and other businesses that you may work with or for.

An ABN is free and simple to apply for through the Australian Business Register, alternatively allow QC Accountants to assist you through this process.

2. Tax File Number (TFN)

It is recommended that you apply for your TFN before you start your business. All businesses that earn income or accrue expenses are required to have a TFN. Your TFN identifies you with the Australian Taxation Office and if your business does not have one you will not be entitled to lodge a tax return.

You can apply for a TFN for your business through the Australian Taxation Office website or ask us at QC Accountants to do so on your behalf.

3. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

You can register for GST once you have obtained your ABN. GST is a tax of 10% added to most goods and services sold in Australia. If your business has a turnover that exceeds $75,000 you must register for GST. If you believe your business will reach this threshold it is advised that you register for GST. This is where expert advice from QC Accountants can help you decide whether or not to register for GST at the outset. If your turnover does exceed $75,000 you must register within 21 days. You can register through the ATO website or allow us to guide you through.

4. Pay As You Go (PAYG) Withholding

If your business takes on employees you may want to look into registering for PAYG. While applying for PAYG is optional it does ensure that all parties meet their end of year tax liabilities and as a business owner you have an obligation to collect tax from payments you make to your employees. At QC Accountants we can advise you on when you may be required to register for PAYG, alternatively you can register through the ATO website Business Portal.

5. Register Your Company (+ACN)

You may want to register as a company if you believe your business is suited to a company business structure. There are many things to understand and consider when thinking of a company business structure and QC Accountants can give expert advice on these. The cost of applying for an ACN varies and you can see more information about applying for an ACN on the Australian Government Business Registration website.

6. Licences and Permits

Depending on the nature of your business you may be required to apply for specific licences and/or permits in order to operate legally in Australia. It is important to understand which industries have requirements for such licences and permits unique to your area of business. QC Accountants can advise on all these requirements and you can also access more information on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website.

7. Domain Name and Website

Obtaining a domain name and having a website built is not a requirement for any business but it is highly recommended in order for your business to be found easily and for you to be able to advertise to an audience far and wide.

There are fixed costs in registering and purchasing your domain name, after which costs will vary according to the web designer you choose to engage and the nature of the website your business will require. These costs can vary from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. It is best to shop around and compare before committing to one web designer or deciding to do it yourself.

Your website will create an important first impression to your customers.

8. Business Name Registration

It is not compulsory to register your business name but it does help customers find, identify and connect with your business. You can register many business names under the same entity. Registrations last for 3 years and can be done through ASIC. QC Accountants can guide you through this process.

9. Patents and Trademarks

It is important to protect your intellectual property from others copying your unique branding, your design or your products. Obtaining trademarks and patents will do this. Intellectual property is a complicated area of expertise and it is recommended that you seek out accountants or lawyers who specialise in this field. QC Accountants can help you understand whether you can patent or trademark a specific piece of intellectual property. If needed we can also point you in the direction of lawyers specialising in this field. You can read further information on IP Australia website.

Please contact us at QC Accountants if you are considering registering a new business. Our team of professionals can help you through any or all of the steps above and offer expert advice.

Contact us on 07 5593 6060 – we are here to help you.